On Sunday morning, we ate the hotel’s continental breakfast and then loaded up on the bus which took us on a tour of the city. We saw Phoenix Park from our bus seats, which is the largest park in Europe and contains the residence of the United States Ambassador to Ireland, as well as the Wellington Monument, the largest obelisk in Europe. Next, we rode to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where we departed the bus and went on a tour of the church led by our bus driver. We learned a bit of history of Ireland and the cathedral (the national cathedral for all of Ireland), but the bus driver seemed to prefer to crack jokes instead.
Next, we drove by Trinity College and were let out to have some free time. David and I walked to St. Stephen’s Green, which was a large park with a pond, some gazebos, and some memorials. After walking around the park, we walked up Grafton Street and found a restaurant with outdoor seating. We arrived right when they opened. After eating, we made our way to the National Archaeology Museum of Ireland and waited for them to open promptly at 1 pm. This free museum contained a lot of artifacts which were found in Irish bogs. We also saw artifacts of ancient board games! I found those artifacts to be fascinating, because I love to play board games!
After the museum, we walked over to the Dublin Castle. We did not pay to go in, but we walked around the outskirts of the castle and admired it from afar. Next, we walked to Christ Church Cathedral, which is also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. This was a really pretty church from the outside! People who were dressed up were going inside for a service, so we did not get a chance to see the inside. Next, we made our way to a pub to grab some food, and then we walked to our hotel to meet up with our travel group.
We then walked with our travel group to the Guinness Storehouse and Gravity Bar. The bar is at the top of the storehouse and gives you a 360 degree view of Dublin. We had a pretty and clear view of the city! In 1759, Arthur Guinness started brewing beer and signed a 9,000 year lease for the St. James’s Gate Brewery. David loves Guinness! It’s a dark beer that uses nitrogen. David loved going to the storehouse to learn more about how Guinness is brewed and how the company has grown over the years. On our way to the top, we each tasted a sample of Guinness. At the Gravity Bar, we each got a pint of Guinness, but I gave mine to David. Instead, I got a glass of ice water. It was nice to drink while looking out over Dublin, but it was extremely crowded and hot. The bar had windows all around, and since it was about five or six o’clock, the sun was shining right into the bar, making it warm. Since there were a lot of people, it became quite warm, so I got a bit agitated. I did not like being in a crowded place after going through a pandemic. So as soon as David finished drinking, we went down to the bottom of the storehouse, visited the gift shop, and then stopped at a restaurant for dinner on our way back to the hotel.
Today was a good day, but I was disappointed that the trip did not include a walking tour of Trinity College, nor did it include tickets to see the Book of Kells, which is housed on Trinity College’s campus. EF Ultimate Break’s itinerary made it seem like we would go on the campus and that we would be able to see the book. However, it seemed that we saw the campus from a bus, and we could go see the book during our free time. David and I did not get tickets to see the book on this day. By the time we decided what we wanted to do, I believe all of the tickets had sold out. Also, I am not sure we knew our full itinerary for this day, so I wasn’t sure exactly when we could see the book. In case you did not know, the Book of Kells is a Celtic Gospel manuscript written in Latin. Containing the four Gospels of the New Testament along with other works, it was created in 800 A.D. in either an Irish or a Scottish monastery. I was fine with not seeing the book, but I was a bit upset that it seemed like the company led me to believe that I would see it.
In my next blog post, I will write about our next day of traveling from Dublin to Kilkenny!