VOV: Dublin, Ireland

Thursday, July 28, 2022

We decided to have an early dinner in the Lido and go to the early show in the main stage. The Lido was featuring a Dutch corner. I got a plate of bitterballen and some cheese. And, in the fruit section, I found a huge container of cherries. Both the Dutch food and the cherries were a great surprise.

Tonight’s performer was a comedian named Chris Pendleton. We typically go to the late show because it is not as crowded as the earlier show, but our tour in Dublin was starting early. The comedian was a woman from South Carolina. We thought she was very funny. I’m glad we went as she said she was leaving the ship in Dublin, and this was her only performance evening.

We went to a set of the Ocean Bar band. We recognized a couple on the dance floor from our South Pacific cruise. We had not seen them before now, so we assumed they had embarked in Rotterdam. When Chuck spoke with them, they said “yes” they had been that cruise and they had embarked in Rotterdam. Turns out that they had been on a river cruise and were taking this ship back to Boston to come home. Beats another transatlantic flight.

They make the fourth couple we know from the South Pacific cruise and there is one couple from the December Caribbean cruise. Cruising can be a small world.

Got up at 5:00. Breakfast was delivered at 6:00. Today is a tender port and we had to meet at the main stage at 7:00. In 2019, we were able to dock in an industrial port.

We were on another HAL tour today – “Dublin Highlights.” The last time we were here we took a HOHO bus around Dublin so I knew we would be seeing most, if not all, of the same sites. However, this tour featured a visit to the Book of Kells in Trinity College. You can see the Book on your own, but you have to get an appointment. This tour guaranteed we would get to see it. The description:

Head into the heart of bustling Dublin — Ireland’s capital city — rich in history and surprisingly energetic.

panoramic drive through the wide streets brings you to the Customs House on the north bank of the River Liffey. Many mid-18th-century public buildings grace this area and Dublin’s south side.

At Trinity College, you’ll visit the library that holds the famous Book of Kells — a hand-illuminated manuscript of the gospels. Your sightseeing tour of the city continues past Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares, the National Gallery and the wonderful St Stephen’s Green. You will see Dublin Castle, City Hall, Christ Church Cathedral and St Patrick’s Cathedral.

At Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest enclosed public park, view the homes of Ireland’s president and the US Ambassador.

Along the River Liffey, you’ll see the Four Courts (Ireland’s courts of justice) and the International Financial Services Centre before returning to the ship.

Guests who wish to stay in town to shop or explore independently are welcome to do so but must make their own way back to the ship.

Was kind of rough waters in the tender but not as bad as the day in Djupivogur, Iceland. We were escorted to the bus and we were quickly on our way. We were all surprised that there was very little traffic. The guide said she thought it was because schools were out for the summer, and many people were still working from home.

She told us that a lot of new jobs in technology, pharmaceuticals, and finance were being created in Ireland, especially Dublin, because of the excellent Internet coverage and tax advantages. However, it had caused a housing shortage in Dublin. Companies, such as Google, were buying up houses and building apartments just for their current and future employees.

As we drove past important places of Dublin including, but not limited to, Ambassador Row, the statue of Oscar Wilde, the National Gallery of Ireland, and the Irish Flame – a monument to the Irish lost in the peace-keeping efforts by the United Nations, the guide kept up a non-stop commentary about the sites we were seeing.

We had a photo stop in front of some original Georgian homes. The guide said that wrought iron was invented in Dublin. The houses all looked alike but the doors were different so if the man of the house came home drunk, he could recognize his house.

We stopped for a photo and restroom break at Phoenix Park / Botanical Gardens. The park was created for the King to hunt deer but was soon turned into protected land. There are approximately 500 deer who reside in the park. We had time to walk through the kitchen garden. Growing all sorts of fruits and vegetables, along with flowers.

We saw the cross that in 1979 Pope John Paul officiated a mass. We passed by the Guiness Factory, once the largest employer but now have more robots than workers. We passed over the River Liffey and saw the home of the President of Ireland.

Our last stop was Trinity College. The bus dropped us off and the guide showed us where it would pick us up. We lined up at our designated waiting area until it was time to go in. I noticed a sign notifying people that all tickets had sold out for that day. If you hadn’t pre-ordered a ticket, you were out of luck.

The guide said we had an hour and a half to see the Book exhibit and the Old Library. If we finished early, there were gift shops, etc. near the bus.

We first went inside a large room that had information and paintings on the wall about the Book. It was crowded but not overwhelming.

Facts about the Book of Kells (provided by Trinity College brochure and information from the guide):

Created by Early Christian monks around 800 AD.

It is an illuminated manuscript written in Latin containing the four gospels of the New Testament.

Regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure.

Pages are made from vellum (calf-skin prepared for writing). Writing instruments were peacock feathers.

Arsenic sulphide was used to produce a vibrant yellow-gold pigment. Other colors were made from vegetables and fruit.

A three-dimensional effect was created in parts of the Book by layering pigments on top of a ground layer.

They change the pages on exhibit every three months.

We were eventually allowed to enter the room with the Book. It, of course, was under glass and there was a guard in the room. Nobody was allowed to take any photos. I thought the crowd was polite, letting everyone get a turn at admiring the Book. Outside of the room, there was a copy of the book so people could take a photo to show the dimensions of it.

I thought this gorgeous piece of history was fascinating.

Our next stop was The Long Room which is the main chamber of the Old Library. It is approximately 213 feet in length and is filled with over 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books and are still in use for students and scholars. It was also the model for the Great Room in Hogwarts (if you don’t know what Hogwarts is, please read all the Harry Potter books – you won’t be disappointed).

Facts about the Long Room (provided by Trinity College brochure and the guide):

The barrel-vaulted ceiling was added to allow space for more books when existing shelves became full.

Lining the central walkway of the Long Room are marble busts of famous philosophers and writers. The first bust was commissioned in 1743.

Included in the collections on permanent display is a copy of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the 15th Century ‘Brian Boru’ harp – Ireland’s national symbol.

Famous readers have included Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and Bram Stoker.

As a lover of books, I was very impressed with this Library.

It seemed too soon that our time was up, and we had to make our way back to the bus. I would have liked to have found a Book of Kells ornament, but none were to be found.

We arrived back to the port area at 1:00. We were the last ones on the waiting tender so that was nice. We didn’t have to sit on a bobbing tender waiting for it to fill up. The water was still rough and we hit one wave that it splashed through one of the open windows. Got some unfortunate people wet but not me.

We dropped our backpacks off in the room and headed for lunch in the Lido. Then Chuck, who had been yawning all morning, laid down for a nap. I got our dirty laundry ready to send out and worked on more photos. The afternoon flew by.


Travel Trivia

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin was established as a Viking settlement in the 10th century and, despite a number of attacks by the native Irish, it remained largely under Viking control until the Norman invasion of Ireland was launched from Wales in 1169.

Dublin’s sheltered location on the east coast makes it the driest place in Ireland.

The Dublin City Council manages over 3,700 acres of parks. The Phoenix Park is about 2 miles west of the city center, north of the River Liffey. Its 10-mile perimeter wall encloses 1,750 acres, making it one of the largest walled city parks in Europe. It includes large areas of grassland and tree-lined avenues, and since the 17th century has been home to a herd of wild fallow deer.

Dublin is the largest center of education in Ireland and is home to four universities and several other higher education institutions. Its University of Dublin is the oldest university in Ireland, dating from the 16th century, and is in the city center.

Dublin has a significant literary history, and produced many literary figures, including Nobel laureates William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. Other influential writers and playwrights include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and Bram Stoker.

Handel’s classic “Messiah” was premiered for the first time on 13 April 1742 in Dublin at the New Music Hall in Fishamble Street. It received its London premiere almost a year later.

Dublin’s Oldest Traffic Light is situated beside the Renault garage in Clontarf. The light, which is still in full working order, was installed in 1893 outside the home of Fergus Mitchell who was the owner of the first car in Ireland.

Dublin has the youngest population in all of Europe. Approximately 50-percent of the population is less than 25-years of age. The legal drinking age is 18 and Dubliners drink a total of 9800 pints an hour between the hours of 5.30 pm on a Friday and 3.00 am the following Monday.

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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