Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ireland: Day 1, Dublin

 First view of Ireland, far below. We were tired and glad to get to our hotel. We stayed at the Cassidy Hotel right in the heart of Dublin. I chose it for its location, also because it was privately owned (not a chain) and in a renovated Georgian house. We would be able to walk to many places, and the tour bus stop was just around the corner. Knowing we'd have little time in the country, we decided to do organized tours. Not my usual preference, but when time is short they're a good option.

Next morning we were up early to find the hop on-hop off tour bus. The first place we saw was the post office building that was the site of the 1916 uprising and shootout between Irish and English partisans. Ireland's history is the history of struggle, particularly since the coming of the English in the 1200's. Some of that unrest is still evident in the comments of the people we met, even the tour operators. Northern Ireland is still under English rule, although some compromises have been made in recent years and the things are calmer. When I think how I would feel to have another country here, telling us what to do, I can understand.

Next stop was Trinity College. I'd hoped to see the Book of Kells here, but when we were inside we learned that there was a fee, and that no photos were allowed. Bummer. I didn't mind the fee, but no photos? Bleh. Larry wasn't much interested so we moved on. I am sure we missed seeing something spectacular, but I decided that I could buy a book about the Book and be happy. So that's what I did.
 Inside the gate at Trinity. Such beautiful buildings.
 Me and Mr. Leo East. Mr. East noticed that we were tourists (map in hand, confused faces, no doubt!) and graciously pointed out all the good places within walking distance. He was such a happy, interesting gentleman, 68 years old and still working. He told us that his sister owns the Blarney Castle motel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; we're heading that way soon so may just stop in to say hello to her too!
 This is part of Dublin Castle. Built in Norman times, this was place from which England ruled Ireland. The tour guides had very little to say about this place, I noticed. They were politically correct and tried to stay neutral in their comments, but it was not difficult to know their true feelings.

 The entrance to the castle. I was so tempted to sit down and have a cuppa in this little cafe, but prices in Ireland, or at least in Dublin, were pretty high. A small cup of (bad) coffee cost between $2.50 and $3.00. Tea was delicious and a less expensive option.
Just a shot of one of Dublin's busy streets. The flowers on this building really caught my eye.  And look at the intricate windows.
 And doorways! I'll have to do a post just on doors, I think; we saw many wonderful ones. This was the entrance, I thought, to a bank, so we went in to see what the inside looked like.
 Oops! Not a bank but a very posh restaurant now. What a great way to use that gorgeous space.
 Rooftops were fascinating too--I've never seen a peacock weathervane before.
 A beautiful garden walk at Trinity,
 and an impressive glass sculpture in the garden itself. This garden was designed around a helicopter landing pad that was laid out in a Celtic design, very clear from the air, while on the ground it just looked like an interesting walkway or garden layout. Sculptures and public art were everywhere in the city.
 Color pops! Old buildings coming alive in a new age.
 Part of Dublin Castle.
 Saint Patrick's Cathedral below. We stopped here and started to go inside, but again there was an entry fee, so we contents ourselves with enjoying the exterior. By this point of our travels we were watching what we spent a little closer, and knew we needed to be careful.
 The noticeboard in the entryway to the cathedral reinforced what we'd been told earlier--watch your pockets. Larry and I both carried our wallets in our front pockets, a good way to foil the pickpockets. We saw similar signs in England; it's not something I think about really, but I suppose it's a fact of life in any heavily populated area.

Another door--the King's likeness on one side, and what appears to be the Pope on the other.

Another fascinating Dublin street, not far from our hotel. We learned that the part of Dublin where we were staying was populated by 30% Irish and 70% other nationalities. We heard all kinds of languages here.

More to come!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


hart said...


When I got to see the Book of Kells the pages displayed that day were not the most heavily illustrated, and the whole room is very dimly lit to conserve the book--so it was a bit of a disappointment.--Jane

Rowan said...

I haven't been to Dublin yet but would like to one day more to see Newgrange and Bru na Boinne than to see the city itself. I've always thought I'd like to see the Book of Kells too but Jane's comment might make me think again.

Granny Sue said...

That's good to know, Jane. I understand the concern with preserving the book, but honestly, if it can only be seen in such a way, I'm happy to have the book with glorious photos. Which makes me wonder--if photos are so damaging, how were the many books with photos actually made?

Michelle said...

A great peek into Ireland for me!

Sue said...

Fascinating pictures. I look forward to seeing more!


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