|I love Dublin! It's a really fun city with lots of history, interesting attractions, fun-for-strolling pedestrian malls and hundreds of traditional pubs where you can listen to traditional music day and night. We spent four days in Dublin but could easily entertain ourselves for a few more days if we didn't have to start making our way back through Great Britain and on to Amsterdam for our trip back home.
On the tourist trail we visited Trinity College which houses one of Ireland's most prized antiquities "The Book of Kells". The book dates back to AD 800 and is a hand printed and beautifully illustrated Bible believed to be the work of Scottish Monks who came to Ireland to escape from the Vikings. Trinity College is also known for some of its famous alumni including Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and Samuel Beckett. Of course, no visit to Dublin would be complete without a visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral.
We took a guided tour through the Dublin Castle which housed the English government for over 700 years until 1926 when the Republic of Ireland was no longer under British rule. There are some very gruesome stories of how the English would behead people not loyal to the throne and place the heads on spears around the castle. At one time there were 70 heads decorating the castle walls! Today, the castle is still used by the Irish government for special events and official business.
Dublin is the home of Guinness Beer and is the number one visited site in the city. The Guinness visitor center is seven stories high and includes The Gravity bar on the top floor with 360 views of the city while you drink your complimentary pint of Guinness. Guinness tastes different here. It must be the freshness of the beer.
There is also a very nice art gallery and national museum both of which are free making them even nicer. Great places to visit on one of the rainy days.
On Sunday afternoon some of the pubs have traditional music. We spent the afternoon at O'Donoghues and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was a drop in session so musicians came and went through out the day. At one time there were nine musicians playing and singing.
The weekend in Dublin was especially busy and crazy because of two special athletic events. On Saturday, Ireland played Sweden in the soccer playoffs for the World Cup. Ireland lost but the city gained economically as 4000 Swedes, all dressed in yellow team shirts, filled the pubs. On Sunday, the city hosted Ireland's National Hurling Playoff. Hurling is not projectile vomiting! Hurling is a very fast game played with a tiny ball called a sliotar and a wooden stick called a Hurley. The game is very, very popular in Ireland and the city was hopping with fans of the Cork team and the Clare team. The game ended in a tie so a rematch is scheduled for later in the month. The hurling fans reminded me of US football fans with painted faces and bodies.