February 10, 2016

A Day in Dublin: Part 2 - Exploring the City

After our day-long trek to Dublin from Birmingham, we finally got settled into our room at Ariel House Bed & Breakfast.  It is a quaint but stunning Victorian home, offering the most delectable afternoon treats and gourmet breakfasts. Truly, my photos don't do them any justice.

*Note: This post is mostly photos of our exploration around the city. Be sure to catch the captions underneath the photos! :)






My mom and I set out to try to find our way toward city centre because we wanted to experience as much of Dublin as possible... plus we needed to eat dinner at some point. We walked a bit to where there was supposed to be a stop for a new tourist bus line. Let it suffice to say that not only did we not find that bus line, but we couldn't even figure out how to catch the regular city buses when we eventually settled for that. It's a good thing we were both okay with walking!


Where we were supposed to catch the first bus... ahem.

None of the locals could tell us what was going on when it came to the busses, so good luck to the tourists!

Flowers. Flowers everywhere!


Autumn creeping its way into Dublin at the beginning of September. Totally okay by my books.







This 5 Euro note was given to us by Paul and Kim, sweet sweet friends in our community group back home. I used it to buy a can of coke - a taste of home!


Can't go wrong with a pint of cider on a beautiful evening in Dublin.


I had no idea how much I would eventually miss blue skies at that point, but I was loving it nonetheless!





We eventually made our way back to our B&B; we took turns getting ready for bed while I set out to plan our adventures for the following morning. I had a tourist map, iMaps, and a fine-tipped Sharpie pen to help me in my quest for the most fulfilling and time-efficient itinerary. We had to catch our ferry back to the mainland the next afternoon, so the morning was to be packed to the brim with the sights of Dublin.

While my mom was showering, I got a flood of text messages from Patrick and our to-be roommates. To make an extremely long story short, the apartment we had secured (and knew wouldn't be ready until the following week) was going to take several more weeks at least to become available; we all basically decided to keep that option open while we looked for something else that was available sooner. Essentially, we no longer had set plans or a place to live. I was absolutely crushed. While I tried my very best to keep it together, my mom eventually realized something was up and pried it out of me. It didn't help that I was so far away from Patrick when this came to a head, but that couldn't be helped. 

Let's just say that a lot of tears were shed and my night's sleep was horrendous because of it. Talk about a blow during an extremely short vacation!

At least I had breakfast and a morning full of wonderful sightseeing with my mom to look forward to. Those definitely helped to get my mind off the crappy situation.

THIS was the plan:
8:00 am - Breakfast. And coffee. Lots of coffee.
8:30 am - Take a train into city centre; get off at Pearse Station (near Oscar Wilde's house). Walk to Trinity College.
9:00 am - Trinity College (1592 AD): the Book of Kells and the Long Room Library.
10:00 am - Dublin Castle (1204 AD)
10:45 am - Christ Church Cathedral (1030 AD)
11:15 am - Saint Patrick's Cathedral (1192 AD)
12:00 pm - Bus/Taxi to hotel. Make our way to the ferry station.

Some of that time was to account for all of the walking we had to do. Things went well and mostly according to plan. We were exhausted and took our time at breakfast, so we left a little later than we had hoped. No big deal. We took plenty of time at Trinity College (you'll see why); Dublin Castle didn't take as long as we had expected (we didn't go in); we didn't go into either cathedral (the lines were crazy long!). We must have taken an extra long time at Trinity College because we still ran a smidgen behind schedule despite our decision not to enter the castle or the cathedrals.


Breakfast at Ariel House

Breakfast at Ariel House

Breakfast at Ariel House

Breakfast at Ariel House - SO good! Again, photos don't do it a bit of justice. I was trying to take them discreetly and quickly. I didn't want to be rude and I wanted to eat!

Stunning Dublin architecture... and those doors!


The above photo sums up Dublin for me: absolutely gorgeous architecture in a city that is clearly filled to the brim with history, but a bit rough around the edges. It's evident that there have been some rough economic times and, with any major city, there's a lot of dirt and garbage to accompany its less-maintained attractions.

Walking to our destination alongside Saint Stephen's Green.


Alright, folks. If you ever go to Dublin, you must include Trinity College on your destination list. The exhibit for the Book of Kells is extremely well-done. They don't allow you to take any photos of the actual book, but trust me when I say that it is worth it just to see this magnificent work and how it was crafted. Seriously, it was so neat to see how they made "paper" and colorful ink so long ago!

(If you don't know anything about the Book of Kells, here's the Wikipedia page - which would never be a credible source if you were writing an academic paper on the subject. Sorry, the English teacher in me just had to throw that out there.)

After you finish the exhibit, you are immediately guided into the Long Room Library. Oh. My. Heck. Lord, have mercy on me, but I swear to you that room is what heaven will smell like. As soon as we entered, my jaw dropped, goosebumps covered my arms, and I couldn't stop breathing in every sight, sound, and smell this magnificent room had to offer. I took a video of it, but I was so overcome with pure joy that the video and all of my pictures from that day are utterly terrible. Nonetheless, I love them just the same. I wish someone could have recorded my reaction as I walked in - I'm sure that the term stupefied is a completely accurate description. What a place.


The Book of Kells at Trinity College! We made it!


I was terrible and snuck a picture inside the exhibit. This was just of the external part of the exhibit, not actually in the room containing the Book of Kells. I would never break the rules that much.



The Long Room Library

The Long Room Library

THE staircase at The Long Room Library! It doesn't get much better than this.

Why, hello Socrates.

Oh, nice to see you as well, William Shakespeare!

Even the ceiling is captivating.







I had to at least get one picture of myself in this stunning place!

Trinity College houses the oldest Celtic harp in Ireland, dating back to the 15th century. It's such a major symbol for the culture and the country that it is also the inspiration for the Guinness logo!




Seriously, I didn't want to leave that place. Alas, the clock was ticking and we had to press on! As we left the gift shop, we made our way toward our next destination; however, as we were walking across the courtyard, we heard bagpipes. Of course we heard bagpipes. My mom and I, barring all shame, literally ran toward that glorious sound and stumbled upon some sort of war memorial ceremony. To say that it was beautiful or a neat experience is an complete understatement.

While we only caught the tail end of the march, we watched enough of it to be impacted by the men dressed in their uniforms and medals. If you watch the video below closely enough, you can see my mom was overcome with emotion. Part of that has to do with the fact that this trip was in memory of her mother, but there was also one man who had a chest covered in medals - oh, the stories he must have. The sacrifices they must have given.

After that was over and we had regained our sensibilities, we made our way toward the remainder of our destinations.








Molly Malone statue 

Molly Malone statue in front of Saint Andrew's Church

Saint Andrew's Church

Saint Andrew's Church

Saint Andrew's Church

Saint Andrew's Church

Saint Andrew's Church




Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle - this is one of my favorites!





Christ Church Cathedral (built in 1030!)

Graffiti on what has to be the oldest and one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever seen. It makes me sick!

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

There were tons of these little markers in the road, all with different images and symbols.

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

The building on the left is Dublinia. We didn't go there, but it looks neat!

Saint Patrick's Cathedral (built in 1192!)





Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Across the road from Saint Patrick's Cathedral







Despite not having a ton of time to go through the city with a fine-toothed comb (although I'm not sure I'd want to do that anyway), we felt like we definitely made the most of the few hours we had there to explore! 

After we left Saint Patrick's, we wandered around the city for a little while in order to try to see a few more sights and do a bit of souvenir shopping. The plan was to catch a cab when we happened upon one as we were meandering. That proved to be a bit of a challenging task, but that's because we were supposed to have a very particular cab driver - and I'll never forget him.

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