Dublin Hit or Miss

Although we spent only two and a half days in Dublin, we covered most of the main sights. In earlier posts I told you about the Book of Kells, the Long Room at Trinity College Library, and the National Museum. These were all a hit with us and I recommend taking the time to visit each. There were lots of other hits with us, too. Here is a summary of some of the other sights we visited in no particular order.

The Guiness Storehouse was a hit and frankly, I was surprised. We didn’t tour it last time we were in Dublin but after reading its the number one tourist attraction in all Ireland, I thought we should take a look. I’m glad we did because this was a fascinating museum. In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease to pay 45 pounds a year for St. James Gate Brewery. You can see the lease encased in glass in the floor of the lobby. Plenty of educational materials displayed on seven levels explained the history and the beer-making process. I’m not a beer drinker, in fact I’m normally gluten-free, but I made an exception in this case to taste a pint at the end of the tour. I was impressed.

Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

This says it all.

This says it all.

The Cooperage Exhibit showed Jim's favorite video explaining the barrel making process

The Cooperage Exhibit showed Jim’s favorite video explaining the barrel making process

Brian and Abi tasting a pint in the Gravity Bar at the top of the Guinness Storehouse

Brian and Abi tasting a pint in the Gravity Bar at the top of the Guinness Storehouse

Tasting our pint in the Gravity Bar at the end of the tour of the Guinness Storehouse

Tasting our pint in the Gravity Bar at the end of the tour of the Guinness Storehouse

The Dublin Castle was definitely a hit. We took the guided tour and found it interesting and helpful even though Rick Steves called it boring.  In fact, it seemed like three separate tours, and visits to two of the areas, the undercroft below the castle and the State Apartments, are allowed only by guided tour. First, we toured the level under the castle (undercroft) where the original Viking fortress was located at the juncture of the Liffey River and its tributary, the Poddle, in a black pool, or dubh linn in Irish (Dublin). This level was excavated in 1986 revealing archeological evidence from around 930 AD Viking Dublin and Norman remains from the 12th century.

Dublin Castle

Archeological dig under Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

The Irish dubh linn (Dublin) which means black pool under Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle was the symbol and center of British colonial rule in Ireland. The Chapel Royal displays the coats of arms of all the  British officials assigned to rule Ireland from 1172 until the last space was filled in 1922, coincidentally, the same year  the Republic of Ireland gained independence from Britain.

The Royal Chapel at Dublin Castle

The Royal Chapel at Dublin Castle

The coats of arms surrounding the perimeter of the Royal Chaple at Dublin Castle

The coats of arms around the perimeter of the Royal Chapel at Dublin Castle

Pipe Organ given to the Royal Chapel by Queen Victoria's consort, Prince Phillip

Pipe Organ given to the Royal Chapel by Queen Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert

The last stop on the tour was at the State Apartments where official state functions are held to this day. During the colonial period, the Viceroy lived there and on occasion the King or Queen would visit. The throne that was built for King George IV’s visit in 1821 was so large, the diminutive Queen Victoria subsequently had a step added.

Throne with Step for Queen Victoria in the Throne Room, Dublin Castle

Throne with Step for Queen Victoria in the Throne Room, Dublin Castle

The Drawing Room was the scene of many glittering extravaganzas during Dublin’s social season which culminated in the Grand Ball on St. Patrick’s Day. Debutantes would line up from the most wealthy to the least with the width of their ball gowns as an indication of wealth and status.

The Drawing Room, Dublin Castle

The Drawing Room, Dublin Castle

The Chester Beatty Library was a delightful hit. Chester Beatty, born in 1875, was an American who moved to England in 1911, then to Ireland in 1950 where he established a library to house his priceless collection of rare books, manuscripts, paintings, and objets d’art from around the world. This museum strikes the right note allowing a leisurely visit that impresses without overwhelming the visitor. While photography is not allowed, the museum is free. Thanks to my friend, Sheryl, for recommending a delight we would have otherwise missed.

Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

A walk through St Stephen’s Green was a welcome hit. The day was warm and sunny, drawing swarms of people to enjoy a perfect day lounging on the green enjoying the colorful flowers and wildlife.

Lounging in St. Stephen's Green

Lounging in St. Stephen’s Green

St Stephen's Green

St Stephen’s Green

Fountain at St Stephen's Green

Fountain at St Stephen’s Green

Swan in St. Stephen's Green

Swan in St. Stephen’s Green

St Patrick’s Cathedral was a sacred hit. Much of what is known of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, consists of legend rather than fact. One of the legends is that he baptized new converts to Christianity at a well in the cathedral environs. In 1901, six gravestones were unearthed and one of them covered what appeared to be a well, more “proof” that St. Patrick had indeed baptized converts there in the fifth century.

Jonathan Swift, the satirist who wrote Gulliver’s Travels and A Modest Proposal, was the Dean of the Cathedral from 1713-1745 and is buried here.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin

Grave slab from St. Patrick's Cathedral

Grave Slab that covered an old well where St. Patrick was reputed to have baptized converts

The Temple Bar area was a hit both day and night. Temple Bar is both a pub and an area of Dublin. Whether you are seeking a pint of Guinness, authentic traditional music, or pub grub, you’ll find it in Temple Bar.

Iconic Temple Bar, Dublin

Iconic Temple Bar, Dublin

 

Temple Bar

Temple Bar

Temple Bar

Temple Bar

Unfortunately, Dublinia was a miss. This is an experiential museum about Viking and Medieval Ireland and the information was interesting but the museum is a series of re-creations with no authentic artifacts. Photography is not allowed, possibly because no one would visit if they saw what’s there… or not there. Admission is 8.5 Euro which seems expensive compared to the National Museum which was free. To be fair, I read reviews on TripAdvisor and plenty of others (including my husband) think it’s great.

Two more iconic sights in Dublin absolutely have to get a mention here. The statue of Molly Malone was gifted to the city in 1988 and to be sure, it was a challenge to find her this time around. She’d been moved because of a construction project.

Molly Malone

Molly Malone

The Ha’penny Bridge over the Liffey is as Irish as a pint of Guinness. Officially named the Liffey Bridge, it’s always been called the Ha’penny Bridge after the toll of a half penny that was originally charged to cross it.

The Ha'penny Bridge over the River Liffey

The Ha’penny Bridge over the River Liffey

Be sure to stop by again next week when we will finally venture beyond the pale. I’ll also explain what that means for those who don’t know.

Based on events from April, 2015

   

Categories: History, Ireland, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Dublin Hit or Miss

  1. I kept thinking as I was reading this “This is my favorite picture” until the next one and then I would think “NO–this is my favorite one!”. What a great tour of someplace i have not been but hope to visit someday and I have a great resource in you when that day comes. I bet my real favorite would have been the library. Thanks for all the fun facts and pictures. Can’t wait for beyond the pale—that is what Mr. Diamond and I usually do and especially on this trip to Puerto Rico.

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  2. I totally want to go to Dublin now! I have so enjoyed reading your posts about it.

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    • The best part of Ireland is truly its people. They are the warmest, friendliest people I have met. I hope you do go sometime and experience their hospitality.

      Like

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