Friday, August 23, 2013
Day 22 - A Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour of Dublin
We love Ireland and have traveled here many times, but surprisingly we have rarely spent time in its capital city Dublin. Since we knew our Aer Lingus flight from Nice would not arrive in time for a same day connection to Boston, we decided to book two nights here before heading home.
In major cities all over Europe, hop on - hop off buses or boats are very popular. We decided to try one for the first time ever and here in Dublin it was great. Our green double decker tour bus provided great views from the open top and we were so lucky because it was a bright sunny day here which is unusual here in Ireland. The driver gave quirky commentary and even sang for us. It was hilarious.
"About a thousand years ago the Vikings had a strong influence in Ireland. I recently found out my mother-in-law has Viking roots and she has the beard and horns to prove it!"
Our first stop was the Guinness Storehouse which was an amazing museum in the history of Guinness. We learned that Arthur Guinness got a 9,000 year deed to the property in the late 1700s and the family today didn't spare any expense when they created this showplace. As you walked through each step in the process, antique machines were side by side with vintage films. Technologqy was also used to help you visualize the inside of a boiling vat or a seed sorter. Guests were invited to step into vintage posters for a photo op. The top floor was a panoramic pub with floor to ceiling glass windows with a 360 degree view of the city. Everything the Guiness family did was first rate from real silverware and linen napkins in the cafe to a salmon appetizer they offered to guests to see how the flavor is enhanced by the Guinness. I had to agree it was and I'm not a beer drinker!
Next stop on the bus was the Book of Kells in Trinity College. Their display walked you through the history of bookmaking and I was surprised to learn the pages were made from calf's skin. Leaning over the glass case, we marveled at the vividly colorful illustrations and perfect handwriting of the pages on view. On the way out you walk through an old library with thousands of old books. It had floor to ceiling books with wooden ladders and iron spiral staircases from one level to the next. It's the type of place where you can smell the old books when you enter and I love that. At this time they are cleaning and preserving all the books for future generations.
Dinner tonight was in the Temple Bar area. Live music was everywhere with crowds drifting in and out of the pubs. Dublin has so much to offer that if you come here, you must book at least two full days to take it all in.