After the long walk the day before, I was tired, cranky and exceptionally lazy. On top of all that, I was in some serious muscle pain from the walk as well so I slept in late and we didn’t set off for doing anything until the early afternoon. This day we wanted to visit the medieval part of Dublin, or well, what’s left of it anyway. We had a late breakfast at a coffee shop on O’Connell Street with the very apt name Scrumptious where we had bagels and tea. We then set off for the oldest part of the city to visit Dublin Castle.
Not much of the original castle built by the Normans in the 12th century is left, but there is still one tower and during the tour around the building we were led into an archeological dig where other remains of the castle had been excavated. Much of the castle had actually been built much later to house the viceroys who kept an eye on Ireland for the British kings and queens. They are therefore also called the State Apartments.
Fun fact: The harp used to face the other way, but that was too similar to the Guinness emblem, so Guinness sued and the harp has to be depicted facing the other way ever since.
The apartments are filled to the brim with British propaganda. Its only function? Persuading the Irish to succumb to British rule. Well, as we all know that didn’t quite work out in the end. We were shown the drawing room, the dining room, throne room and another large room where they inaugurate the Irish president every 7 years. Fun fact: the rooms are still used by the government for formal occasions such as state visits and important meetings.
After the tour we went for a snack (read: oreo cookie milkshake) and walked to Grafton Street to check out some more shops without actually buying anything. It started to rain at this point so we quickly sought the drought and warmth of a nearby pub where we had a few drinks. After that we had dinner at another Italian restaurant in Temple Bar where they forgot to deliver the desserts and I first tried cider made out of berries. Good times!
Another lazy day. Our original plan was to visit the house where Oscar Wilde lived for the first 20 or so years of his life on Merrion Square. We first grabbed some Starbucks and walked to the house only to find out that it has been closed to the public since 2007. Bummer. So instead we visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
We walked across town and got to the Cathedral much quicker than we had anticipated. It taught us how small Dublin’s city center really is. Once at the cathedral we saw busloads of American tourists get of a bus and with only 30 minutes until the cathedral would close for the Sunday afternoon service we decided to wait it out and come back later to visit the church. The next 30 minutes were spent people watching on a bench in St. Patrick’s Park after which we found a pub to grab a bite to eat and something to drink.
At 16.30 we went back to the cathedral. If you’ve seen cathedrals before than St. Patrick’s Cathedral won’t show you anything new. Two facts worth mentioning though are that Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, was the deacon of the cathedral and that Handel played his Messiah on the cathedral’s organ. With another 1,5 hours to kill before dinner we walked around Temple Bar some more and had a fantastic dinner at local hotspot Saba which is a Thai restaurant on Clarendon Street.
Day 7 & 8:
There isn’t much I can say about Day 7. All I did was shop while my friend visited Christ Church’s Cathedral. I hit up Pennys (the Irish version of Primark), Top Shop, Forever 21 and New Look. We had drinks at THE Temple Bar in Temple Bar and had a real pub dinner at a pub just off O’Connell Bridge.
Day 8 was slightly more eventful. We had packed our bags the night before as today would be the day we’d be leaving lovely Dublin. At 7.30 the fire alarm was set off at the hotel making for a not so nice start, but hey we had to get up on time for check out anyway so it didn’t really matter to us. We had breakfast at a coffee place around the corner of the hotel and visited the Dublin Writer’s Museum. Here you can find out about all the great writers Ireland has produced, from James Joyce to George Bernard Shaw, from Bram Stoker to W.B. Yeats as well as Oscar Wilde, the aforementioned Jonathan Swift and many of their contemporaries.
The museum only took about 1 hour to visit, but they did have a great little book shop in the back where I bought a Gothic novel called Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin. It’s basically about a man who sells his soul to the devil, is imprisoned by the Spanish Inquisition and ends up in a lunatic asylum. Should be a good read methinks!
After the museum we bought some final souvenirs for our families and headed back to the airport around 1 o’clock. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare so I went into some of the shops and now have another book for my wishlist (One Day by David Nichols) and bought the Daisy perfume by Marc Jacobs which was on sale at the airport shop. With that final bout of shopping we got on the plane and arrived in Holland safe and sound after an uneventful flight.
If you ever thought of visiting Dublin and are doubting whether you should go: GO! It’s a really great little city. It has a lot to offer, makes for great walking and shopping and the food is great and definitely not expensive. The only annoying thing are the obnoxious traffic lights that turn green, then immediately switch to orange and it takes forever until you are allowed to cross. My favorite things: the walk around Howth, Kilmainham Gaol, the whiskey tasting at Jameson and Dublin Castle. In short: it was definitely worthwhile.