Dublin

Dublin, the capital of Eire, the Republic of Ireland. It’s a great walking city, and boy, did I do a lot of walking. 


Dublin’s one of the world’s great Georgian cities (mid- to late-18th century). There are many sections of Georgian terraces remaining - what we would call "row houses". 

  While the houses in each terrace are pretty much the same along the street, each door is different.

The story goes that late one night a Dubliner had had a bit too much of the black stuff...

 

... so when he came home, given the similarity of all the terrace houses, he stumbled into the wrong house and into the wrong bed. The following morning, all the women of Dublin went out and painted the doors different colors. An alternate story says that upon the death of Queen Victoria, the Irish were ordered to paint their doors black in mourning. They immediately went out and got the brightest colors possible to repaint their doors... 

Take your pick. 

 
"Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-o" - Molly Malone still pushes her barrow, at the foot of Grafton Street.

There are sculptures all over Dublin - this is Oscar Wilde's statue in Merrion Square Park.

"The Hags with the Bags" - located just north of the corner of Liffey Street Lower and Bachelors Walk, across from the northern end of Ha'penny Bridge

"Anna Livia" - scupture representing the River Liffey, located in a little triangular park between Parkgate Street and Wolfe Tone Quay

"The Linesman" - another of Dublin's street sculptures, on City Quay along the Liffey, showing ordinary Dublin life of long ago. 

The Famine Memorial - haunting statues of emaciated refugees from the Potato Famine of the 1840's - located on Custom House Quay

Kilmainham Gaol - this section, the "Panopticon" was the cutting edge of penal technology in the 19th century. 
A guard on the bridge could see all of the cells. 

At this spot in the Kilmainham Gaol yard, the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed. 

The General Post Office (GPO) was the place where the 1916 Rising started. It was destroyed in the rising, but rebuilt after Independence. There are still bullet holes in the columns. 
"Big Jim" Larkin was a labor leader, active in the early part of the 20th century. 

Kids at play in Merrion Square Park

The Ha'penny Bridge over the Liffey was one of the earliest cast-iron bridges in the world.
Its name derives from the original toll to cross - one half penny. 

Temple Bar

Walking along the south bank of the Liffey, just west of O'Connell Street bridge

The Custom House

The Samuel Beckett Bridge on the Liffey, built in 2009, is supposed to evoke the image of a harp, symbol of Ireland. The bridge can open to allow traffic to pass. 
The sailing ship is the Jeanie Johnston tall ship, which also serves as a famine museum. 

The main shopping streets in central Dublin - Grafton and St. Ann's - have been turned into pedestrian malls during the day. 

The interior of St. Ann's Church. To the left of the altar is a shelf where loaves of bread have been left for the poor since the mid-18th century, courtesy of a bequest from Lord Newtown of Newtown. 

Christ Church Cathedral - officially "Cathedral of the Holy Trinity" - is one of two cathedrals in Dublin, both Church of Ireland. 

The interior of Christ Church. The current building was built between the 12th and 14th centuries.
During my 2008 trip, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a choir service at the Church. It's a rare experience for a tourist to see a medieval cathedral in use as it was intended to be.   

Mummies of a cat and a rat, found in the organ pipes during a renovation in the 1850's. 

The crypt of Christ Church was used for centuries as a place for merchants' stalls. Today, it houses exhibitions and sculpture. 

The Casino at Marino
No, you don't gamble there. "Casino" means "small house", and this small house was a summer house for the Duke of Charlemont. Although it looks small, that's really an optical illusion - the house has four floors and dozens of rooms. The actual front door is the lowest part of the door in this picture, and each of the windows serves rooms on two floors. 

The House of Lords
When the Irish parliament was disbanded in 1800, the building was sold to the Bank of Ireland, on the condition that the parliament rooms be completely erased and converted to banking rooms. The Bank complied - but only as to the House of Commons chamber. The House of Lords was just locked away secretly, to be re-opened over a century later after independence, just as they'd been left when the Lords moved to Westminster. 

St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin
 
The Door of Reconciliation from St. Patrick's Chapterhouse
The hole in this door dates back to a 1492 dispute between the Earls of Ormond and Kildare. Ormond was trapped in the Chapterhouse by Kildare. To end the siege, Kildare cut the hole and thrust his arm through, for Ormond to shake his hand or cut off his arm. Ormond shook his hand, and the dispute was ended. The episode is thought to have given rise to the expression, "chancing your arm". 

Interior of St. Patrick's.

The Bog Bodies in the National Museum are incredibly well-preserved bodies (or parts of bodies) which were found in peat bogs. Scientists believe they were human sacrifices from 2,000 years ago or more. The NOVA on PBS had several programs on bog bodies - The Perfect Corpse in 2006 and Ghosts of Murdered Kings in 2014, the latter of which prompted our Scouts to decide to see the bodies on our tour in 2014. 

Dublin Castle, once the center of British power in Ireland. 

The Irish like to point out that the statue of Justice over the gate  at Dublin Castle was not blindfolded, and looked inward, turning its back on Dublin. 

St. Stephens Green Shopping Centre - built in 1988, it's reminiscent of Victorian shopping arcades.

The Sunlight Chambers building on Parliament Street boasts a frieze showing the details and benefits of soap through the ages. Yes, soap. The building was built by Lord Lever, of Lever Brothers fame. 

The Long Room at Trinity College Library
Once, a copy of every book published in the British Isles had to be deposited in this library. Today, the room houses temporary exhibits and a huge collection of prceless old books. 

Temple Bar

Speaking of the Black Stuff, the Guinness Storehouse is the biggest tourist attraction in Dublin. The atrium is in the shape of a huge beer glass. 

The exhibit in the Storehouse explains the origin of Guinness Stout, starting from water, hops and malted barley. Here's the water...

At the end of the tour, you learn to pour the perfect pint. Start by pulling the handle toward you, with the glass at an angle, and fill up to the harp...

... let the glass settle for just under two minutes...

... then, top off with the handle away from you (no gas), and...

...enjoy.

Collins Barracks - now part of the National Museum of Ireland - with a Viking ship replica which sailed from Scandinavia to Dublin. 

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All pictures © Copyright 2007-2012 Mike Brown
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