Sunday, March 12, 2006

Remembering My Trip to Ireland

After my long meme post where I showed you several shots of Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, I got out all my St. Patrick's Day cards and got them ready to mail. Of course I started thinking about the trip - so now you get a peek at my thoughts.

Those are my travelling companions. Daughter, SO and son. We're at the home airport waiting for the first leg of the trip which took us to Chicago where we spent the night and the next day. My brother lived there at the time. The reason they're all laughing is that just as I got in position to take this picture my daughter burped. That's a cola she's holding and the carbonation decided to escape. My daughter doesn't produce a quiet lady-like burp. Nope, it's a belch that registers on the Richter. The Homeland Security team went on alert when they heard it. In Washington, D.C.

We flew from Chicago to Dublin and landed in the morning on July 3rd. For some reason I don't have pictures of the hotel (the Westin at College Green, right next to Trinity College) or the Guinness Brewery tour which were the two things we saw first after getting out of the airport. I do have some pictures I took during the coach tour of Dublin on July 4th. Our fabulous guide, Niven, had decorated the coach with little American flags and red, white and blue streamers. For our coach tour Niven had a guide named Christie aboard - Christie was a whitehaired Irish gentleman much to the dismay of the young men on the trip (and maybe some of the older ones but they knew better than to let on with their wives/SO's sitting right next to them).

We drove up and down O'Connell street and saw a number of statues - including the infamous spire known by a number of rowdy names (scroll about halfway down the page to read some of the nicknames).

This statue is not of someone shaking his fist. It's Father Theobald Mathew a 19th century temperence movement leader. Apparently temperance and Irish aren't mutally exclusive terms, although I bet you could win some bar bets with the facts and figures. (Google is your friend) Folks routinely try to perch a can of Guinness in his hand which is missing its fingers from all the attempts (perhaps this is a Dublin Urban Myth, makes a good story anyway, so I'll perpetuate it).

We also drove past a number of Georgian townhomes with the brightly painted doors that you may have seen in picture books or posters about Ireland. Christie told us a story about how the colored doors came to be - to help drunken gentlemen tell their front door from the neighbor's late at night.

Our coach tour eventually took us to St. Patrick's Cathedral. Both the SO and I have a great number of pictures of the inside - I'll only post a few. First thing we saw was a carved stone found in the early 1900's covering an ancient well that was said to have been in constant use from before the time of St. Patrick through the 16th century. Folk believe that it may be a well that St. Patrick used to baptise his converts. There are two crosses carved on the stone - one is quite primative looking, the other a more detailed Celtic cross.

The Cathedral has a number of antiquities - including many items belonging to Jonathan Swift who was Dean of the Cathedral in the first half of the 1700's. That's a bust of Swift. They have his death mask as well.

The last picture of the Cathedral I'll share here is one the SO took. He captioned it "best collection dish EVAH" and put in about 4 Euros contribution. It's a Guinness keg.

When we finished there the next stop was Kilmainham Gaol, which I've already written much about. After that we went to Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells. We were not allowed to photograph there. The display of the book is under glass and that's the only thing separating you from the book - you can lean over the waist high table and get your nose just above the glass and you're only inches from the incredible illuminated text of the Gospels. Breathtaking.

The tour guide, our guide and the coach dropped us off at Trinity and took the rest of the day off for themselves. The SO and my daughter and I wandered around the area - saw St. Stephen's Green and did some shopping. My SO and I have matching modernized Claddagh rings from the trip.

Then we went to the hotel for a nap. That night we were going out to the Abbey Tavern for dinner and we needed to rest up. I'll post about that another time.

Thanks for coming along on this little journey.

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Anne C. Watkins said...

Thanks for the virtual trip and all the cool pictures! Did you visit any castles, or have I missed that part?

I love Claddagh rings. Wish I had one.

Dawno said...

Yep, saw a bunch of castles. I'll reminisce about it someday :-)