(March 23, 2008) Dublin
This day is going to be entirely dedicated on knowing
Dublin. We have no specific plan for our visits but we know what we
want to see. Today we should visit the ones we couldn't see on Friday,
as we're leaving tomorrow. We will have the morning for ending our
list, though. For this day should be, at least, Trinity
College, Dublin's Castle and Guinness storehouse.
The spots marked at map are:
1- Guinness Storehouse
2- Temple Bar
3- Christ Church Cathedral
4- Trinity College
5- Molly Malone and Grafton Street
6- Dublin's Castle
We’ve rested from yesterday, that’s the reason
we’re in the bus stop as late as 10:45 AM and, therefore, we’re walking
by Dublin downtown some minutes past eleven.
Our thought is going directly to the Trinity
College, so we walk College St. up and follow the curve of the Bank of
Ireland building until reaching the entrance door to the huge grounds
of this college.
Once inside we find a continuous passing of young people by a
setting with centenarian buildings with classic facades rounding large
opened spaces full with the green of the grass.
Being that big we don’t know where to drive our
first steps to, so we go straight just because a simple logic of
following our initial way. We pass under the peculiar tower called
Campanile because it once was a bell tower, and go on across a well
cared garden composed by some old trees projected from a impeccable
carpet of grass. Until we reach the end, which is indeed the end. So we
turn round until the Campanile and this time we follow the flux of
people and the maps we got at entrance and find out the Old library is
at right from the entrance. On our way we can see what seems to be a
Greek temple to Goddess of victory Nike, which later would be used by a
sports clothes company. Then we arrive to another big area, although
smaller than the previous one.
The building at our left is full of signs with
pictures and the name everywhere of the cultural icon they’ve got here:
The book of Kells. A row of people marks, as an X, the spot too.
As they don’t let more than 20 persons together in
we still must wait for two groups to go in before being our turn. Then,
we must pay 8€ for going into a dark exhibit about that specific book
and all medieval books in general. This seems to be from year 800 AD.
There are signs everywhere reminding photos are forbidden.
At the end there is a case with some old books,
book of Kells among them. Obviously you can only see the shown pages.
For some reason this book of Kells attract the interest of the visitor
much more than the other books in there and, as it can only be seen
from one of the short sides of this rectangle case, the most of the
people accumulates there, making difficult for you to see those pages
carefully. It is beautiful indeed, as the others books of that period
I’ve seen there or in other places. Every single letter was drawn
carefully. Then there is the initial uppercase letter, which is always
in the middle of a colourful representation.
Then we go upstairs where the light come back in
the place I was expecting to see because it is the beautiful library I
could see on the brochures. We’re in the Old Library where, as
description, it’s better a picture. As photos are not allowed, I’ve put
at right the front cover of the small book I purchased on the gift
store to taking reminds from this place.
That is this fabulous place. To the image we can
add it really smells to book and the furniture can be seen in the
middle of the corridor have more books in display, of different sizes,
opened by some sample page. As the most of them are about natural
science, this time they’re showing drawings of some plant or animal.
These incredible drawings would be in exposition in some museum if they
were made over canvas instead of paper.
We could find here the authentic harp of Brian
Boru, a Celtic harp which has become the emblem of this country, being
in the coat of arms and in the logo of the bigger and most important
company in Ireland: Guinness.
That reminds us we must visit the storehouse
today. When we’re back at campus we still explore it a little more
until decide to go out. It’s 1:30 PM and we’re going to lunch something
fast before getting into Dublin Castle. We choose a small bar with good
sandwiches with a supermarket on next door where I get some sweets and
fruit as dessert. We can eat by 5€ per person that way.
The ones lunched faster went out for a walk and
come back telling Molly Malone Statue is just at the end of that same
street. We go to the castle, which is in the opposite way, but I know
I’m not going to leave Dublin without seeing her.
The way is short
and we can go directly as we already saw Dublin Castle entrance on
Friday, when visiting the City Hall. It’s spitting now and we can feel
it’s colder than at noon so, when we arrive, it’s the most clothed
version of us who does, with woolly hat, scarf, gloves,…
Even with that, we go in and wait in the middle of
a big courtyard. We’re crazy for the tour to start, looking more the
hot inside than the historical lesson. This place is not normal, I
mean, this is a square courtyard and it seems we’re in a castle, but
the buildings closing the four sides are all looking as coming from
different ages. We can see a fašade as the old churches of this city,
an arch of stone with wait statues, quite modern buildings in unusual
colours as blue or red. For example, the picture below at right shows a
wing looking as belonging to a gothic cathedral ends on a medieval
castle tower with older stones, joining into a lot younger building of
When the door gets opened we’re crazy for paying
4.5€ to be let to go inside, running away of the cold out doors.
We must wait a little more, though, but now seated
on a hot hall.
A few minutes later we start the tour around the
luxury halls and chambers which, as long as the guide is telling us,
they’re still being used for official events.
We can see beautiful mural paintings on some rooms
and even get a new dose of old books, all along the different rooms on
I get views of the strange garden of the castle
from one of the opened windows. It is a flat circle of grass with some
doodle drawn over it.
We’ve spent one hour and a half on this visit,
with all the waiting, and now we have a clear picture of the next step.
We check our maps to choose the best path to the
Storehouse. It’s 3:30 PM now and it is the moment of visiting it.
We walk for a half of an hour, no rush, exploring the streets and the
churches we’re passing by, as St. Augustine and John’s at picture.
When we’re close of it, the buildings look with the same style with
their red bricks and, a few minutes later, banners and posters are
announcing the proximity of the place qualified as number one
attraction by tourists.
There are a lot of buildings with the same style
around and I guess the production and bottling processes for the most
famous black beer in the world happen on them. But only one of them is
a tourist attraction.
We find the stone door easily and go into a big
hall exclusively set as entrance control. There are several rows of
people between bars with a lady in uniform at the end selling and
delivering the tickets. We split our group on some of the rows for
paying 14€ as admission fee and let pass in. Curiously, the young woman
attending to us speaks a perfect Spanish and we can be joking with her.
Inside, there are six floors of audio-visual
exhibition all about every point letting Guinness beer existing:
ingredients, the machines, the process,… Some hoe, we spend the most of
the time in a specific point of the first floor labelled as “Tasting
Lab”. It’s a sort of bar where are continuously delivering short
glasses with some of beer with the purpose of people can, as the name
tells, taste. But as there is not any repentance control we keep going
for glasses and “tasting” them, one after another. Shockingly, the lady
on entrance control and speaks Spanish is delivering the glasses now
and has no problem about our system for drinking for free. We’re going
for our own Guinness record!
We go along all the floors, which have a big hole
in the middle trying to draw the typical Guinness glass in 3D, as you
can check in the map below
But the cherry on the icing is, as all cherries,
at the top, where a modern platform shaped as a transparent disk has
been built in the highest point to get a bar with 360║ views of the
city. It is really crowded but is beautiful and it has got an extra
charm: with our tickets we have the right of be served a paint of
Guinness for free, poured in its authentic way by drawing a clover on
When we finish our paint we are “possessed” by the
spirit of this beer, so we stop at gift store as first step in our way
back to down town, where we get those typical Leprechaun hats.
We walk our way along the street wearing our hats.
They’re big and there is no way of being unnoticed, but we don’t care
at this moment.
in some pubs in our way to Temple bar area
and find friendly people everywhere. These hats are doing the job and
are making people happy. It’s clear it’s not usual to wear such things
as we’re the only ones in the whole city doing it, but exists kind of
sympathies for them or what they represent which makes us receive
salutations from everybody as we walk. When we’re arriving to the pubs
street we agree we’re going to try to go into Temple bar itself wearing
the hats. I’m sure they will make us turn around as we weren’t allowed
entrance yesterday evening, when we were well dressed, so no way for
today. But, surprisingly for me, the magic of these hats works once
again and we’re immediately inside the very crowded bar where we seem
celebrities because of the people behaviour about us. Honestly, I’ll
never will be able to explain what is happening.
There is a small opened area at the bottom of the
pub as smoking room. Guinness paints are 5.40€ here so, some hours
later, we’ve changed to yesterday’s bar, Fitzsimon’s, where paints are
3.60€ and vodka with orange 5.40€.
I don’t think we’re going to wake up early