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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Dublin, Ireland

Today is our last full day in Ireland.

We are staying at the Albany House which is very centrally located near St. Stephen's Green Park and the places we wish to visit.

Flower stalls were open for business.

After breakfast, we were off exploring the city. It was drizzling when we started out but the weather forecast said the rain would stop by 10 AM, which it did. First stop was Trinity College.

Trinity College (Irish: Coláiste na Tríonóide), officially the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, is the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin, a research university located in Dublin, Ireland. The college was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother" of a new university, modeled after the collegiate universities of Oxford and Cambridge, but unlike these other ancient universities, only one college was ever established; as such, the designations "Trinity College" and "University of Dublin" are usually synonymous for practical purposes. It is one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland, as well as Ireland's oldest surviving university.

Trinity College is widely considered to be the most prestigious university in Ireland, and among the most elite in Europe. This is principally due to its extensive history, highly competitive admissions procedure], reputation with social elitism and unique relationship with both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. In accordance with the formula of "ad eundem gradum", a form of recognition that exists among the three universities, a graduate of Oxford, Cambridge, or Dublin can be conferred with the equivalent degree at either of the other two universities without further examination. Trinity College, Dublin is a sister college to St. John's College, Cambridge and Oriel College, Oxford.

Trinity has seen great writers and esteemed academics graduate from its hallowed halls - not all of them complimentary: Samuel Beckett allegedly said "Trinity's graduates were like cream: thick and rich."

Trinity forbid Catholics to join unless they accepted the Protestant faith, restrictions only lifted in 1970.

Originally it was established outside the city walls of Dublin in the buildings of the outlawed Catholic Augustinian Priory of All Hallows. Trinity College was set up in part to consolidate the rule of the Tudor monarchy in Ireland, and as a result was the university of the Protestant Ascendancy for much of its history. While Catholics were admitted from 1793 certain restrictions on membership of the college remained as professorships, fellowships and scholarships were reserved for Protestants. This restrictions were lifted by Act of Parliament in 1873. However from 1871 to 1970, the Catholic Church in Ireland in turn forbade its adherents from attending Trinity College without permission. Women were first admitted to the college as full members in January 1904.

Trinity College is now surrounded by Dublin and is located on College Green, opposite the historic Irish Houses of Parliament. The college proper occupies 47 acres, with many of its buildings ranged around large quadrangles, known as 'squares', and two playing fields. Academically, it is divided into three faculties comprising 25 schools, offering degree and diploma courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

The most striking and famous monument inside Trinity's grounds, the white Campanile, or bell tower, grabs your attention as you enter through the main archway. Dating back to the mid 19th century, built by Sir Charles Lanyon, it stands on the site of the college's original foundations from 400 years earlier.

The Library of Trinity College is a legal deposit library for Ireland and the United Kingdom, containing over 6.2 million printed volumes and significant quantities of manuscripts, including the Book of Kells.

The illuminated copy of the Book of Kells, four gospels written in Latin around A.D. 800, is lavishly decorated. It is one of the most famous books in the world. Two volumes are displayed in glass cases and, as part of the complete Turning Darkness into Light exhibition, the Book of Armagh and the even older Book of Durrow are also on display.

Unfortunately, photography is not permitted.

The Book of Kells contains the four Gospels in Latin based on the Vulgate text which St Jerome completed in 384AD, intermixed with readings from the earlier Old Latin translation. The Gospel texts are prefaced by other texts, including "canon tables", or concordances of Gospel passages common to two or more of the evangelists; summaries of the gospel narratives (Breves causae); and prefaces characterizing the evangelists (Argumenta).

The book is written on vellum (prepared calfskin) in a bold and expert version of the script known as "insular majuscule". It contains 340 folios, now measuring approximately 330 x 255 mm; they were severely trimmed, and their edges gilded, in the course of rebinding in the 19th century.

The date and place of origin of the Book of Kells have attracted a great deal of scholarly controversy. The majority academic opinion now tends to attribute it to the scriptorium of Iona (Argyllshire), but conflicting claims have located it in Northumbria or in Pictland in eastern Scotland. A monastery founded around 561 by St Colum Cille on Iona, an island off Mull in western Scotland, became the principal house of a large monastic confederation. In 806, following a Viking raid on the island which left 68 of the community dead, the Columban monks took refuge in a new monastery at Kells, County Meath, and for many years the two monasteries were governed as a single community. It must have been close to the year 800 that the Book of Kells was written, although there is no way of knowing if the book was produced wholly at Iona or at Kells, or partially at each location.

The manuscript’s celebrity derives largely from the impact of its lavish decoration, the extent and artistry of which is incomparable. Abstract decoration and images of plant, animal and human ornament punctuate the text with the aim of glorifying Jesus’ life and message, and keeping his attributes and symbols constantly in the eye of the reader.

There are full pages of decoration for the canon tables; symbols of the evangelists Matthew (the Man), Mark (the Lion), Luke (the Calf) and John (the Eagle); the opening words of the Gospels; the Virgin and Child; a portrait of Christ; complex narrative scenes, the earliest to survive in gospel manuscripts, representing the arrest of Christ and his temptation by the Devil. The Chi Rho page (folio 34r), introducing Matthew’s account of the nativity, is the single most famous page in medieval art. There are portraits of Matthew and John, but no portrait of Mark or Luke survives. These were probably executed, like other major pages of the manuscript, on single leaves and they are presumed to have become detached over time and lost. In all, around 30 folios went missing in the medieval and early modern periods.

Three artists seem to have produced the major decorated pages. One of them, whose work can be seen on the Chi Rho page, was capable of ornament of such extraordinary fineness and delicacy that his skills have been likened to those of a goldsmith. Four major scribes copied the text. Each displayed characteristics and stylistic traits while working within a scriptorium style. One, for example, was responsible only for text, and was in the habit of leaving the decoration of letters at the beginning of verses to an artist; while another scribe, who may have been the last in date, tended to use bright colours - red, purple, yellow - for the text, and to fill blank spaces with the unnecessary repetition of certain passages. The extent to which there was an identity between scribe and artist is among the key unanswered questions about the manuscript.

A range of pigments was employed, including blue made from indigo or woad, native to northern Europe. Recent research in the Library of Trinity College Dublin has indicated that blue from lapis lazuli was probably not used in the manuscript as had previously been thought. Orpiment (yellow arsenic sulphide) was used to produce a vibrant yellow pigment. Red came from red lead or from organic sources which are difficult at present to identify. A copper green, reacting with damp, was responsible for perforating the vellum on a number of folios. The artists employed a technique of adding as many as three pigments on top of a base layer.

The Book of Kells seldom comes to view in the historical record. The Annals of Ulster, describing it as "the chief treasure of the western world", record that it was stolen in 1006 for its ornamental cumdach (shrine). It remained at Kells throughout the Middle Ages, venerated as the great gospel book of St Colum Cille, a relic of the saint, as indicated by a poem added in the 15th century to folio 289v. In the late 11th and 12th centuries, blank pages and spaces on folios 5v-7v and 27r were used to record property transactions relating to the monastery at Kells. In 1090, it was reported by the Annals of Tigernach, that relics of Colum Cille were brought to Kells from Donegal. These relics included ‘the two gospels’, one of them probably the Book of Kells, the other perhaps the Book of Durrow. Following the rebellion of 1641, the church at Kells lay in ruins, and around 1653 the book was sent to Dublin by the governor of Kells, Charles Lambert, Earl of Cavan, in the interests of its safety. A few years later it reached Trinity College, the single constituent college of the University of Dublin, through the agency of Henry Jones, a former scoutmaster general to Cromwell’s army in Ireland and Vice-Chancellor of the University, when he became Bishop of Meath in 1661. It has been on display in the Old Library at Trinity College from the mid 19th century, and now attracts in excess of 500,000 visitors a year. Since 1953 it has been bound in four volumes. Two volumes can normally be seen, one opened to display a major decorated page, and one to show two pages of script.

Inside the grand Old Library, is a huge majestic paneled hall containing 200,000 books.

The Brian Boru's harp (also known as "Trinity College harp" although it bears the O'Neill Coat of Arms) is a medieval musical instrument also on display in the long room. It is an early Irish harp or wire strung cláirseach. It is dated to the 14th or 15th century and, along with the Queen Mary Harp and the Lamont Harp, is one of the three oldest surviving Gaelic harps.The harp was used as a model for the coat of arms of Ireland. The harp may be the oldest existent harp in the world.

We decided to buy tickets for the City sightseeing Dublin Hop on Hop off. It is a quick way to get from one point of interest to another. Tour the streets of Dublin on the stylish red open-top buses. You can begin your journey on either the Blue or Red Line at the first Bus Stops, located on Upper O'Connell Street. The Red Line has 23 destinations and the Blue Line has 21. We started at the number 7 stop and continued around the circuit.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Saint Patrick's Cathedral (Irish: Ard-Eaglais Naomh Pádraig) in Dublin, Ireland, founded in 1191, is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. With its 43-meter (141 ft) spire, St. Patrick's is the tallest church (not Cathedral) in Ireland and the largest. St. Patrick's Cathedral is one of the most beloved places of worship in the world. Prayer has been offered at this place for centuries. According to tradition, Saint Patrick used a nearby well to baptize converts to Christianity and a small church was built marking it as a sacred place near the heart of Dublin. The present building dates from 1220 and over the centuries the Cathedral has experienced and survived wars, revolutions and a reformation.Most of the visible building is from the 14th century, but religious buildings were on the site for almost a thousand years before that. The cathedral mostly follows the traditional style of early English church buildings, including a square medieval tower that contains the largest set of ringing peal bells in Ireland. The spire is 18th century. A moving collection of war memorials is tucked away at the very back of the cavernous nave, including a very low key tribute to the Irish dead of World War II (Ireland was neutral in that war, but around 300,000 men volunteered to fight with the Allies).

Unusually, St Patrick's is not the seat of a bishop, as the Archbishop of Dublin has his seat in Christ Church Cathedral. Since 1870, the Church of Ireland has designated St Patrick's as the national cathedral for the whole of Ireland, drawing chapter members from each of the twelve dioceses of the Church of Ireland. The dean is the ordinary for the cathedral; this office has existed since 1219. The most famous office holder was Jonathan Swift.

Throughout its long history the cathedral has contributed much to Irish life, and one key aspect of this relates to the writer and satirist Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels, who was Dean of the cathedral from 1713 to 1745. Many of his famous sermons and "Irish tracts" (such as the Drapier's Letters) were given during his stay as Dean.

His grave and epitaph can be seen in the cathedral, along with those of his friend Stella. Swift took a great interest in the building, its services and music and in what would now be called social welfare, funding an almshouse for poor women and Saint Patrick's

The spiral staircase leads to the Cathedral organ. It is played twice a day for Matins and Evensong, as well as recitals.

You can try brass rubbing. More adults were doing this than children.

Next stop took us to the Guinness Storehouse.

Guinness is synonymous with Ireland and no visit to Dublin is complete without a trip to the Guinness Storehouse – the Home of Guinness. Located in the heart of the legendary St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, this production site has been home to the Guinness Brewery since 1759, when Arthur Guinness signed a lease for 9,000 years. The Guinness Storehouse building dates back to 1904 and is built in the style of the Chicago School of Architecture. It was once the fermentation plant of the brewery and is now a seven-story visitor experience dedicated to the history of the making of this world famous beer. The Guinness Storehouse is the Home of Guinness, where you will discover what goes into the making of each and every pint, and learn about the incredible brand history stretching over 250 years. Ireland’s number one International Visitor Attraction unfolds its tale across seven floors shaped around a giant pint, which, if filled would contain 14.3 million pints of Guinness. Here, you can experience Guinness like nowhere else. As you make your way through the impressive storehouse, discover the age-old art of brewing that makes Guinness so distinctive; visit the Tasting rooms, a multi sensory tasting experience designed to help you appreciate the distinctive taste of the iconic stout, from the very first velvet sip to the last lingering drop. You can learn how to pour the perfect pint in the Guinness Academy or upgrade to enjoy samples of the four most popular variants, with an intimate tasting experience with the Connoisseur Experience. Step into the wonderful world of Guinness Advertising at the new Advertising Exhibit. Enjoy the best in Irish cuisine at the Guinness & Food Experience on level five.

The highlight for many visitors is the Gravity Bar, symbolically the ‘Head of the Pint”, where visitors can enjoy unparalleled panoramic views of Dublin city – views that are all the better with a complimentary pint in hand.

They gave a little sampling glass and taught us how to drink Guinness. Depending where it is on the tongue, it gives a different taste.

I actually could taste chocolate, coffee, toffee and citrus. I was shocked I actually enjoyed the taste!!!!!!!!! It was nice and cold. Guinness is ruby red in color if you put it up to natural light.

You can play the Guinness harp.

At the end of the tour, on the top floor, you can get a free pint of Guinness.

View of Dublin from the top floor

Besides the Guinness tour, you can go on whiskey tours.

Some of the streets of Dublin

These are the cars of policemen. Parking is very limited. Cars are kept in neutral and they can be pushed so other cars can come in and others move out. Actually saw this man move the car.

"Molly Malone" (also known as "Cockles and Mussels" or "In Dublin's Fair City") is a popular song, set in Dublin, Ireland, which has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin.

The Molly Malone statue in Grafton Street was unveiled by then-Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alderman Ben Briscoe during the 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations, declaring 13 June as Molly Malone Day. The statue was presented to the city by Jury's Hotel Group to mark the Millennium.

Since 18 July 2014, it has been relocated to Suffolk Street, in front of the Tourist Information Office, to make way for Luas track-laying work to be completed at the old location. Due to the increase in tourist foot traffic, and a common penchant for being "handsy", the statue has been groped often enough that the bronze hue has begun to wear off on the bosom.

The song tells the fictional tale of a fishmonger who plied her trade on the streets of Dublin, but who died young, of a fever. In the late 20th century a legend grew up that there was a historical Molly, who lived in the 17th century. She is typically represented as a hawker by day and part-time prostitute by night. In contrast she has also been portrayed as one of the few chaste female street-hawkers of her day. There is no evidence that the song is based on a real woman, of the 17th century or at any other time. The name "Molly" originated as a familiar version of the names Mary and Margaret. While many such "Molly" Malones were born in Dublin over the centuries, no evidence connects any of them to the events in the song. Nevertheless, in 1988 the Dublin Millennium Commission endorsed claims about a Mary Malone who died on June 13, 1699, and proclaimed the 13th of June to be "Molly Malone day".

In Dublin's fair city,

Where the girls are so pretty,

I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,

As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,

Through streets broad and narrow,

Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

"Alive, alive, oh,

Alive, alive, oh,"

Crying "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh".

She was a fishmonger,

But sure 'twas no wonder,

For so were her father and mother before,

And they wheeled their barrows,

Through the streets broad and narrow,

Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"


She died of a fever,

And no one could save her,

And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.

But her ghost wheels her barrow,

Through streets broad and narrow,

Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

Interesting doors

The sign says Boston College

Michael asked the man working at the information kiosk for a restaurant recommendation. He said we needed to try The Hairy Lemon which was close by. Wonderful place!

The "Commitments" was filmed here.

The Commitments is a 1991 Irish-British-American musical comedy-drama film based on the 1987 novel of the same name by Roddy Doyle. It was directed by Alan Parker, and written by Doyle, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Set in the northside of Dublin, the film tells the story of Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins), a young music fanatic who assembles a group of working-class youths to form a soul band named "The Commitments".

Michael and I both started with the seafood chowder.

Michael tried the Dublin Coddle which is bacon, sausage, root vegetables, potatoes and herbs in a savory broth served with mash and brown bread.

I had the Irish stew.

On the way back to Albany House, we walked through St. Stephen's Green.

The name St Stephen’s Green originates from a church called St Stephen’s in that area in the thirteenth century. Attached to the church was a leper hospital. Around this time the area was a marshy piece of common ground, which extended as far as the River Dodder and was used by the citizens of the city for grazing livestock.

In 1663, the City Assembly decided that the plot of ground could be used to generate income for the city and a central area of twenty-seven acres was marked out which would define the park boundary, with the remaining ground being let out into ninety building lots. Rent generated was to be used to build walls and paving around the Green. Each tenant also had to plant six sycamore trees near the wall, in order to establish some privacy within the park. In 1670 the first paid gardeners were employed to tend to the park.

The Green became a particularly fashionable place during the eighteenth century, owing mainly to the opening of Grafton Street in 1708 and Dawson Street in 1723, and the construction of desirable properties in and around this area. The Beaux Walk situated along the northern perimeter of the park became a popular location for high society to promenade. Lewis’ Dublin Guide of 1787 describes the Beaux Walk as being a scene of elegance and taste. Other walks found in the park included the French Walk found along the western perimeter of the park, and Monk’s Walk and Leeson’s Walk located along the eastern and southern boundaries of the park respectively.

By the nineteenth century the condition of the park had deteriorated to such an extent that the perimeter wall was broken, and many trees were to be found in bad condition around the park. In 1814 commissioners representing the local householders were handed control of the park. They replaced the broken wall with ornate Victorian railings and set about planting more trees and shrubs in the park. New walks were also constructed to replace the formal paths previously found in the park. However with these improvements, the Green then became a private park accessible only to those who rented keys to the park from the Commission, despite the 1635 law which decreed that the park was available for use by all citizens. This move was widely resented by the public.

Sir Arthur Guinness, later known as Lord Ardilaun, grew up in Iveagh House located on St Stephen’s Green, and came from a family well noted for its generosity to the Dublin public. In 1877 Sir Arthur offered to buy the Green from the commission and return it to the public. He paid off the park’s debts and secured an Act which ensured that the park would be managed by the Commissioners of Public Works, now the OPW.

Sir Arthur’s next objective was to landscape the park, and provide an oasis of peace and tranquility in the city. He took an active part in the design of the redeveloped park, and many of the features in the park are said to have been his suggestions. The main features of the redeveloped park included a three-acre lake with a waterfall, picturesquely-arranged Pulham rockwork, and a bridge, as well as formal flower beds, and fountains. The superintendent’s lodge was designed with Swiss shelters. It is estimated the redevelopment of the park cost £20,000.

After three long years of construction work, and without a formal ceremony the park reopened its gates on 27th of July 1880, to the delight of the public of Dublin.

Even though we did not find the leprechaun's pot of the gold, we consider ourselves very lucky. We stayed at some lovely bed and breakfast places; we experienced Irish hospitality and generosity; we had some exciting driving adventures; we tried new food and drink and we made many new friends along the way. Loved our first trip to Ireland and we know we will be back again.

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