WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO???
Wednesday, September 4th in Dublin
So you’ve got a week in the biggest city of the country you’ve been dreaming of visiting your entire life… do you plan? Do you wing it? What do to, what to do?
National Concert Hall Dublin
So the rest… our “must dos” were things like see the GPO and explore the Easter Rising of 1916, visit Trinity College and see the Book of Kells, see the history of Dublin and Ireland through the museums, eat great food (we’re both big “foodies”), experience the Irish traditional music scene, travel to the places close by that we could once we got the rental car (we got that on Saturday before we went up to Belfast, so the day of our last night in Dublin so we could go south before heading to Northern Ireland), and really, just do whatever struck us in Dublin.
September 4th in Dublin
Martin’s flat is right by the Garden of Remembrance – monument to all those who died for Irish freedom. This was our first “official” sightseeing stop as having breakfast the day before by the GPO was dumb luck, and it wasn’t open. Then it was over to Queen of Tarts on Martin’s recommendation for a great Irish breakfast… I was so hungry that there apparently wasn’t time to get a pic of the breakfast before I wolfed it down. 😉
Breakfast gone before it could be photographed
Garden of Remembrance
First thing, we got our Heritage Pass and a green tour bus pass, there are busses aimed just for tourists wanting to get around the city that were perfect for us – so we were well informed in being told don’t bother with a car rental in Dublin. There was a green bus and a red bus, we picked green – Dublin Bus Tours – and bought 2 three-day passes. The routes run literally all over the city and you can hop on or off at any stop, at any time. And the drivers were awesome, some of the friendliest people around and one even sang – they narrate the tours as they drive around the city so you can always learn something.
Dublin Bus Tours route – make getting around so easy and affordable
We dove right in and headed to Dublin Castle, the center of British power during its unfortunate rule of Ireland. The pic below is from the great scene in the movie Michael Collins when Liam Neeson basically gave the British commander a nice “F you” after being scolded for being late to the transfer of power ceremony to the Irish Free State government. Next up, Trinity College for the Book of Kells exhibit – no pics allowed so I added some stock photos. The Trinity tour was fun too, very interesting and our guide, a trinity scholar (student) definitely had the legendary Irish “gift of gab!” I added some pics of Trinity, including the impressive library.
Courtyard at Dublin Castle
Then it was off to some hard core history lessons at Kilmainham Gaol – Kilmainham Jail, where the heroes of the 1916 Easter Rising were jailed. The 7 signatories of the Proclamation along with 7 other leaders of the Rising were housed and executed at Kilmainham Gaol. The tour was excellent, it included a guided tour along with exhibits to explore on your own. Standing in the courtyard where 14 were shot was a haunting experience… they knew they’d lose and die, but their deaths awakened the Irish people and led to the War of Independence. You might recognize the main housing of the jail pic below from the movie In the Name of the Father or Michael Collins – Kilmainham is a popular place to use for movies. Below is the courtyard the leaders were executed in, a cell one of the spent his last days in and some misc. pics from Kilmainham Gaol.
Kilmainham Gaol interior
Prison yard where the leaders of the Rising were executed
Martyrs of the 1916 Easter Rising
That may not seem like much for day 1 but getting started with Heritage and bus passes and then nearly half a day at Trinity and heading all the way out to Kilmainham (see the map and you’ll see Kilmainham is at the far end of the bus line) and that was a whole day. We headed back to the city and met Martin for a great dinner at a cafeteria type place.
History, culture, the Book of Kells, the Easter Rising plus some amazing food – it was a great first day and a great start to an amazing vacation!
By the way, this blog is partially sponsored by my buddy Rob at Carpet Savers in Beaverton, OR … he thought my pics were cool and encouraged me to get this blog up and running. He’s watching this blog to see how the trip unfolded. Please hit him up if you need quality carpet cleaning anywhere around Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Vancouver or beyond.
Ps. You might note that a lot of the signage in Ireland is both in English and Irish – very cool! 🙂
Up next – DAY 3 IN DUBLIN