This weekend we went to Dublin. We had to get up really early on Friday to get on the bus that would take us on the three hour journey. When we arrived at our hotel it was too early for us to check in, but they let us put all of our bags into a room for safekeeping while we explored.
We were then shown around Dublin a little bit so that we could get oriented to the city. We saw Dublin castle, where Tom Keith told us about the history of Dublin and how the castle embodies a lot of Irish History. Afterwards we went to the National Archaeology Museum. There were all kinds of exhibits on the Celts and the Vikings on through medieval times. I was amazed at the preservation of the artifacts. There was a huge viking longboat, and they even had bog bodies! Our next stop was the houses of Parliament. We were shown around inside, and we got to sit in the meeting rooms while our guide told us about how the government of Ireland works. Then we walked around so that we could see where Trinity College and the Temple Bar area were and then back to the hotel. Monica and I took naps before we went out. We had dinner at this little bistro, and the food was really good. Afterwards we went and found a cute little pub to hang out in. There was a rugby game on, and Tom ended up talking to some local guys about the game,
The next morning I had to get up extra early because we were going to Newgrange. Only four of us were going with Keiko, and the rest of the group was going to spend the morning in Dublin doing some more sightseeing. We caught the bus to the Newgrange Visitor's center and we arrived for the first tour of the day. From the visitor center we had to catch another shuttle that would take us to the site its self. When we got there, we found out that we would actually get to go inside the mound! We were in the second group to go inside, so we had some time to wander around outside before it was our turn to go in. It was absolutely breathtaking. We walked down the narrow passageway, which rises several feet to the center. The passage was lined with standing stones and larger stoned laid flat across the top. Some old graffiti remained from before the site was recognized and protected. At the center, the roof rose in a dorm formed by flat stones laid on top of each other spiraling upward. there were three large basin stones around the center, and carvings in the three alcoves that contained them. Our guide then turned off the lights inside and the chamber went pitch black. She then simulated the entrance of the sun on the winter solstice. It was simply amazing.
When we got back to the city we bought tickets for the Hop-on Hop-off city tour bus. That was probably the best investment I made, because it took us everywhere we wanted to go without the hassle of learning bus routs. We started exploring the city, and decided to get off at St. Peter's green, which is a huge park. We wandered around taking pictures, and enjoying the smell of flowers. At one of the ponds we made friends with a swan, and hilarity ensued. We also found this really neat Victorian garden, complete with walls and gates, and tree lined paths.
From there we made our way to the Guinness storehouse. We had just enough time to walk through the exhibit before the last bus of the day would take us back to our hotel. At the end of the museum I learned how to pull a pint of Guinness! We had to drink our pints pretty fast to have enough time to visit the gift shop and catch our bus. Needless to say we were all pretty silly on the ride back.
We saw the sun set over the river Liffy, and it was gorgeous!
The next morning, Melia and I tried to go see Christchurch Cathedral across from our hotel. We got up early and ate breakfast then headed across the street. It never registered to us that it would be closed for visitors on Palm Sunday since no signs gave any indication that this was so, but it was. So , instead we took pictures outside the church and wandered around for a bit. When everyone else was ready to go, we hopped on the bus again and went to Kilmainham jail. There is a lot of history in the jail. It held several of the leaders of the Easter Rising before they were executed, and we even saw the courtyard where they were shot. Now there is a little memorial for them there.
After our tour we rode the hop-on hop- off for a while so that we could see the rest of the city. I managed to find Toner's pub, and I went in, but the bartender didn't give me a free pint.
For most of us, Dungarvan has begun to feel like a home away from home. While none of us wanted to leave Dublin, We were all really happy to get back to Dungarvan.