Then we walked a bit further over to another Georgian square in the area, St Stephen's Green. We wandered past the duckpond as a rain shower started, a frequent occurrence during our weekend in Ireland. Luckily the sky cleared shortly after, just as we walked past the gardens and water fountain, with just enough time to take our only group photo of the trip!
We then continued onto O'Connell Street on the North side of the River Liffy to check out the area and see the Spire of Dublin up close.
After working up an appetite from meandering through the city centre all morning, we were ready for lunch. We booked a table at Elephant & Castle and ran off to grab a quick pint of Guinness before our reservation. We settled on a pub in Temple Bar which had three local musicians playing traditional music in the corner of the pub, a session. The atmosphere was great and we really enjoyed an afternoon pint.
Lunch at Elephant and Castle was delicious, although they seem to be quite busy and popular. We then concluded our own self-directed walking tour of Dublin by making our way back to the apartment. Unfortunately, Luke's mom and sister had to catch a flight on Sunday evening so we spent a bit of time with them back at the apartment before they left. We had a great time with them in Dublin and were really sad to see them go! No doubt more trips like this will be happening in the future.
And then we were two! We took it easy on Sunday evening, going out for a late dinner at a tasty Korean restaurant in preparation for our day trip outsid of Dublin. On Monday morning, we got up decently early and headed out to catch our bus for the Mary Gibbons Tour of Newgrange and the Hill of Tara. We drove north from Dublin and straight into the Irish countryside of County Meath.
We continued our journey further into the Boyne Valley, listening to information about a famous battle in 1690 as we drove along. We then drove through the Georgian village of Slane before arriving at a farm for a bit of lunch and a break. As we got back on the bus, the weather threatened us again but we were happy to arrive at the main stop of the day, Newgrange, without any trouble.
Unfortunately, we weren't permitted to take photos inside but Elizabeth bought six cheap postcards at the ticket booth for 50 cents each which show the inside of the tomb (click picture to enlarge).
Like many people of the time, the people who constructed this were also fascinated by astronomy and the sun. One of the most amazing features of the tomb is that at dawn on the Winter Solstice sunlight enters the chamber through the small opening above the passage entrance, illuminating the chamber. This represented rebirth in the afterlife and the beginning of the new year. For the rest of the year, the tomb is completely dark. The tour guide replicated what it would look like for light to enter the chamber in that way. Our entire time inside of the passage tomb was unforgettable and it is hard to believe that this structure was built 5000 years ago and has stood the test of time.
It was then our turn to go outside and check out the outside of the passage tomb. Shortly after we got outside, the rain started to pour and hail started to fall. Needless to say it was hard to take photos/video with our camera but we did manage a selfie before it got too crazy.
We finished up our time in Dublin with a dinner at Wagamama and one last Guinness at a pub in Temple Bar. We departed for St. John's on Tuesday morning after an awesome weekend in Dublin that we won't soon forget!
In case you missed Part I of our blog post about Dublin, check it out here:
Dublin Long Weekend (Part I)
And here is the video we made of our trip: