Sue had done innumerable Sandeman tours and was confident we would be well pleased with the Dublin tour. She was right. Karl met us outside Dublin Castle and gave us the abridged history of Ireland in fifteen minutes. I was impressed!
First stop the Chester Beatty museum and why it is a must visit. Later we did. He was right. We discovered seriously improbable facts.. like the two most significant churches in Dublin St Patrick’s and Christ Church Cathedral are both Protestant!!! We learned about Trinity College and it’s history and the that Temple Bar is in fact a section of land between two rivers (a bar) once owned by the Temple family. We also learned more about the incredibly heinous treatment the Irish received at the hands of the English and the ultimate spurious insult to tax the light. The term ‘daylight robbery’ is as a result of the tax the English put on windows. And of course we met Molly Malone. I was quite impressed with our guide, Karl, defending Molly’s honour. He countered that there was absolutely nothing in the lyrics that hinted at any suggestion that she was other than a young fishmonger who died of a fever, and it was obvious that he was quite annoyed at the gossip and innuendo had buit up around her. Umm interesting.
So…before we left home I received an email telling me that Celtic Nights, which was a dinner and show held nightly at the Alington Hotel, was a very popular show and often booked out. I was invited to buy tickets. I looked at a few reviews and it looked pretty good so after check with Sue booked our tickets. Well, the food was mass produced -potato soup, Irish Stew and mini cheesecakes for dessert. It was alright. We could eat it. The show? Well, the flautist was incredibly talented – thank goodness. The singer was appalling!!! So, all up…well you have to have downers to really appreciate the uppers I suppose.
Dublin’s population is just over half a million. The River Liffey cuts through it dividing it into north and south. It has a reasonably small centre and it is flat and easy to walk around. We wandered aimlessly and every now and again would spot something of interest and request a stranger to give us an explanation and they were always happy to oblige. On one occassion we spotted a couple of domes and discovered they were connected to Mansion House -the City Hall. We investigated. The smaller one had become a restaurant and the large one an events centre. We waltzed along the red carpet like we owned the place, took photos and left. Two old ladies didn’t seem to bother anyone.
The National Museum of Ireland -Archaeology, was astounding. Built in the 1820s with a domed rotunda, colonnaded entrance and stunning mosaic floors depicting classical mythology, the museum explores human settlement in ireland from 7000BC. The 4,500 year old dugout canoe -THe Lurgon Canoe- was 15m long, a skeleton of a Viking who must have been almost 2m tall and the ancient wheel,
The archaeological museum was amazing and we had to be encouraged by the security staff to move on as they were closing. We were very thirsty and were looking to indulge. The Quay Bar was our first experience of Guinness and Irish music so we decided to tempt fate and head back to that bar. It was everything we had hoped for. We had a fabulous time and while I was typically oblivious, Sue noticed the crowd of young people discussing us and then offering us a Jager bomb which, as you can imagine, Sue accepted with relish while I demuely turned it down. Hang on…no…that is not quite right. I demuely accepted while Sue turned it down with relish? Well something like that. Our night just kept improving.
Thirst evolved into hunger. We stumbled into a fish restaurant and had seafood soup. It was delicious. Dublin…a city that just keeps giving!!!