Day 9: Monday – Dublin: The land of the failed
We arrive in Dublin and are yet to open the door of our room at the lovely Kinlay House when we are approached by the offer of a free tour. Well, I like ‘free’ stuff and Michael likes tours so of course we said yes. Ten minutes later, we’re on a walking tour of the town that represents (and I quote) the ‘country that failed everything’. Oh, except fun and beer and stuff…more on that later!
First stop, Dublin Castle. A pretty castle, famous for being the site of the theft of the Irish Crown Jewels (amongst other things). Naturally, for me and where I work, I was interested to see the statue of the Lady Justice proudly displayed in the castle courtyard.
Locals are proud of the fact that their castle may well be the only one made out of lego. I say it’s a stretch to think of it quite like that, however if you look at the side of the castle, one can definitely see the colourful ‘blocks’ at play. A bit further down (just past the lego blocks really) are Dublin’s medieval walls. Not really that exciting but at least they are there. Not like the viking remains down the road that were dug up and destroyed in order to make a nice grass lawn…
We then trundled off to see the Christ Church Cathedral (below), the site of the largest cathedral crypt in Britain and, more importantly, the mummified ‘cat and mouse’ that were found one day in the pipe organ. Apparently the cat chased the mouse into a space where the cat couldn’t fit. The cat got stuck and died. The mouse couldn’t get out. It also died. They were found some time later and mummified.
We crossed the River Liffy twice, once on the Liffy Bridge (below left) and once on the O’Connell Bridge (below right). The Liffy Bridge, more famously known as the Ha’penny Bridge is so-named because it once cost a Ha’penny to cross. The ferry company owner at the time was told his fleet was poorly maintained and was given the option to fix the ferries or build a bridge. Naturally, he built a bridge. In contrast, the O’Connell Bridge is a vehicular bridge. Not much can be said about the bridge itself, but on one end of the bridge is a plaque to Father Pat Noise. The plaque pays tribute to Father Pat Noise who ‘died under suspicious circumstances when his carriage plunged into the Liffey on August 10 1919. Not really that cool, except that there never was a Father Pat Noise. Nonetheless, the plaque still stands.
Next stop was Trinity College. A gorgeous college; the library holds the Book of Kells. The structure shown below is the Campanile. Tradition suggests that if the bell rings whilst a student is walking under it, the student will fail their annual examinations. Needless to say, some students still never walk underneath the Campanile. Furthermore, according to local legend, there is still a rule that states that if you can climb the Campanile to the top without being shot by an arrow from the lecturers, you will automatically pass your subject. I’m not sure whether I’m willing to tempt fate on this one either.
The final stop of the tour was St Stephen’s Green, where I was lucky enough to gain good luck from William Theobald Wolfe Tone, often described as the father of Irish republican. As you can see, good luck is rather interestingly obtained…
After the walking tour and a superb pub lunch, we spent the rest of the day touring the Guinness Brewery. Leased for 9,000 years in 1759 by Arthur Guinness at £45 per year, St. James’s Gate has been the home of Guinness ever since.
Interesting fact No 1: Guinness Stout is brewed under licence internationally in several countries including Nigeria, the Bahamas, Canada, and Indonesia. The unfermented but hopped Guinness wort extract is shipped from Dublin and blended with beer brewed locally.
Interesting fact No 2: About 40% of worldwide total Guinness volume is brewed and sold in Africa.
The images below show Michael and I at the Gravity Bar, the highest bar in Dublin, conveniently located at the top of the Guiness Storehouse. Naturally, we partook in the drinking of Guinness. It even came with it’s own Irish good luck charm.
And so we reach the end of the day in Dublin. It was off to bed, ready for an early flight to Finland…