We started the day by boarding the bus at 9am and heading out with our city tour guide Kay. She was full of wonderful information as we toured the city. Did you know that while Dublin only has 1.4 million residents, it has the same number of taxi cabs as New York City. She pointed out major landmarks, statues, etc. that we could visit during our own time in the afternoon.
Our first stop was to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Kay gave us a quick walking tour pointing out the women’s chapel which had just been refurbished and the grave of author Jonathan Swift. We had a little time to walk around and take pictures.
Following St. Patrick’s, we drove back on the bus to Phoenix Park where we stopped to see a cross that was erected in 1979 in honor of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Ireland — the first by a Pope. It was on a big man-made hill that was built so the million plus attendees could see him. Ireland is 84% Catholic. The percentages use to be higher, but have dropped as others have immigrated to the country and kept their own religions.
We drove along the Liffey River which is the center of Dublin and pointed out the Guinness Beer and Jamison Whiskey factories. She also pointed out several galleries and museums, but most importantly to several folks the best places for shopping
The tour ended with us at Trinity College so we could see the Book of Kells. Unfortunately, you can’t take any photos there as the book is ancient and has to be cared for very carefully. It is beautifully illustrated and the writing is just amazing. Following that, we were on our own for the day. We stopped by a statue of Molly Malone (Tart with the Cart) and took pictures. Then, we headed out down Grafton Street and weaved our way through the shops. We stopped for lunch at a Japenese Bistro (I can hear the laughters now!). But, as I had already exceeded by courage ability, I headed to McDonald’s for some comfort food (now there is really laughter I imagine!). It was good and tasted just like home. Following lunch we walked over the river crossing at the Half Penny Bridge. It is the only pedestrian bridge over the river. We headed up to Henry street and did some more shopping and snacking. Time was running out, so we wandered back towards Trinity College to meet the group and head to dinner.
Dinner was at Taylor’s and it was frankly just okay. Beef Guinness stew was the main course. The desert was some sort of apple pie, but that didn’t taste very good. Overall we weren’t impressed. But, we pressed on. We came out to find we had a new bus. Not sure why, but this one is bigger and the air works better. So, we’ll take it. Our bus driver, Tom, had been kind enough to move all of our stuff for us while we were eating.
We headed back to the hotel and then packed up for tomorrow. Mostly so we’d have that done as about 9:30pm, we headed out to the bar scene on a Friday night in Dublin. The Temple Bar district seems to be where the most excitement is, so that was our destination. We were all glad to say we went, but we quickly figured out that wasn’t probably the best place for us since most of us are past are 20s. So, we found another bar not too far called Half-Penny Bridge Bar where they had some great local music. We stayed for a while, but the temperatures got the better of us. So, off we headed to Madigan’s, again. We listened to some great music and had some wonderful conversations. We had a great time. After we closed down the pub, we got some food and then headed back to the hotel. It was a late night, but so much fun!
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