Dublin: Liffey River Tour

Two thirds of the day’s plans were completed and after a quick nap to rejuvenate ourselves, we were ready for our boat tour. This was a simple 45-minute tour through the company Liffey River Cruises. The skipper and tour guide were very friendly and it was easy to listen to them. Here are a few things I learned:

Liffey River
  • There were about 6,000 people working along the river just to help with the shipping and unloading of items carried by boat. However, in the 1960s shipping containers were introduced and within weeks, thousands lost their jobs.
  • Dublin is a popular city to hold as a European headquarter for many companies including Twitter, Airbnb, Google Ireland, Yahoo and so on.
  • One can get through the whole country of Ireland by boat.
  • There are salmon, trout, crabs, seals and other marine life found in the Lippy River. (yay, seals!)
  • Two of Dublin’s adjacent bridges are named after famous Irish playwrights. Can you guess who? Sean O’Casey and Samuel Beckett.
  • Samuel Beckett’s writing won him a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969. O’Casey’s writing started riots.
  • Ships in the Liffey river often had painted canon holes to look like they had adequate protection.
  • Some crews covered their canon holes and disguised themselves as rich sailors, so when they lured in the pirates, the could surprise attack them.

It was a swell ride, and by the time it was over, the rain finally stopped. Pop Pop and I scoped out a great place for fish and chips and to our enjoyment, it was right next to a Gelato place. I actually ended u getting michi for dessert, which is gelato covered in a rice cake. Basically, it is the mochi one would expect from a Japanese restaurant.

Gelato and Michi

We strolled through a back street to explore a bit, and then headed to the water to take a few pictures before retiring to our hotel. We had an early night, but considering we were running on two to three hours of sleep, we didn’t mind that we were not out and about in this amazing city.

Dublin really surprised me. It reminds me of Baltimore, Maryland and Venice, Italy mixed together. It is a beautiful, clean, modern, friendly and crowded city with a river through it and bridges to connect one side to the other. I am so fortunate I got to visit, even if it was just for a day. Maybe one day I’ll be back and will get see some awesome Irish castle and kiss the Blarney Stone.

On the Sean O’Casey Bridge overlooking the tour boat (red boat to the left), a replica of a ship used to sail across the ocean (behind the red boat) and the Samuel Beckett Bridge.

Next stop—Paris!


Dublin: Out and About

Hello Dublin!

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.

Black pudding, a mushroom and meat.

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.

Famine Memorial

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.

Long Room

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.
Trinity College

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.