Dublin Travel Blog

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In the lead up to my birthday I had decided to take my birthday off to save me sitting at work, so I made a plan to meet Cam for lunch that day and he would finish early and we could go for a meal. Cam asked me to get off work early on the 18th and meet him in town outside Waverley station at 3.30pm. I guessed something was up when he asked me to pop a spare change of clothes into his bag the night before, but little did I realise what he had in store. So at 3.30 I was waiting at the train station thinking how close it was to the bus station and anything in Edinburgh town, including the Balmoral Hotel, we I got a call saying he was running late and for me to get on the airlink bus. Cam met me at the West End and tried to convince me we were going to stay at the airport hotel. When we got to the airport cam headed straight up to the boarding gate saying we had checked in online and was about to go through to detectors when he asked if I’d like to know where we were off too, I was trying to guess from the gate numbers he was quoting but I couldn’t read fast enough, so I agreed it was time for me to be in on the secret, and we were off to the Emerald Isle!

When we got into Dublin it was only about 5pm but it was as dark as home so we caught the bus straight into town and managed to find the Maple Hotel very easily, so we dropped off the bag and headed back towards O’Connell Street. We found a Chinese buffet on the way and ate our fill before going for an explore through Temple Bar, Trinity College and Grafton Street. We realised we had forgotten tha cameras so bought a disposabel one to savour the memories...

The next morning Cam had all my birthday cards from home for me to open, and I had a tirade of phone calls before we went down for a fantastic cooked breakfast. We checked out and then headed back off for some culture, out first stop was the Irish Writer’s museum in Parnell Square (where I had accidentally led us the night before with my lack of map reading skills – oops!). The museum was founded in 1991, and houses the works and histories of Ireland’s most famous writers including Oscar Wilde, WB Yeats, James Joyce and Jonathan Swift who wrote Gulliver’s Travels. It also has a copy of the Book of Kells the first translation of the Bible into Celtic. When we left the museum Cam quizzed me on what I had learned and then told me off for not reading and remembering all the panels! We then walked down the entire length of O’Connell Street over the River Liffey to Trinity College. Almost all the writers we had learnt about had attended this college, tourists usually visit to see the original Book of Kells in the library, we however just went for an explore around the grounds before hopping off to our next stop, the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology., the National Museum is split into 3 sites, and we thought they archaeology museum would provide us with a nice history of Ireland, we wandered through the galleries including The Treasury which features outstanding examples of Celtic and Medieval art, such as the famous Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch and the Derrynaflan Hoard. We spent the most time in the Kingship & Sacrifice exhibition which centres on a number of recently found bog bodies dating back to the Iron Age. Displayed along with other bog finds from the Museums collections, it offers you an opportunity to come 'face to face' with your ancient ancestors who have been mummified in the bogs after accidents or being murdered.

We stopped off for a coffee, and I received some more phone calls from India! Before walking along to St Stephen’s Green which is the earliest of Dublin’s 18th century squares, The park was enclosed with a wall in 1664, the houses built around the Green were rapidly replaced by new buildings in the Georgian style and by the end of the eighteenth century the Green was a place of resort for the better-off of the city. Much of the present-day landscape of the square comprises modern buildings, some in a replica Georgian style, and relatively little survives from the 18th and 19th centuries. We weren’t flush with time, but took a time out by the pond and a quick walk around the King Street corner.

Our next destination was the Dublin Castle, which is tucked away in what seems like an industrial area it is a well fortified series of buildings, most of which date back to the 18th century when Ireland was under British rule. Dublin Castle fulfilled a number of roles through its history. Originally built as a defensive fortification for the Norman city of Dublin, it later evolved into a royal residence, resided in by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland or Viceroy of Ireland, the representative of the monarch. The second in command in the Dublin Castle administration, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, also had his offices there. Over the years parliament and law courts met at the castle before moving to new purpose-built venues. It also served as a military garrison. Upon formation of the Free State in 1922, the castle immediately assumed the role of court complex, as the Four Courts on the Liffey quays had been badly damaged during the Civil War - a role it served for the first decade of the newly independent state. It was also decided in the 1930s that the inauguration of the first President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde in 1938 would take place in the castle, and ever since the complex has been host to this ceremony. The castle is also used for hosting official State visits as well as more informal foreign affairs engagements, State banquets, Government policy launches, as well as acting as the central base for Ireland's hosting of the European Presidency approximately every 10 years.

We then decided it was time for a drink so set on our long trek to find the Guinness Storehouse (I should note its not that far, but some how we managed to take forever to get there…). Cam was keen as mustard because as part of our entry we got a free pint of stout. The museum is set in the original storehouse built in 1904 which was used up until 1988. In 2000 it was reopened as a tourist attraction, the core of the building is modelled on a giant pint glass, stretching up from reception on the ground floor to The Gravity Bar in the sky. If filled, this giant pint would hold approximately 14.3 million pints of Guinness. We wound our way around the brewing, fermenting, quality control (tasting) and marketing process, before finding our way to the Gravity Bar which hosts a 360° view of Dublin. Sitting in the bar with a pint watching the sunset over Dublin was the perfect way to see in my birthday!

As Cam was nearing the end of his pint we realised we had 3 hours before the flight and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, so we finished up at the Storehouse and wandered into an Irish Pub where we got a huge feed of Irish Stew and unfortunately we didn’t have room for cake! So as we found our way back to the airport said by to masses of Irish and Polish football fans and faired Dublin Well!
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photo by: fransglobal