Dublin (Christ Church Cathedral, Kilmainham Goal, The Old Jameson's Distillery and Guinness)

Dublin Travel Blog

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The Liffey, Dublin.

The effect of 9 pints of Guinness during the previous late afternoon and evening simply didn't allow for an early start of the day. After taking an aspirin and a shower I felt right as rain though and around half past ten we were on our way to the Temple Bar area again. We decided to have breakfast at the Queen of Tarts café where we had coffee yesterday. This place has a wide choice of danish, scones, cakes, muffins and more. We sampled several of these and they were absolutely delicious. The almond and raspberry Danish was great, the warm apple crumbs cake was marvelous and the raspberry cheesecake was simply heavenly.

 

Christ Church Cathedral was very near and since our Dublin Passes allowed us free entrance we decided to have a quick peek. Well ... it's a church, a nice one but still a church.

Breakfast at Queen of Tarts, Dublin.
And after Andalusia I'd seen enough of those for the rest of the millenium. ;-) The origins of this one dated back to the days of the Vikings in the 11th century and were later expanded by Strongbow's Normans. The catacombs from the Viking era were interesting and had a mummified cat and rat on display that had gotten trapped in an organ pipe during pursuit.

 

A quick look at the map proved that our next destination, Kilmainham Gaol jail, was a rather long walk, so we took a taxi instead.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Kilmainham was opened in 1796 and used by the British rulers to lock up Irish offenders. All leaders of Irish uprisings would eventually find themselves in Kilmainham and the jail played an important role in the events following the 1916 uprising.

At times it seemed like the guide gave us a full biography of all inmates that had ever seen the inside of Kilmainham, and perhaps certain narration had a bit too much detail. Some stories were shocking though and had rightfully triggered the fight for independence among the Irish people. Among these was the tale of Jospeh Plunkett, a leader of the 1916 rebellion who got married in the jail's chapel on the same day he was executed (which his new wife heard from outside the prison walls).

Another shocking story involved the housekeeper of another rebel who was tortured and locked in a jail basement, up to her knees in faeces from the inmates, in an attempt to have her list the names of rebels working with her employer. She was released after 2,5 years but never said a word. This person, Ann Devlin, is one of the unsung hero's of the Irish struggle for independence.

Oh joy ! A church !
 

Fourteen of the 1916 leaders were executed in the exercise court, one of them (James Connolly) was so sick he couldn't walk or sit and the guards strapped him to a chair in order to be able to shoot him.

 

Besides this courtyard the tour took us through the oldest sections of the jail, where you could peek into the cells, and the smartly designed main corridor that allowed the British to use only 8 guards to keep an eye of all prisoners. Kilmainham was finally closed in 1924, shortly after the foundation of the Irish Free State. In the last decades it was reconstructed and turned into the museum it is today.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
A place both fascinating and gruesome at the same time.

 

After leaving Kilmainham it was well into the afternoon and we realized that it was high time for some alcohol-related activity. So we made our way across the Liffey to the north of town and after a hefty stroll we arrived at the Old Jameson's Distillery. This is the place where John Jameson arrived from Scotland (a fact which for marketing reasons was not mentioned in the promotional film) to produce his 'uisce beatha' ('water of life', the Irish name for whiskey). The old distillery has been out of order since 1971, with the production facilities moving to Middleton, Cork.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Part of the old buildings has been converted into a museum and this is where we claimed our last 'free' tour on our Dublin Pass. The tour was even more commercial than the Guinness tour we had two days ago. It consisted of 10 rooms displaying the manufacturing process with models of the original equipment. Our tour guide seemed semi-interested in telling the accompanying story and before long we found ourselves in the bar where we got our glass of pure Jameson or mix. Not being much of a whiskey man (unless they throw some honey and spices in it, making it a Drambuie) I opted for the cranberry-Jameson cocktail. BJ, however, had been chosen one of the lucky 8 volunteers to participate in a whiskey tasting, which featured Johnny Walker and Jack Daniels besides Jameson. Most of the participants picked Jameson as their favorite (though BJ mentioned that the alternatives weren't much of a competition) and the whole thing, which was watched by the other visitors, seemed to be aimed at proving the superiority of the Jameson flavor.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
No wonder that the tour ended at the facility's retail shop. So, all in all a bit too commercial considering the normal entry fee of 13 Euro, but a nice way to get our first alcohol of the day. ;-)

 

We went southwards across the Liffey again and walked into one of the many crowded pubs where the rugby finale was being shown. This was something BJ and Derk wanted to see and experience with the locals, while I worked on the blog and enjoyed my Guinness.

By the time the match was over we were starving. We hadn't eaten since the pastries at Queen of Tarts this morning, so it was high time for dinner at seven. We could have opted for a more stylish place but hunger got the better of us and we ended up in the Thunder Road restaurant at Temple Bar, an American style steakhouse kind of place.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Temple Bar really isn't the area that you want to spend too much time in while in Dublin. Most of the tourists seem to gather here and especially this weekend, with the English having a bank holiday on Monday, it seemed to be the spot for many a stag party. Then again, you never know for sure. As we'd learned by now that most Irish women dress the same, with a loose dress that ends somewhere between the butt and the knees. Often strapless, but almost always tasteless. Now, I'm not claiming that the three of us are icons of fashion, but this was as far away from decent taste you can imagine.

Anyway, the food was good though and I totally stuffed myself with the main course and dessert. Thus I really needed a good walk to let it all sink down and while BJ (who's feet were killing him) took a taxi, Derk and I walked back to the hotel past the Liffey.

 

After freshening up in our rooms we headed back to the center, planning to get a couple of pints in a pub with some traditional Irish music.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
The Blarney Inn seemed like just the place but after the Irish musicians had played a joyful couple of tunes the dancers took over. Now, I've never been a great fan of Irish dancing, which seems to involve complete numbness of the upper limbs while the legs go berserk. The specific female dancer that was performing near our table couldn't quite keep up with the rhythm either and the music she danced to sounded like it came straight from a My First Sony keyboard. When this was followed by loud pop music we fled out the door, looking for a better spot. We ended up back in the Grafton Street area, where we had another pint at café Bruxelles.

Since tomorrow would be our last day and we wanted to visit a couple of sights we hadn't seen yet before heading back for the airport, we decided to call it an early night, taking a taxi back to the hotel at half past 11.

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The Liffey, Dublin.
The Liffey, Dublin.
Breakfast at Queen of Tarts, Dubli…
Breakfast at Queen of Tarts, Dubl…
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Oh joy ! A church !
Oh joy ! A church !
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Kilmainham Gaol jail, Dublin.
Kilmainham Gaol jail, Dublin.
Kalmainham Gael, Dublin.
Kalmainham Gael, Dublin.
Kilmainham Gaol jail, Dublin.
Kilmainham Gaol jail, Dublin.
Film at the chappel, Kilmainham Ga…
Film at the chappel, Kilmainham G…
Under close surveillance at Kalman…
Under close surveillance at Kalma…
Under close surveillance, Kilmainh…
Under close surveillance, Kilmain…
Kilmainham Gaol jail, Dublin.
Kilmainham Gaol jail, Dublin.
Kilmainham Gaol jail, Dublin.
Kilmainham Gaol jail, Dublin.
Kalmainham Gael, Dublin.
Kalmainham Gael, Dublin.
Locked in Kilmainham Gaol jail, Du…
Locked in Kilmainham Gaol jail, D…
Locked in Kilmainham Gaol jail, Du…
Locked in Kilmainham Gaol jail, D…
Locked in Kilmainham Gaol jail, Du…
Locked in Kilmainham Gaol jail, D…
Execution site, Kilmainham Gaol ja…
Execution site, Kilmainham Gaol j…
The executioned of the 1916 Uprisi…
The executioned of the 1916 Upris…
The Old Jamesons Distillery, Dubl…
The Old Jameson's Distillery, Dub…
The Old Jamesons Distillery, Dubl…
The Old Jameson's Distillery, Dub…
The Old Jamesons Distillery, Dubl…
The Old Jameson's Distillery, Dub…
Whiskey tasting at The Old Jameson…
Whiskey tasting at The Old Jameso…
Whiskey tasting at The Old Jameson…
Whiskey tasting at The Old Jameso…
BJs Whiskey Tasting, Old Jameson…
BJ's Whiskey Tasting, Old Jameson…
BJ and his Jameson Whiskey.
BJ and his Jameson Whiskey.
Dublin
photo by: fransglobal