Touring Dublin… the start

I woke up this morning to the “knock, knock, knock” of the cleaning lady at my door.  As they say over here, I had a bit of a “lie in”.  It did me good.  Though I didn’t get out the door right away (checked email, surfed internet, etc.) I did get myself ready for the day.  I ate breakfast in my room (yoghurt, grapes, chocolate milk and hot tea) and then gathered all my dirty laundry and headed out to the laundrette to drop it off, though not before the cleaner knocked on my door again.

So after carrying a big garbage bag of dirty clothes a few blocks away, I walked down to the DART station to catch a train into town.  My previous description as a “high speed line” was not 100% accurate, it really feels like you’re strolling along at 20mph as opposed to flying at 50mph but it does get you into the city quickly.  One nice thing about it going so slow is the view; from the east side of the train you can see the coast line and watch the dogs running on the beach and boats out at sea; from the west side of the train you can see the city approaching (when there isn’t a wall built up to obstruct your view). 

Anyway, I took the DART in to Connolly Station and followed the flow of people out of the station and onto the street.  It didn’t take me too long to find my way to the O’Connell Bridge.  From here I started my “O’Connell Street Stroll” from the Rick Steve’s guidebook.  It was pretty cool to see all the statues on the median strip.  So many people of historical significance have been carved from stone and put on a platform for admiration.  A lot of the buildings were beautiful as well. 

After walking a bit, looking at statues, I walked down a side street and found the Moore Street Market.  So many vendors of produce… and the prices were very good.  The only negative thing is if the item is 10 of 2euro, you have to get ten.  So, I got 10 pink lady apples.  I ate 3 over the course of the time I was walking today and gave one to a lady sitting on the street asking for money.

At the end of O’Connell Street was the Garden of Remembrance.  Although I couldn’t get a good picture of the pool with the mosaic of Irish weapons, the overall effect was still beatiful.

Garden of Remembrance Statue

After leaving the Garden of Remembrance I headed back down O’Connell Street and made my way to the Ha’ Penny Bridge; it’s called that because it used to cost people half a penny to cross it.  Today it’s free.  It takes you into the Temple Bar area.  I walked through there and headed in the general direction of the Dublin Castle.  I went a bit past it and ended up at St Patrick’s Cathedral.  It was beautiful.  All the churches are beautiful; protestant or catholic. 

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Once I knew I was at St. Patrick’s Cathedral I knew what street I was on (did I mention the streets names are not always marked well?) and headed towards Christ Church Cathedral (even bigger than St. Patrick’s Cathedral) and Dublin Castle. 

I have to admit I was a bit disppointed with Dublin Castle.  I know I didn’t tour the inside, but the outside was not nearly as beautiful as the cathedrals or other churches I saw when walking through the city.  I will go on a tour (it’s included in my Heritage card I already paid for) so we’ll see if I change my mind, I haven’t been in any of the churches to see what they look like on the inside.

Around 3:30 I walked back to Connolly Station to get the DART (slow speed line:)) and go back to Dun Laoghaire.  I thought it was later than it was, but my body was tired from walking almost nonstop from about 10am until 3:30pm. 

Oh, I forgot to mention that near the Dublin Castle I visited the Chester Beatty Library.  This man donated all of his collections to Ireland after dying (he was also the first honorary citizen of Ireland) and a lot of them are on display in this library/museum.  Not only does he have books but he has lots of other things, like snuff bottles and some ancient clothing.  I really don’t know how he collected all of these things, some things he had are: papyrus writings of the Bible from about 200AD.  Can you believe it??  He has lots of Biblical documents as well as Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, and even Egyptian Heiroglyphics.  It was amazing to see; no picture though because cameras were forbidden. 

So anyway, I’m back in my hotel, and am going to go out for dinner having just freshened up.  We’ll see if I got back to the World Cafe or find someplace else.  I really liked the World Cafe when I went there yesterday; good food, good music, pleasant staff, good price.  What’s not to like?

More on Dublin tomorrow.  I think I’ll take the hopon/hopoff bus tour so I can go to the Guinness factory and the Kilmainham Gaol (among other things) plus the Dublin Zoo.  I know, I know… you can see animals anywhere, but I like the zoo so I think I’m going to go.

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