We woke up in Clontarf Castle and it was luxurious. We have had hot water, water pressure, heat and appropriate toilet flushing but never more than two at a time. Last night, we had all four. Plus washcloths and fluffy heated towels. Additionally, the breakfast here is awesome. Back to Ireland, we had the full Irish as an option and all the breakfast cheeses and drinking chocolates again!
We caught one of the hop-on-hop-off double decker city buses that leaves from our hotel. The truth is, as cheesy as they are, they hit 28 of the major city stops and we planned on going to many of them, so this is just easy. Honestly, it’s good sense. We would have just taken the bus to take it, and figuring it all out would have been a headache. It’s also great when you don’t know what you want to see – you can drive all the way around the city in an hour or two and look at all your options.
We started out by visiting Dublin castle and it’s amazing history. It’s been active since the 1200’s and is still active today – many of the buildings are still being used for official government yet it also houses a Viking excavation site. After the castle, we took a quick walk over to Christchurch Cathedral which is pretty simple as far as cathedrals go and has amazing crypts that shouldn’t be missed.
Farther down the street from Christchurch is St. Patrick’s cathedral, supposedly near the site where St. Patrick baptized people 1500 years ago (the stone is in the church with a celtic cross on it.) It’s a much more popular spot, as it holds many famous graves and has a number of war memorials there. This one was an interesting spot as far as family goes – The place was full of the name Butler so I took pics and sent them to my Butler cousin – and we found a whole page of war heroes with the last name of Hart. It was just Hart – every name on the page.
I’ve been to Dublin before, about 16 years ago. It’s funny how old cities don’t much change. Ha’penny bridge, Dublin castle, all looks just like it did then and I remembered my way around. But when we found Molly Malone I had to do a double take. She wasn’t near the pub I remembered and I certainly couldn’t have seen her from a bus as I recalled doing so at one point. Turns out the city moved Molly two years ago. That hasn’t kept people from being handsy with her, as evidenced by where the finish has come off.
We also went to the National Gallery of Ireland so I could check another Vermeer off the list. This one was one of his later paintings and quite a juxtaposition from the one we checked out just last week in Scotland.
We met a couple of hubby’s friends at a pub called O’Neil’s and had a pint. It was a blast and we managed to get a few tips from them, which is always great. We finished with dinner at another pub. Little announced at dinner that he didn’t want to leave Ireland. We just have to move all of our things here, he said. Dinner every night at a pub and drinking chocolate every morning – I totally get where he is coming from. And the evening ended with our cabbie giving us an incredible history lesson on Clontarf and the Vikings and my hubby’s family – apparently, we need to go to Cork to meet them. Can I start planning our next trip?