Monday, September 7, 2015

Vagabond 12-day Giant Irish Adventure- Dublin before the tour

I can't say enough good things about this tour company and our fantastic guide, Dee, whose knowledge and enthusiasm made this the best experience we could have imagined. You can imagine it yourself as you browse the photos. There will be about 12 separate posts to follow.

We arrived in Dublin 2 days before our tour began, so this post is about our walking tour of Dublin. 

Sunrise just before arriving at Dublin airport:
Our first glimpse of the green fields of Ireland from the plane.
We stayed at the Grand Canal Hotel, and after settling in, we set out on a stroll along the canal. The canal has a series of bridges and locks, 
as well as a paved walking/bicycling path alongside.
There are ducks waiting for handouts, and sculptures to admire. 
We noticed the rooflines and chimneys of the Georgian townhouses, as well as the ornate lampposts.
We admired the colorful doors, a practice begun in order for residents to set themselves apart from their neighbors. 
 Bridges have names and dates...this is Macartney Bridge, 1791.
The sculpture is of Patrick Kavanaugh, an Irish poet and novelist. Of the canal, he wrote, "Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal Pouring redemption for me." Note the canal boat which offers dinner cruises.
 There are many other ways besides walking to tour Dublin...

We passed Embassy Row...many large buildings housing foreign embassy offices.
More Georgian Townhouses with their ornate entrances. 
I liked the ivy-covered walls. 
Some dubious wiring has been added to light up these old storefronts. 
The Irish Pubs are all well-decorated.
This is for my friend, Nan, who enjoys tracing her DuBose family Huguenot roots.
I didn't see the DuBose name on any of the stones within however.
And we thought Nan would like the Viking hats on this tour of Dublin too.
We stopped for a healthy lunch here...
Across the street we found St. Stephen's Green, one of many public green spaces in Dublin...this one established in 1877.
Places to walk or sit awhile, water features, playgrounds and art. 
This sculpture recalls the years of famine.
We saw some evidence of homelessness. The next morning we walked by two homeless people swaddled in their sleeping bags in a doorway in the pouring rain. But these were the only instances we encountered.
 Beautiful gnarly old trees in the park.
Little fairy hiding places. 
This sculpture was given to the park from Germany with gratitude for the help given to German children by the Irish people after World War II.
Beautiful landscaping 
Another famous writer from Dublin is honored here. James Joyce wrote about St. Stephen's Green..."Crossing Stephen's, that is my green..." 
More scenes from the green...
Feeding the birds... 
 A lady offered to take a picture of Tina and me...the picture looks a little washed out...sort of like me.

An art show outside the park.
Horse and carriages await customers here. 
Street on the video.
Glass and reflections...old and new.
 More Dublin street views...
I love the way the buildings curve with the street. 

St. Patrick's Cathedral and Park 
Tina is looking over tributes to famous writers who got their start in Dublin. 

Many well-known names are represented here...Wm Yeats, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, G.B. Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift...
Crocheted Tree cozies... 
 Landscaping at St. Patrick's Park
Some views inside the Cathedral. 
Several people are entombed inside the Cathedral.

The Pulpit
 Some smaller homes on a side street.
 Tina consults the map we were given.
This friendly local gentleman warned us about an approaching storm front, so we hustled back to the hotel along the canal.
A nice place to kayak. 
Latouche Bridge, 1791. 

 Another local author who lived along the canal.

I can see how this town would inspire writers and artists. 
The man was right about the storm front. It arrived overnight and rained all day Sunday. Even Spiderman? couldn't avoid getting wet.
By the time we walked to Trinity College campus we were soaked...rain pants would have been a good idea to pack.
We had planned to see the the Book of Kells, a manuscript dating from 650 AD on exhibition here, but it was Alumni weekend and the lines were too long outside in the rain.
So we decided to take a tour on the hop-on, hop-off bus from the city centre.
We hopped on this one.
The best views were from the upper deck which didn't keep us any dryer, but at least we got places faster.
We hopped off at Dublin Castle.
We were there too early for the tour, but we walked around and took pictures of the outside and would come back later for a tour.  The Chapel Royal on the left replaced an earlier church in 1814. It served as the King's Chapel in Ireland, as well as the Viceroy and his household and officials. The tower is an original Norman tower, circa 1226 AD. It now houses a Garda (police) museum. Entrance to the Castle Courtyard is through the arches.
The Courtyard
The centerpiece of the north side is Bedford Tower, 1761. In 1907 the Irish "Crown Jewels" were stolen from the ground-floor library of the then Office of Arms. It is still a mystery what became of them.
Corke Hill Gate. Three of the first fatalities of the 1916 Rising occurred at this gate as Constables tried to slam the gate shut on an advancing rebel troop of Citizen Army fighters. 
We walked from there to Christ Church, but didn't go inside.
Instead we hopped back on the bus to finish the tour around Dublin and dry off. There is a stop at the Guinness Factory which covers several acres. We kept riding.
The bus took us alongside the  River Liffey and its many bridges. I liked the art on this building.
The famous Ha'penny Bridge, so named because a toll was once charged to use this pedestrian bridge. Built in 1816.
Another colorful building.
It was still raining hard.
Time to warm up with a cup of tea.
And seafood chowder...some of the best we tried in Ireland... mussels, scallops, prawns and more.
The rain doesn't seem to stop the Irish from singing. Click on the short video.
We hopped back on the bus to go tour Dublin Castle. More vine-covered houses:

The author of Dracula worked in this building from 1866-1878 in the Registrar of Petty Sessions Clerks. The Castle tour begins under the building where archeologists have uncovered remains of the original Viking fortified settlement. 
A drawing of the Medieval Town circa 1275.
This Powder Tower formed one corner of the Castle Wall.
This diagram shows the location of the Powder Tower and Castle Wall that have been uncovered. Under the "C" you can see a narrow entrance into the Castle.

Drawing showing the round tower and narrow entrance to the Castle from the Moat. The door opened out and could knock an enemy from the stairs when opened.

The narrow entrance to the Castle.
This is a section of the City Wall leading from the other side of the Powder Tower. Note that there is still water in the Moat. 
Next we visited the inside of the Royal Chapel.

And finally the Castle itself: In 1204, King John ordered the Castle built and it became the seat of the United Kingdom's administration in Ireland until 1922 after the ending of the Irish War for Independence. Waterford Crystal chandeliers light the State Corridor which leads the way to the Viceroy's private apartments. Over the years, Kings, Queens, Princes, Princesses, Presidents, and Prime Ministers have walked this elegant hallway.
Inside the Viceroy's residence...

Constructed in 1747, St. Patrick's Hall is the most important ceremonial room in Ireland. Once used to bestow Knighthood under the chivalric order of St. Francis, today it is used for the most important State events. Every one of Ireland's presidents has been sworn into office under the Irish tricolor flag.
St. Patrick's Hall
After that we walked back to the hotel to rest up for our tour the next day. Fortunately that was the only completely rainy day while we were in Ireland. We had a short shower most days, but then the sun came out for most of our activities.


  1. Wow, great post. So much to see! Looking forward to future posts. Loved the colorful doors, vine covered buildings. Beautiful buildings

  2. WOW! Such beautiful photos! I want to visit sit there some day. My mom's maiden name was Doyle.


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