After a good nights sleep I woke up rested. I woke up before my alarm, so got up, showered and typed up my blog entry from the travel day/first day in Dublin. I bought a Bluetooth Travel Keyboard to use with my PDA. I decided I did not want to drag my laptop around this trip, so I am using the PDA. This set up is working just fine so far. The PDA has the applications I need and is much easier to pack and carry. In addition to the word processor I have it set up for GPS. I had it with me yesterday when I was walking around. When I got lost in my wonderings, I just fished it out of my pocket and figured out where I was and where I needed to go.
The group is meeting for breakfast at 8am and then we are going to Trim Castle for a tour. Breakfast was pretty good. It was a full breakfast that included eggs, sausage, bacon, toast, fruit, cereal and an assortment of juices and coffee or tea. This is the only meal that is included each day, so I ate my monies worth! :)
After breakfast the group met up in the lobby for a trip out to Trim Castle.
Trim Castle was built by a Norman Knight named Richard De Clare, also known as Strongbow. He came to Ireland at the request of the King of Lienster to help him with a war with some of his neighbors. Strongbow married the kings daughter and when the king died about a year later, Strongbow took over. Trim Castle is a typical Norman Motte and Bailey castle construction. It is pretty run down, but seems to be in a state of being restored for tourists. The main keep and protective walls are still standing, if somewhat crumbling, not bad for being almost 1000 years old. The castle sits next to a nice size river. There is marshy ground between the river and the castle. We were turned loose at the castle for about an hour and a half.
After our time at the castle we returned to Dublin.
The coach driver asked us where we might liked to be dropped off on our way back into town. One of the places I wanted to visit was the Guinness Storehouse. It is a tour at the Guinness Brewery. Being dropped off meant I would only have to make half of the walk. The self guided tour cost 14 euro but included a pint of Guinness in the Sky Bar at the end of the tour. The Sky Bar is in a circular glass room at the very top of the building. It has incredible views of Dublin (if you know what your looking at). I enjoyed my pint and chatted with a couple people that I had met while walking the tour.
Then it was time to try to visit the 3 other attractions I wanted to stop at. Christ Church Cathedral, St Patrick’s Cathedral, and Dublinia. I walked to Christ Church first.
The day had started out bright, sunny and reasonably warm (for Dublin), but by the time I had finished with the tour of the Storehouse, it was starting to get overcast and the temp had dropped a bit. I arrived at Christ Church and found a service was in progress. I am not very religious, but I do respect others and decided now was not the time to ask to go inside. So I decided to visit the Dublinia Museum which was just across the street. It is a museum that explains life in Dublin in medieval times, from the Viking perspective. Very interesting displays. There were some pretty cool stained glass windows in the building. You are not suppose to take photos of them as they are concerned about the harmful effects the flash has on the coloring in the windows. I asked one of the staff if it would be ok if I took pictures as long as my flash was turned off. I set my camera for night time pictures. The sun was in just the right place to backlight the windows, so I think I may have gotten a few good pictures.
The building that the Dublinia museum is in used to be an outlaying building of Christ Church. It is connected to the Cathedral by a masonry bridge. The tour ends with you crossing the bridge to one of the entries to Christ Church Cathedral. The previous service had ended, and it was very close to closing time. I asked the priest if I could take a quick look around. He said that would be fine. He even let me in with out paying the admission price as I only had about 10-15 minutes. I enjoyed looking around, took some pictures (more stained glass) and then thanked the priest and left.
While I had been inside, it had finally started raining. It had stopped when I came back outside, but looked like it might start again at any time. So I started back for the hotel. It was a nice walk through the streets of Dublin.
As I walked back I passed the church that the tour guide had told us housed the remains of St. Valentine...yes that St. Valentine. So I decided to stop and take a look. It was funny, this was also a house of worship like Christ Church Cathedral...but this felt more like a church to me. There were actual parishioners praying in several of the pews. I took a couple of pictures (as inconspicuously as I could) and lit a candle (could not hurt the love life...right) as an act of penance and left. It was now approaching 6pm and I was starting to get hungry. The only thing I had had since breakfast was my pint earlier. I was not in the mood for pub food, and did not really pass any restaurants that interested me, so I just stopped at a Subway for a meatball sub. MMMM. Then back to the hotel. I was pretty beat from all the walking, so just decided to kick back and relax. We leave for the next city tomorrow and were told to have our packs packed and out in the hallway by 7:15. So I packed my bag and did some reading before bed.
This box holds the remains of St. Valentine