Ahhhhh, Dublin! She is indeed, a “Dirty Old Town.” But a wonderful, vibrant, sometimes beautiful, sometimes a little homely, but always welcoming and willing to share her vast history with the world. Dublin, a city of well over a million residents. Sitting next to the Irish Sea, the River Liffey divides her into the Northside and the Southside. The North has historically been the working class neighborhood, while the South houses the middle and wealthier folks. First settled by the Vikings, the city has been around awhile, at least since about 890 AD.
She is a city of contrasts. Dublin has high unemployment and very poor residents, but it also has thriving businesses and its fair share of the very wealthy. Like the rest of Ireland, there is no real industry and tourism is the major attraction. And trust me, Dublin does tourism splendidly!
I fell in love with Dublin. Maybe because growing up in the Northeast USA, I am used to and comfortable with old cities that are ripe with history and architecture, stately homes and areas of dignified poverty. And Dublin has all that and more. Being the Capital of Ireland, there are Government buildings, Universities, Museums and grand old Cathedrals. Dublin has survived terrible tragedies and stood the test of time. She will continue to stand proud and that says a lot about the strength and determination of the Irish people.
Bustling O’Connell Street where the Federal Offices are located. Statues of Irish heroes and monuments to the “struggles” are found here.
The General Post Office or GPO. The scene of the infamous Easter Uprising of 1916, which started the long road to Irish independence in 1921. 14 men died as heroes. The 100th anniversary of the Uprising was celebrated this Easter Sunday.
The statue of Daniel O’Connell stands at the foot of O’Connell Street. Known as The Irish Liberator, he lived from 1775-1847. A Lawyer, he negotiated many liberties for the Irish including Catholic Emancipation and the right for Catholics to sit in the very British Parliament.
Stately old St. Patrick’s Cathedral. A beautiful piece of Irish history. Peaceful gardens and a lovely fountain.
Modern Ireland and it’s new ultra slick Convention Center. Located right across the River Liffey from our Hotel. The window washers danging on ropes made my heart pound! Never in a million years could I do that job!
Speaking of the River Liffey which opens to the Port of Dublin, there you’ll find fishing boats of all sorts and cargo ships hovering at the mouth. Wonderful brick and cement promenades line both sides of the river.
Graceful imaginative new bridges cross the Liffey.
But the Liffey also pays homage to its past. This is a reconstruction of a Famine Ship. A reminder of past injustices.
This very graphic memorial to perhaps the darkest period in the history of Ireland. The 1847 Famine or “The Great Hunger.” A million starved to death. A million were forced to leave all the while the British were exporting food. Yes, that’s right, “EXPORTING!” But the Irish were left to starve.
Ireland did survive and today there is no famine, but memories are long. Today, there are street Markets full of fruits and vegetables that vendors are more than happy to sell you.
A wee bit of Irish Humor outside the thriving Meat Market!
A cheery bright canopy helps draw customers to the meat market.
Dan and I love getting out and meeting the people and seeing ordinary every day sights on our trips. It gives us a feel for how life really is and adds an extra element of enjoyment. Visiting designated tourist sights is just fine and we certainly did enough of that, but mingling with the locals is just plain old fun!
Wandering around we found this grand old produce warehouse. Beautiful building still working hard. Definitely not something on the tourist map!
We meandered around many different neighborhoods, including the down but not out, old poor row houses.
This working class neighborhood where individuality is shown by the different colors the row houses are painted.
The stately and somewhat elegant old Georgian row houses with their brightly painted doors and beautiful fan lights. “Georgian” because they were built in the time of King George.
This Georgian row house also had a light over the entryway. Back in the day, it was a Gas Light. I wished I could have peeked inside!
The hike to the old Jameson Whiskey manufacturer was a long one, but it sure was a good time! It’s a grand building that provides a great tour including a whiskey tasting at the end of the tour. Always included in these tours is a large dose of Irish humor!
Neither of us drink hard liquor but seeing how whiskey is made was fascinating. This is a model of how it was distilled in years past. Today, Jameson is manufactured in a huge facility in the city of Midleton.
Yesiree by George, we tasted! Thought the top of my head was going to blow off. Yes, it was sweet, smooth and delicious, but wowza, it is some strong hooch!
At Jameson, Dan was given the opportunity to purchase his very own bottle of extra special reserve Irish Whiskey. They even put a label with your name on the bottle. Dan, who will never drink this stuff, bought a bottle to put in his man cave back in Washington.
It was a good time and has been since 1780!
We visited St. Stephen’s Green. A gated park in Dublin that had this statue of Irish playwright and novelist, Oscar Wilde. Famous for such writings as The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest. The statue is particularly interesting because the colors are all made from different minerals and are integrated in the stone. It is not painted! The detail of the shoes and socks are awesome.
No tour of Dublin is complete without a visit to Trinity College and The Book of Kells. This giant Oak and its brothers are planted on the marshy square because they absorb a tremendous amount of water that would otherwise leave the land a swamp. Oh, the things one learns. LOL!
The energy of serious scholars is palpable at Trinity.
But we are there to view the Book of Kells. This ancient illuminated manuscript depicting the four Gospels telling of the life of Christ is simply magnificent. Written and painstakingly painted in glorious colorful detail, it is considered the most important treasure of Ireland. Imagine yourself as a Monk in the 800’s, sitting in a beehive shaped tiny building with perhaps a single candle and spending your life making this book.
Walking through the old library at Trinity was truly incredible. Thousands of books. Many awaiting restoration. This library attracts researchers and historians from around the world.
I hope my brain sucked in some tiny bit of intelligence while visiting Trinity College but I may be beyond hope!
I can’t leave Dublin without one last little bit of fun. You simply can’t go to Dublin and not visit a pub or two! The Ferryman is located right on the River Liffey. Before all the bridges crossing the river were built, men were transported to work using ferry boats. They took their noon meals and a pint after work at the local Pub. The Ferryman Pub took its name from the Ferry’s crossing the river. Dan and I had our first meal and our first pint of Guinness in Ireland at this Pub. We enjoyed wonderful roast beef and gravy in a real traditional old as dirt Pub!
Thanks for coming along with me on my trip to Dublin! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoy sharing my journeys with you my friends. Wherever your journey takes you today, I wish you the eyes of a child!
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