This two week trip passed so quickly. When I made my plane reservation, many months ago, I decided to take advantage of a 25 hour layover so I could pass some time in Dublin. I am so happy I did! From the moment I landed I knew it was the right decision. The weather was perfect- sunny, warm, a gentle breeze… the cabbies were friendly, efficient, and informative. They shared some of the history of the country, details on landmarks and advice on places to see to get a true “vibe” of the city as well as places to go eat. I walked over 7 miles during my short visit, miles well spent.
I have always been fascinated by castles, churches and cathedrals. The architecture never ceases to inspire or amaze. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to participate in the guided tours of anything, as it was Saturday and most places closed by 6pm, so I did “self guided” tours at three churches. Luckily, most places were within reasonable proximity to one another, so I was able to get a decent number of stops visited.
The Castle of Dublin, built in 1204, was my first stop. The private chapel was beautiful. The majestic towers add strength to the castle. Nest stop was Christ Church which dates back to 1038. The visit to the crypt was my favorite part…so many relics! The newest acquisition being part of the Magna Carta. You can see clothing worn by royalty and nobles dating back centuries. St. Patrick’s Cathedral- built in 1192- was my 3rd stop. The mosaics were so beautiful. This cathedral has undergone several renovations, the last being in the 1860’s when Sir Benjamin Guinness extended a generous amount of money to the cathedral. The famous author, Jonathan Swift is buried here.
I took a short break to try my first Irish food- fisn ‘n chips and a beer! There is a little restaurant across the street from Christ Church- a great find. The fish was delicious and the beer quite tasty…coming from a wine drinker, that is a compliment! I finished my lunch then headed to the area around the famous Guinness Brewery. Unfortunately, the line was too long, I settled for simply walking around the buildings. I hopped into a horse-drawn carriage to return to the neighborhood known as the Viking/ Medieval area. Here I visited St. Audden’s , a 12th century church. Simple, beautiful, and showing recent finds from an archeological dig. The contrast from the great cathedrals to this simple church were numerous, but it was still a lovely, peaceful place where one could meditate and reflect.
Time for another brief repose- a quick glass of Irish cider at a pub in the Temple Bar area. Met a couple of friendly locals. Couldn’t stay too long because I wan’t to take advantage of the sunlight, so I headed out once more. It was now time to just stroll along the river front. I spent about 30 minutes walking, taking in the sites and sounds. I love the Gaelic-no idea as to what was being said, but it was pretty to listen to. You can’t go sightseeing without buying a few souvenirs. Irish porcelain were my choices. Lastly, dinner- but where to go? I think I walked up and down every street in the Temple Bar area, reading the menus and listening to the music coming from within. I was happy I chose the Old Storehouse. Great bangors and mash, another delicious, refreshing beer, and lively music coming from a trio of gentlemen who clearly know how to draw in their audience. A fabulous ending to a magnificent day. I need to return to Dublin and explore when I have more time. Will definitely go on the “places to visit” list.