Dublin - Amsterdam (Trinity College and the last pints of Guinness)

Dublin Travel Blog

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Trinity College, Dublin.

As planned, we started the day early because we needed to be heading for the airport around half past two. Turns out we'd got up a bit too early since Lemon, where we wanted to have a tasty pancake breakfast, was still closed. We killed the remaining time until they opened with a cup of coffee at Starbucks a couple of doors down. Lemon's pancakes were the perfect start of the day before we headed for Trinity College, our last real sight on the program.

 

Trinity was established by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 to stop the emigration of bright young students from Dublin to other European universities.

Tour Guide Joseph, Trinity College, Dublin.
Most of the Georgian buildings on the 16 hectare site do however originate in the 18th century.
We took the tour with Joseph, a teacher at Trinity who had a lovely sense of very cynical humor. This is exactly what you need to make a story filled with history and numerous facts fun, something we've noticed a lot of tour guides in Dublin have not figured out yet. But Joseph, dressed as a flamboyant retired businessman, took every opportunity to make fun of the students, the architects and the governmental policies. After entertaining us with some 30 minutes of information he left us at the Old Library, the main attraction of Trinity.

 

The Old Library houses The Book of Kells, one of the oldest known books this illustrated manuscript is believed to have originated around 800 AD in a monastery on the remote island Iona. The plundering Vikings forced the monks to flee to Kells in Ireland where the book was stolen in 1007 and rediscovered buried underground.

Tour Guide Joseph, trinity College, Dublin.
Most probably the Vikings left it there, not daring to temper with a holy text, only taking the box in which it was kept. The book was brought to Trinity in 1654 for safekeeping.

The book contains the four gospels of the New Testament in its 680 pages and is especially remarkable because of the complex illustrations. Visiting the Book is a bit disenchanting really because the full book has been rebound into 4 volumes and only two pages of one volume are openly on display (hence the often used ‘Page of Kells’ reference). Worse however is that there's no efficient way of trafficking people along the book. So even though the number of people in the darkened room is limited those folks inside flock around the display and you'll have a hard time catching a close up glimpse because there will always we queue-jumpers, squeezers and people giving the decoding of the Latin text a go, taking ages to move on.

 

What lay beyond the Book of Kells was actually much more impressive. The upper two levels of the Old Library contain a large open hall, the Long Room, no less than 65 meters across. This place has a magical atmosphere and beneath the barrel-shaped roof row upon row of bookcases line the walls, containing 20.000 of the library's oldest books and manuscripts. It even has some copies of pages from the Book of Kells that could be viewed much easier than the actual thing.

Campanille, Trinity College, Dublin.

 

This concluded our tour along the main sights of Dublin in the past four days. Though we could have easily stayed another couple of days and spent it sightseeing and drinking pints, it unfortunately was about time to go home. We spent our last two hours shopping for DVDs and books at Grafton Street, Dublin's main shopping area and grabbed a sandwich, washing it down with our last pint of Guinness, in the Temple Bar area. Then it was half past two and time to head for the airport, which we did by taxi, since they didn't want any more bus trouble this time. ;-)

 

At the airport we got our final Guinness (again).

'Sphere Within Sphere', Trinity College, Dublin.
While enjoying the black liquid Derk and BJ suddenly pulled something out of their bags. ‘You didn’t think we would let your birthday pass by unnoticed, did you?’ Well, they certainly hadn’t. When I wasn’t watching they had bought me an Ireland T-shirt with a cool Celtic design, along with the official Guinness boxer shorts featuring the text ‘tall, dark and handsome’ and a drawing of a filled pint. Should I throw another cappuccino across my legs again I would at least have clean underwear! ;-)

 

At a quarter past five we were on our way back to Amsterdam, arriving half an hour ahead of schedule. BJ and I said goodbye to Derk at Schiphol and took the train back to Weesp. BJ’s yellow ‘tweety’ car was waiting for us loyally and before long we were back in Hilversum. After quickly copying BJ’s pictures I was driving home again, arriving shortly after half past 11.

'Sphere Within Sphere', Trinity College, Dublin.

 

All in all, Dublin was great fun. The weather was fine for most of the time, we’d seen a few quite impressive things, had many a good laugh and drank lots of pints. We all agreed that we could have continued like this for at least a week and would still haven’t seen all of the city’s sights and bars. I have the feeling this will not be my last trip to Dublin, and I’m certain it won’t be my last journey to Ireland!

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Trinity College, Dublin.
Trinity College, Dublin.
Tour Guide Joseph, Trinity College…
Tour Guide Joseph, Trinity Colleg…
Tour Guide Joseph, trinity College…
Tour Guide Joseph, trinity Colleg…
Campanille, Trinity College, Dubli…
Campanille, Trinity College, Dubl…
Sphere Within Sphere, Trinity Co…
'Sphere Within Sphere', Trinity C…
Sphere Within Sphere, Trinity Co…
'Sphere Within Sphere', Trinity C…
Book of Kells, Trinity College, Du…
Book of Kells, Trinity College, D…
The Long Room, Trinity College, Du…
The Long Room, Trinity College, D…
Grafton Street, Dublin.
Grafton Street, Dublin.
Enjoying a last Guinness.
Enjoying a last Guinness.
Got Guinness ?
Got Guinness ?
The official Guinness Boxer Short !
The official Guinness Boxer Short !
Your loyal reporter, signing off.
Your loyal reporter, signing off.
Dublin
photo by: fransglobal