Oh, this trip blogging has been a slow business! I still need to share about Ireland. I've found that these blog posts have been a really nice way to collect my thoughts on a huge trip that is now fading into memory.
So, Ireland. We flew Ryan Air from Edinburgh to Dublin, our first stop in Ireland.
Where we stayed: Botanic View B&B
Why we wanted to come: It's the capital, and it's got all the history that comes with it, so Dublin seemed like a good place for an introduction to Irish culture!
Major sights: Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Glasnevin Cemetery
Great Discovery: Glasnevin Cemetery Tours are really great!
For whatever reason, it seemed that our first night in Dublin was a low point in our trip. We found ourselves on a somewhat disappointing trip to downtown to eat at pub that turned out to be out of room, then ended the night with not being able to get onto to the bus, because we didn't have the right change in coins (coins, no cash! remember that if you are ever traveling on Dublin buses). We did eventually get coins, and eventually we found a bus, even though it was Sunday night and the schedule was reduced, and we had to stand out in the cold waiting for it... Anyway, Dublin got a lot better from there! ;-)
For one thing, we had a good little B&B as our base camp. It wasn't right in the downtown area, but it was fairly close and it worked well for us.
Row-houses on the street where we stayed.
The next day we visited the Guinness Storehouse. It was interesting to see how much money Guinness has put into making it a major tourist attraction.
The 9000-year lease which Arthur Guinness signed for his property.
This is an elaborate display to celebrate one of the major ingredients of beer--water! (No seriously...)
At the very top of the Storehouse is Gravity Bar with 360-degree views of the city and free pints. (None of us three are major fans of beer, but Amber and I worked to together to finish one.)
Looking down at the city.
Our next stop was Kilmainham Gaol. Kilmainham is a really significant site in Irish history and it is now a museum. It was definitely a worth-while place to visit!
Amber follows our tour through the jail.
Graffiti left in the prison by some of its occupants in the days when the Irish were rebelling against the British.
A cross marks one of the execution spots in the courtyard where some of the famous leaders of the 1916 Eater Uprising were killed.
That night we went to a pub near our B&B at the recommendation of our hostess. There was traditional, live music there that night. We definitely felt out of place, as the pub was mostly full of locals who were much older than us, but it was fun to watch a traditional music session.
The next day we went to Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells, a beautiful, ancient illuminated manuscript of the four gospels. I don't have any pictures of it, because you aren't allowed to take any. However, there is a very impressive library at Trinity College and you take pictures in there.
It's such a gorgeous room!
Books, books and more books!
Our last major stop in Dublin was Glasnevin Cemetery. I wouldn't normally think to visit a cemetery, but our B&B hostess was so insistent about how good the tours were there that we decided to go. It was really interesting! We had a really good tour guide who did a great job blending the history of Dublin into the stories she told about the cemetery.
This tower stands above the crypt of Daniel O'Connell, a famous Irish leader from the 1800s.
We didn't expect the tour to be as "hands-on" as it was. Not only did they take us inside Daniel O'Connell's crypt, but the tour guide invited us to reach through the holes in the covering over the casket to touch the casket for "good luck." Do they do this in the U.S.? It was interesting.
Our wonderful guide wrapping up the tour at the grave of another famous Irishman, Michael Collins.
The next day we rented a car and drove across the country to the cute little town of Dingle.