I know I haven’t blogged in the longest time, but I have been meaning to write this post since I arrived back from Dublin some three weeks ago, and will have to blog about the rest of my present life on another day (although, as I am off to Sweden on Wednesday morning, I suspect you will get a Sweden post, before you get another “day in the life of…” post).
Anyway – three weeks ago, I popped over to Dublin, Ireland (in case, you don’t know where Dublin is. Also, perhaps you should reconsider the rock you are living under). If I had to put my feeling of Dublin into a few words, it would be something along the lines of “I never want to leave”. Granted, I didn’t get to see that much of Ireland, as a whole, but I did manage a few interesting conversations (mostly with cab drivers, mind you), see a bit of the night-life and take a extended walk around the city. Before I departed for the land of sheep and leprechauns, I managed to find this amazing little self guided tour book called “Dublin in half a day” – which is all the time I really had to fit in as much as I could. If you are in Dublin and want to do a short tour-type thing, I would, definitely, recommend this one and, I suppose, if you have more time, this could help you out too, because some of the sights do require more time to see them properly – more on that later.
So, in review of my trip to Dublin, I took pictures of each site that I went to, in order of the tour guide:
1. Trinity College, College Green
The only real significance that I took from this place was A. that it was exceptionally beautiful and B. Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde attended and graduated from the college.
2. Book of Kells
Out of all the real “to-do” stuff, this is the only place where I paid to go in and actually spent a bit of time. I am an outright Atheist, but even so, I could appreciate the absolute wonder and significance of seeing something like the Book of Kells. If you don’t know what it is, the Book of Kells is a 600-800 year old original Biblical manuscript which contains four Gospels of the New Testament. It was absolutely humbling to be able to stand in front of- and witness something which has shared part of and helped shape the face of humanity. Again, I don’t believe in religion or God, or any of that, but I can’t deny that it is a monumental part of the world as we know it. To be able to view one of the few original remaining artefacts which date back to the beginning of this very large part of human history is something else entirely.
I also had the privilege of seeing the “Long Room” which is a massive, old library and no longer in use, as, from what I can tell, they are trying to preserve and it was built between 1712 and 1732 and houses 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books
3. National Gallery of Ireland
I popped into the National Gallery only because it was on the list and would have, otherwise, not bothered. I am no art-fundie and have very little interest in it really. I didnt recognise any of the artists, as expected, but I will say that the art I saw was rather (at the risk of sounding totally vapid) “pretty”. Honestly, if it is your thing, then sweet. If not, perhaps give it a miss.
4. Oscar Wilde Statue, Merrion Square
In the middle of a park, in the middle of town, I had to opportunity to gaze upon and read the quotes of the famous Mr. Wilde, the writer and poet. As he so famously said, and one of my personal favourite quotes: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”
5. Leinster House
The National Parliament of Ireland – because what good is a trip to a country, if you don’t visit the parliament buildings? Historically, these are the types of buildings that crazy people try to blow up (yes, different country, different parliament building, but same importance)
6. Government Buildings
Again, another mandatory thing to see in the countries you visit. Everyone should know where the law comes from.
7. St. Stephens Green
Main public park in ireland, opposite Grafton Street, which is a major Shopping area (and the location of a bar I went to on the Thursday night called Lilly Bordellis). Didn’t spend too much time here, as it would have meant spending hours loitering in the sunshine and green-ness, for which I did not have the liberty of time available.
8. Kildare Street
The address of the National Museum of Ireland, which I only saw the lobby of, as I had not the time to browse the entire place (and trust me, I could have spent a whole day there). What the guide doesn’t mention is that Kildare Street is also the former home of Dracula author, Bram Stoker, which I was way stoked about. I even ambled into the middle of the street, in all my tourist glory, to take a picture of his largely-unremarkable former home.
Museum of Ireland
9. St. Annes Church
I would have enjoyed this more had the church been open so I could explore the inside of the building. The outside, nonetheless, was beautiful
10. Mansion House
I can’t say I know that the deal was with this place – apparently, the residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin….er…okay then?
11. Grafton Street
Shopping, you say? Now you are talking my language – also, buying things in Euro, when you work on Pound Sterling…well, hello. Busy as anything, and quite entertaining. They were also quite into Halloween at that stage.
12. Powerscourt Centre
If you are going to give any of them a miss, I’d say let it be this one – once upon a time, it was the indoor garden of an 18th Century mansion. Now, it is, quite simply, a shopping centre. Not something worth seeing honestly. I didnt even take a picture because I was so whelmed. I did take a picture of the entrance to the flower-sellers, which was the entrance to the house, though:
13. South Great George’s Street
Because tourists love markets, innit? Sweet place, but a market is a market. Historically, it is a bit more interesting. Did I mention that they sell all kinds of old vinyls?
14. City Hall
Again, another one of those things that people should see when in another country/city. Typically, it was grandiose and old.
15. Dublin Castle
The first real castle I have seen, in real life, in front of my face! Whoop! I didnt go in thought, due to the fact that I was on a time budget and, also, because I want to leave some things for when I return with Jean in March for our anniversary.
I did pop into the curio shop – only to find the same old stuff that you find in any Irish curio shop (of which I had already bought enough to fill a suitcase)
16. Christchurch palace
I nearly missed this one, because the guide is not hundreds on the directions, but I did find it and, again, was slightly whelmed, considering it is vastly less palatial than one would expect. Maybe its a poor-man’s palace?
17. Christchurch Cathedral
Now, this was magnificent. Again – I would have liked the opportunity to go inside and walk around as I am totally into cathedral and said-architecture. I actually have a bit of an obsession with churches and their architecture (perhaps I am the oddest atheist…but I have great interest in the history of the church, the architecture and the religion surrounding it, but no actual belief in the “faith”, if you will..I dunno, perhaps, Im just too curious. Anyway…)
18. Fishamble Street
The only real significance of this stop is the neat little bronze “art” piece, found in the sidewalk…which appears to be a bronzed block with combs and a knife inlaid. It’s a bit of a :D moment, because you kind of just happen upon it and then are like “someone stuck a bunch of combs and stuff into bronze and popped it into the pavement…this is so cool!”
19. Handel’s Yard
Something that I am totally into is classical music, so, while you may not know who George Frederic Handel is, I certainly do and did. There is not much of the Yard left, but this used to be the yard of the old Music Hall, in which Handel first conducted the performance of “Messiah” – one of his greatest works. I stood in front of this old yard arch in awe of what was. :)
To boot, I stayed in the Gresham Hotel, which, as I found out, has been the hotel of many a famous entity over the years, not least of which was (my favourite) The Beatles:
Jean and I have decided that we would go back to Dublin for our 1st wedding anniversary in March to do a few more of the Dublin sights, as well as some of the country side – kind of like a little honeymoon, I guess, since our actual honeymoon moved us to England.
I can, also, officially, say that the travel bug has bitten me.
The Luck of the Irish