In Dublin’s Fair City

This post is a day late. By the time I got back to the flat last night, I was tired and went to bed almost immediately, because I had to get up early today for a tour.

Yesterday, I was kind of lazy in the morning, doing some laundry1, and generally taking it easy. I left around 11:00, and went for a walk.

My first destination was the Molly Malone statue. That’s where I had to meet my tour this morning, and the statue wasn’t where it was five years ago. But I found it.

After that, it was a short walk over to Grafton Street, grabbed some food, and headed down to St. Stephen’s Green.

I think it was a bank holiday yesterday, and the weather was perfect, so the park was very, very full of people. It was a lovely day.

After lunch, I headed over to Dublin Castle. I’ve been there before, but what with one thing and another, I never got a chance to take the tour. This time, I changed that.

Because it was such a beautiful bank holiday Monday, this place was also packed, and I had an hour’s wait before I could get in on a guided tour.

I spent the hour sitting in the courtyard. This clock tower is where the drawbridge used to be when the castle was an actual castle and had a moat. It also used to house the crown jewels, but they were stolen in 1907, and haven’t been recovered.
One the coolest parts of the tour is going down into the remains of the medieval castle structure. This is the base of the Powder Tower, which was destroyed in a fire in the 17th century. They actually detonated some of the powder stored here to destroy the tower and extinguish the fire.
This is a section of the surviving castle wall, also down below the ground level. Down at the bottom is the remains of the River Poddle, which was diverted in the middle ages to act as a moat to the castle, and eventually was completely covered over.

We went across to the Chapel Royal, as well. I’ve got some pictures of that over here, but I learned something kind of interesting.

Okay. The lofts around the Chapel Royal have all the crests of the Viceroys of Ireland, along with the dates they started their terms of office. But, see, the Bishop can’t sit behind a political crest, so they put St. Patrick’s crest up in front of the Bishop’s Seat. And (this is the part that amuses me) they put the date that St. Patrick began his mission to Ireland – 432.

From the Chapel Royal, we went over to the rooms of state at the castle. Again, very busy, very crowded. I managed to get only one picture that didn’t have a bunch of other tourists in it.

This is the drawing room. It gives you an idea of the sumptuous decor of the rest of the rooms of state. The administration rooms aren’t nearly as opulent.

After the tour, I walked back to the flat, and had to leave again in about 45 minutes to get to the Irish House Party. This was a really nice2 evening that involved a good dinner and an evening of traditional Irish music and dance. I met a very nice family from Missouri, got a copy of the band’s CD, and made it home around 11:00, where I posted my excuse for no post, and went to bed.

  1. I love having a washing machine in this AirBnB flat. And that’s a pretty good clue that I am old and boring. []
  2. If a little touristy. []

Dublin Walking Tour

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:

This is the old House of Lords, preserved in the old Parliament building, which is now owned by the Bank of Ireland.
One of the narrow cobbled streets in Temple Bar.
One of the gates into Dublin Castle.
Clock Tower in the main square of Dublin Castle.
The Dublin Castle green. The brick paths make a celtic knot design inspired by swimming river eels. The building is the Coach House, a fake wall and house erected so that Queen Victoria would not have to look out on the city itself.
This tower is the only surviving part of the original castle, built by King John.
The organ loft in the Chapel Royal of Dublin Castle.
Statue of Daniel O’Connell and historical friezes in Dublin City Hall.
Christchurch Cathedral


The Brazen Head, said to be the oldest pub in Dublin. We didn’t stop to look at it, but when I saw it, I needed to take a picture, because of the legend of how it got its name.
A section of the original city wall, with one of the original gates. Opened onto Cook Street, where cooking was done, because of laws against open fires within the city walls.

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.

The entrance to the crypt with the mummies. It is even more difficult to get through and down the stairs than it looks.
A look down into the other crypt. Notice how you can’t see the stairs – that’s because they are too steep and treacherous, and the tunnel is too low. Fun!

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.

  1. Aside from my slow start, that is. []
  2. 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. []
  3. 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. []
  4. 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. []