I had planned to write this yesterday, but circumstances conspired to prevent that. So, that’s the first thing to get done this morning1.
On my last day in Dublin, I was dragging my feet a little in the morning, and didn’t make it down to breakfast before 9:30, when they stopped serving. I’ve only had breakfast at Kilronan House twice in my week’s stay here, and once was very rushed so I just had cereal. The day I took my time, it was very nice, but the scheduling has just not worked out very well.
But I headed down to St. Stephen’s Green, planning to start the day with a ride on the Hop On Hop Off bus, seeing as my ticket from the day before was still good. I stopped at the Marks & Spencer’s on Grafton street to have a bacon roll and some juice, and then went and rode the bus tour right around the circuit.
Again, Dublin Castle had no tours running, due to the official suites being occupied. I could have gone on to the grounds, but I had done that last trip, and it was the interior I really wanted to see. So I waited until Christchurch Cathedral before getting off.
So, for an extra four euros, in addition to admission to Christchurch, you could get a tour of the bell tower and a chance to ring the bells. It meant more stairs2, but I really couldn’t pass up the chance. The stairs were narrow, low, irregular spirals, as usual.
Now, a little more than a year ago, the heart of the patron saint of Dublin, St. Laurence O’Toole, was stolen from the cathedral. I wanted to find out what had happened with that, so I asked at the information desk. The heart has not been recovered at this time, and the police haven’t made any progress on locating the thieves. Very unfortunate.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is just a few blocks down the hill from Christchurch, so I walked down there next.
I don’t have a good picture of the whole interior; the place was just too full of people for that.
After St. Patrick’s, I walked back up to Christchurch, took a left, and came to St. Audoen’s in a couple of blocks. I’d seen St. Audoen’s before, at night, on the Ghost Bus tour last trip. It’s the oldest continuously operating parish church in Dublin.
It was getting late in the afternoon by that point, so I made my way along the Liffey to the Brazen Head, where I was going to be attending a dinner with some storytelling and music. I got there early, so I had a drink in the oldest part of the oldest tavern in Dublin, drinking where Vikings drank in the 12th century. And, of course, my picture of that part didn’t turn out at all.
And then it was ten o’clock, and I made my way back to the B&B. Next morning, I wanted to get to the airport in good time, and spend an hour or so in the Aer Lingus business class lounge, doing up this post.
Well, it didn’t work out. After security, which was very busy and rather slow, I had to go through US Customs preclearance, which was even slower and busier. I made it through that, eventually, and then had to go through a second security screening – again, very busy and slow. At that point, I was nowhere near the business lounge, and there was only about forty minutes before my plane; this out of the three hours I had budgeted.
On the flight back, I sat beside a lovely woman named Joanne, who just happened to have written a paper on an important 16th century play back in 1975 or so. It was being staged for the first time in 450 years, and she had been invited by the university to attend, as her paper has for years been the definitive work on the subject. We had a great conversation covering history and politics and the women’s movement in the 60s and 70s and lots of other things. It was absolutely delightful.
And then I was in Chicago, and got sent to the wrong gate, and almost missed my plane back to Winnipeg. I was tired and frustrated and grumpy, having been up for about 22 hours straight, and I was very glad to make it home.
And that’s it for this trip. I’m already starting to think about the next one.
It’s not really first. I’ve already put laundry on, dealt with some e-mail, and gone out to busy some bread. But still. [↩]
86, they told me this time. I really don’t know what this obsession is with counting them. It only makes things worse. [↩]
Today was my last day in Dublin1, and tonight is my last night at Ariel House.
I can’t say enough good things about Ariel House – my room is comfortable, the bed is very nice, the breakfasts are wonderful2, they have a laundry service, and the DART station is a two-minute walk. Then it’s about a six-minute ride on the DART train to downtown Dublin, so even though it’s a little way out of the downtown area, it doesn’t cause a problem.
The best thing about Ariel House, though, is the people who work here. Everyone is amazingly friendly and helpful, ready to jump in to help with advice, recommendations, and help with making arrangements. It’s a wonderful place to stay, and I recommend it whole-heartedly.
Anyway, for my last day, I had nothing scheduled. This was the day I had set aside to catch up on the things that I had missed on the other tours. Of course, that’s impossible; there’s just too much stuff here in the city. Still, I had to give it a try.
First of all, I had to go take a closer look at the statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square.
My next stop was the National Museum of Ireland. There are actually three of these, and I went to the Anthropology and History.
On the way there, I passed by this little spot, just tucked in between a couple of buildings.
I took a lot of pictures. I mean, on the previous days, I took between twenty and forty pictures. Today, I took over a hundred and forty, and most of those were at the museum.
I’m not going to post them all here, though. I’ll just provide a sampling.
There are a lot more pictures from the museum, but those will do for now. I have to get the rest of them uploaded and sorted.
I headed down to O’Connell Street, next. I had walked it a little bit on Tuesday, but didn’t get the pictures I wanted, so I came back today to take them.
At this point, I pulled out my map and decided to go find St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which I hadn’t got a really good look at, yet. It was quite a wander, and I got lost a couple of times. On the way, I passed Christchurch Cathedral again, but from a different angle than I had seen before.
I found St. Patrick’s, right when the sky opened up and rained. I stayed there under my umbrella, and the rain stopped after about ten minutes, so I was able to get these pictures.
It was getting on in the afternoon, and it was a good long walk back to the DART station, so I headed back then. I went by way of Grafton Street, to try and get a few pictures there, and was well-rewarded.
And then I made it back to Ariel House.
Now, everything is packed, and I’m ready to head off to Cork – with a stop at Cashel – tomorrow morning.
I’m gonna miss Dublin.
Well, except for the overnight when I come down from Belfast to catch the plane back. But that doesn’t really count. [↩]
Confession time. I’ve only had porridge every morning, but it’s their Orchard Porridge, with apples, raisins, walnuts, and stuff. It’s more than enough to keep me going for the day, and it’s delicious. [↩]
I’m taking a bit of a breather between my walking tour this morning and the Ghost Bus tour tonight. I didn’t really take any downtime yesterday1, and it was quite late by the time I finished the post and got to bed, only to get up even earlier today for my walking tour.
So, rather than waste time, I figured I’d do a little work on the blog. Hey, it counts as rest: I’m not walking anywhere or carrying anything.
First, for those who saw the blog yesterday, I have fixed the pictures in yesterday’s post, and added a couple to previous posts. If you’re interested, make sure you go back and check those out.
So the walking tour this morning was to take in Viking and Medieval Dublin, with a finish at St. Michan’s Church to see the mummies in the crypts. Somehow, I got myself to the wrong tourist office for the start of the trip, but the nice folks there got me sorted out, and the tour guide came over to collect me at the start of the tour, which was great.
I’m pretty sure the tour covered about 600 miles2, and wove all through Dublin. There’s no way I can cover everything we saw, so I’m just going to put in some pictures of highlights:
When we got to St. Michan’s Church, I found out that I couldn’t take any pictures of the crypts or the mummies. This is perfectly understandable; these are the remains of real people, with real families, and this is a functioning church in an active parish. So, I can’t show you the inside of the crypts. Here are the entrances to the two we went in, though.
I did get to shake the hand3 of the Crusader4, one of the mummies, which is supposed to bring a year’s worth of good luck, so that’s something.
Then, it was a long walk back to O’Connell Street, where I found a fast-food place to have some lunch. I walked down O’Connell Street to find where I need to go tonight to catch the Ghost Bus Tour, and I also found Claddagh Records, a shop recommended by the guys on the Musical Pub Crawl. I went in to see what I could find, and the shopkeeper was very helpful. I picked up five CDs of traditional music that he says will probably never make it to North American distribution. So, win!
And then back to the hotel for the blog and a bit of a rest. I’m heading out to the Ghost Bus in about an hour. I’ll post about that when I get back.
This is a filthy lie. Still, I figure we walked about three miles, with another two or so at the end to get back to where I needed to be. [↩]
This is an exaggeration. They don’t let you shake his hand anymore, not after one of the fingers came off. But you can touch his hand, and I did. Felt like old, polished wood. The other two folks on the tour did not do so. I say that gives me their dose of luck, too. [↩]
As with the other mummies, the Nuns and the Thief, this is just the name they give the body, based on a little bit of detective work and some romantic wild-ass guessing. This was a big guy, buried nine hundred years ago, with his legs crossed, which marks him as a soldier. What big battles went on in the 11th and 12th centuries? The Crusades! So, he’s the Crusader, even though there is no evidence one way or the other to indicate he’d ever been to the holy land. [↩]