My Pop Pop and I landed in Dublin at about 5:30 in the morning, and I was lucky to have gotten an hour of sleep during the flight. The clock here is five hours ahead of home, so my body knew it was really only 12 in the morning when I landed. The flight was great. We ate a tasty meal that consisted of ravioli, a fruit salad, a cucumber, pepper and feta salad, and a multi-grain roll. I got to see a bit of Canada from the sky and a beautiful sunset that bursted of neon tangerine, salmon pink and golden yellow colors. For some reason, it seemed like a long flight and I knew I had a long day ahead of me, but I can rest when I am dead! I am in Dublin, after all!
Pop Pop and I thankfully got all our luggage and then easily hopped in a taxi to our hotel. We are staying at the Hilton Garden Inn, although when my Pop Pop booked the reservation, the building was under a different ownership. We checked our bags in and sat down for the Irish breakfast the hotel offered around 6:30 in the morning. Some foods included in this Irish breakfast were pork, sausage, eggs scrambled and sunny side up, sautéed tomatoes, hash browns and black pudding. Black pudding is a mixture of pork meat and blood, oats and spices.
We ate slowly and took our time, because the first thing we had scheduled for the day was at 9:30 in the morning and we did not have a room to rest in yet. Once we used up some time and realized this place has great internet (woohoo!), we walked over to our first destination of the day: Trinity College. On our way there, we wandered along River Liffy and observed all the fascinating buildings and bridges along and over the calm water. We also stopped at the Famine Memorial, which is composed of six bronze human figures and a dog that showed how hungry and helpless people were during this rough time in Ireland’s history. The sculptor, Rowan Gillespie, also created five sculptures that are located in Canada. These seven and five figure collections represent the massive migration of people from Ireland to Canada trying to escape the Potato Famine, and the sad reality that not everyone made it to the end.
At Trinity College, which is absolutely gorgeous, we viewed the Book of Kells. For those wondering, this is a lavishly decorated Celtic gospel book in Latin. The book was most likely created in the 9th century by the Monks of Iona. When the Vikings attacked Iona, the book was wrapped in calf skin and buried. It was later found and eventually shipped to Dublin for safety and finally found its home at Trinity in 1661.
After viewing this sacred book, we visited the Long Room, which is a chamber in the Old Library of Trinity College that contains 200,000 books that are housed in massive oak shelves.
Once we were done visiting Trinity College, we headed to a two hour walking tour of the city. Due to my lack of sleep and busy schedule, I unfortunately could not pay as close attention to the tour guide as I wished. Besides finding out that it is possible to fall asleep while walking, here is a condensed list of things that I remember learning during the tour:
- 2016 is the centennial anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland. Also known as the Easter Rebellion, this was an armed rebellion against British rule over Ireland, and the most significant uprising since the rebellion in 1798. This marked the beginning of the Irish revolutionary period.
- The Dublin castle was created in the early 13th century. It was later the seat of England’s government in Ireland, and is now a major government building for Ireland. It is the oldest surviving medieval architecture in Dublin.
- Trinity College was originally the Priory of All Hallow monastery outside of Dublin. In 1592, it was given a royal charted to be transitioned into a place of higher education.
- Suspicious humans believe there are people who live underground, also known as leprechauns. On Ireland’s version of Halloween, these underground dwellers come out to roam the streets and parents dress their kids in costume for protection.
- The Trinity College Harp, also known as Brian Boru’s Harp, is a famous 14th or 15th century harp that lives at the college. Its symbol can be found on euros, the Guinness logo, on Irish flags as the coat of arms and more.
- The Royal Coast of Arms consists of a lion which represents England, a unicorn which represents Scotland, the harp which represents Ireland and then finally, the crown that represents the royal crown.
- The Temple Bar is an area of central Dublin known for its bars and nightlife.
It was a very fun and informational tour. The only thing that would have helped is having more energy! After that tour ended, we had one more event scheduled: a boat tour on the Liffy.