A long walking tour of Dublin


Before dinner yesterday, I walked to Merrion Square and walked the grounds.  The sun made an appearance and it was lovely.  Dublin is full of public art, mostly sculpture, but I’ve seen a fair number of murals and graffiti as well.  The squares are full of memorial sculptures.  The chair below is a memorial to a famous Irish writer, Dermot (with a last name I can’t recall off the top of my head).


Back towards the hotel, I took a good look at the lamp posts on Merrion Street and was charmed at what I found.


An advertisement for a bar caught my eye.


This morning, I overslept.  This ended up ok because nothing really opens until noon.  I left the hotel at 11:15 and walked an almost straight line path to the back side of Dublin Castle, which I learned wasn’t open due to Ireland having the Presidency of the EU this year.  I wandered the grounds and the garden at the site of the famous Black Pool for which Dublin is named.  Apparently, it’s been filled in and now is the site of a beautiful garden with herbs, roses, agapanthus and a number of other plants I couldn’t identify.  From inside the garden, you can see the Royal Chapel and Tower, which was part of the original Viking castle.


I got some passing Iowans to take a picture of me there in the gardens in the midst of the former Black Pool.Black_pool_garden

I wandered around the Royal Chapel (right of the Tower in the background above) and onto Lord Edward Street where I saw another Arlington Hotel, this one with the Temple Bar instead of the Night Bar.  I dropped in for a lunch of Lamb Stew which was delicious and perfect for the chilly, wet weather. 


It really was this empty when I wandered in around 1pm, but it quickly filled up. As I was walking back up Lord Edward Street, I glanced back and this street art caught my eye, just across from City Hall and Dublin Castle.


After lunch, I decided to walk a round about way to my next destination – St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Center.  I walked through Temple Bar, taking a round about, meandering way through the back streets.


I ducked into another pub, the Auld Bar, to listen to some live music, for a couple of songs.  After continuing on my way, I found a misplaced creature – a cross between an ape and a Leprechaun!


I came out just north of Trinity College and wandered around trying to find the spot where I’m meeting my tour on Friday.  I stopped in at Starbucks on Grafton Street to get some hot tea.  The cold and damp was a bit overpowering.  At last, I made it to St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Center where I got gifts for the family and a few friends.


Back through St. Stephen’s Green to the hotel, where I’m about to start my work week.

Cathedrals and History–a Dublin Walk


I started the day catching a Dublin Hop-On, Hop-Off bus.  I took it to Christ’s Church Cathedral.  Inside, I spent a pleasant hour.


It was quiet, with the visitors present honoring the sanctity of the place by walking softly and speaking quietly.


In addition to beautiful stained glass windows, it has a collection of Icons painted by a young Eastern European artist in the tradition of the Orthodox Church.  This one of the Madonna and Child was particularly beautiful.


In the Crypt, in addition to pieces from the renovations to the building were these costumes from the television series:  The Tudors.  It was difficult to see them in the dark of the crypt.  This picture was taken with an ISO of 1000 to get the colors to register.

After coming out of Christ Church, I walked north towards the river Liffey, trying to find an arch on the tourist map.  I didn’t find it, but did come out at the river across from the Courts of Justice.


Next, I walked to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  It had a lot more visitors and was quite a bit noisier and less like a Church.  Unlike Christ Church, where the gift shop was in the Crypt, the gift shop of St. Patrick’s was in the back of the sanctuary as you came in the entrance.


These helmets above the thrones (?) near the alter were very cool.

I hopped back on the bus which took a meandering trip around Dublin, past the Guinness factory, the Dublin Zoo, the Irish American Ambassador’s House, and the Irish President’s House (The Irish White House).


The President has a heck of a commute to work!

I got off at the Night Bar and ate a bite of lunch in the pub while watching Rugby.  I then visited Henry Street to replace my headphones, which I damaged pulling my bag on and off.  Turning back to the south, I arrived at the Ha’Penny Bridge, otherwise known as the Liffey Bridge, which was decked out in Blue to promote the Smurf’s new movie.


The weather alternated between sunny and rainy all day, with a fair breeze and chilly temperatures.  I was very glad I had an umbrella and my jacket.  I wove my way through Temple Bar to Trinity College.


I was heading to the National Museum of History, but a bit of a round about way so that I could go in the Celtic Note, an Irish music store, where I purchased 3 CD’s – Solas’ new one, a Lunasa CD and a Horslips CD. 

The National Museum of History is excellent – and free entry – so more than worth the trip!  I viewed every exhibit they had over the course of two and a half hours.  My favorite was the Celtic Gold exhibit, followed closely by the Irish Treasury.  I did go through the Bog exhibit, which was fascinating in a rubber-necking sort of way.  I didn’t take any pictures in there, as it just seemed too ghoulish.


I photographed almost every artifact, but these golden collar’s were something else!


I got to see the Tara Broach to go with the oldest Irish Harp I saw yesterday.  The workmanship is stunning!


At the end of the Medieval Ireland exhibit they had some models of parts of Dublin.  I didn’t catch the time frames, but snapped photos anyway.


I ended my evening by walking around Merrion Court, followed by dinner at the Foley Restaurant.  I had planned to eat in a pub and listen to Irish music, as recommended by a gentleman at the National History Museum, but it was wall to wall at 7:30 and I had been on my feet since 9am this morning, so passed on that and had a lovely Irish dinner.

The Book of Kells

My first day in Dublin started at 6:30 am when my flight landed at Dublin’s airport an hour early.  How often does that happen?  After dropping of my luggage at my hotel, grabbing my camera and journal, and freshening up a bit, I started walking.  My hotel on Lower Baggot street is near all of the major sights in south Dublin.  I wandered down the back side of the National Gallery and National Museum, neither of which were open at 9am.  I sat for a while in the courtyard of the National Museum, resting and enjoying the cool and the damp.  After a bit, I made my way towards Trinity College and the Book of Kells.  On the way, I spotted this fabulous mural.


Trinity College was busy and there were a few people wandering around in graduation gowns and caps.  The line to see the Book of Kell’s was pretty long, but not so bad, so I sat on a bench and people watched.  When a tour group came up, I went ahead and joined the queue, finding myself right behind a couple from Austin.  How odd to be so far from home and hear people speaking of Rundberg Ln and 45N.

The exhibit for the Book of Kells was nicely done, but no photography was allowed inside, so I’ll have to post any drawings I complete later.  There was a video on book-binding, in the era of the Book of Kells and another on calligraphy in that time frame.  The display had many old bibles, plus the book of Kells (2 folios, one with text and the other with decoration), and two other books.


The next part of the exhibit was the Long Room, where non-flash photography was allowed.  The room reminded me of the Antiquarium at the Residenz Museum, with the arched ceilings and the busts.  However, instead of marble and paintings, the walls of this room were lined, floor to ceiling, two stories high, with book cases filled with books that have been preserved or restored.  Down the center were cases with examples of writing and books and other things that Trinity College preserves/conserves such as photographs and the oldest Irish harp. 

After Trinity College, I wandered down Grafton Street.  There was a lot to see, but I was reaching the point of exhaustion that limited my interest.  I did manage to find a Starbucks with free wifi and had a Chai Latte, sitting above the shops on Grafton.


After grabbing a bite to eat for lunch, I returned to my hotel, got my luggage and got into my room.  I took a shower and a nap.  My room is on the first floor in this Georgian town house.  In PA, this would be called a row house.  It’s cute. 


I ventured out again, heading for St. Stephen’s Green, where I discovered, to my surprise and please, live, traditional music in the band stand.  Today was Love Live Music Day in Ireland.  The musicians played a number of songs, including a slip jig and a double jig accompanied by Irish step dancers.