We set off on Thursday night and caught the red-eye to Dublin - although it wasn't much of a red-eye flight because the flight was only 3.5 hours! No complaints here. We picked up a tasty breakfast in the airport before hopping into a taxi to head into the city. Once we had taken a much-needed nap, we were ready for some tourism. First stop: Kilmainham Gaol. Well, after stopping for a pub lunch and a pint of Guinness, of course.
Kilmainham Gaol was also the place of imprisonment of the majority of Irish nationalist leaders throughout history from 1798 until 1916, and beyond. 14 of the 16 executions after the Easter Rising took place there. Other than all of the history about the Irish rebellions, one of the most fascinating things we learned while we were there was that before the invention of the camera law enforcement officers struggled to keep track of repeat offenders. This meant that criminals could disappear when they were released and use an alias when they were arrested so that they wouldn't be charged as repeat offenders. Tricky little buggers.
We finished up at the jail right before closing and immediately went back to the apartment to meet up with Luke's mom. After some reuniting hugs and some relaxation, we wandered into the centre of Dublin for cocktails and dinner at the Drury Buildings. While Luke and his mom went for the classic gin and tonic, Elizabeth opted for their "Our Toddy" and was definitely not disappointed; a second one was required. You know, to make sure she tasted it correctly the first time. Then Luke's sister showed up just in time for the main course, completing our posse for the weekend.
On Saturday morning, we woke up reasonably early to eat breakfast at the Queen of Tarts before heading to the meeting spot for the Sandeman's free walking tour of Dublin. Our guide was great and the tour ended up being one of our favourite things in the city! The 2.5 hour tour took us around the city and provided more insight into the history of Ireland, as well familiarizing us with the buildings that surrounded us.
The National Museum of Ireland (Archaeology) is free to visit and features exhibitions about prehistoric Ireland, gold in the early bronze age, the vikings in Ireland, and medieval Ireland. Oh, and bog bodies. Bog bodies are human bodies that have been naturally preserved in a peat bog; the conditions of the bog allow for skin and organs to be well-preserved, although the bones dissolve. This allows for more detailed examinations and further insights into the people from long ago. While it's extremely fascinating for archaeologists/medical professionals/morticians/people who like creepy things, it is not ideal for people who have been known to pass out at the sight of blood. So, judge accordingly. Regardless, most people should be able to appreciate the significance.
Our next move was seeing the Book of Kells at Trinity College. The Book of Kells contains the four Gospels from the New Testament of the Bible and is written in decorated text with additional illustrations, an "illuminated manuscript". It was written on calfskin around 800 AD and the complexity of its illustrations are in part what makes it so special. There is an exhibit to wander through before viewing the Book of Kells which is worth reading as it is tough to get a good look at the book itself when you have the opportunity. The book is impressive and luckily you can also check it out online here, which is arguably better than the real thing in some ways.
Then we wandered upstairs to see the Old Library, home to 200,000 of the College's oldest books...
We walked back to the apartment where some of us enjoyed a little nap before the evening's festivities. We delayed our dinner reservation and finally headed out around 8:30 pm, stopping for a brief round of Guinness on the way. Dinner was at Pichet, and what a great meal it was - the tasty dishes and unbelievably good service won't be forgotten any time soon. Between the mussel juice on the table, the spilled red wine, and cutlery dropping on the floor, undoubtedly the wait staff won't forget us any time soon either! Although we were reassured that we didn't set the record for most napkins used in one night. What a relief.
That concludes the first half of our trip to Dublin, and you can find the second half right here:
Dublin Long Weekend (Part II)
Plus, we have created a travel video of our trip which you can check out below: