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Published: December 6th 2010
Dublin- Part Two
Although it has taken me forever to actually update this, I will now conclude my momentous journey to Dublin, with the story of my second day. The only downfall of staying in a hostel/hotel/anywhere that has to get ready for another guest is the fact that you have to be out of the bed/room/etc by an extremely early hour. This morning that hour was 9 a.m. and I am telling you it was torturous, although I did get breakfast (toast and tea). Due to my extremely early hour of rising, I had a good amount of time to wait until Hillary and Colleen stumbled down at around 11:30 a.m., looking relaxed and completely rested. Thankfully, being the clever student I am, I took the time to do homework (it is a little sad that I did homework in Ireland).
After some time languishing around the hostel, we finally set off to go on a free walking tour of Dublin. Now like me, I am sure that some of you are wondering how a company could actually survive by giving out free walking tours. The tour is actually run of a tip basis, so at the end
of the tour you are not required to pay for anything, but there is the guilt ridden message of: “if you enjoyed this tour, if it meant anything to you, please leave a tip to let me know.” Not very subtle, but extremely effective – I gave him 5 euro. The Walking tour was fantastic, brilliant, filled with bad jokes and interesting history. Disclaimer: this next section describes the walking tour and is filled with factoids about Dublin. If you are uninterested in history, kebabs, or how cold it was please skip to the end.
Ok now that that is out of the way, lets get started with the tour. I have tried to give you the pictures in the same order as we traveled, so follow along with those as well. We started the tour at the Dublin City Council Building, which wasn’t that interesting but was a nice central area wherein we were able to meet. We got a brief history of Ireland, from St. Patrick to the invasion of the Vikings to the invasion of the “bloody” English. We then traipsed over to the Castle of Dublin. Although this is a “castle” it is
lacking the grandiose grandeur of the ancient Norman Castles and cathedrals that are scattered around England and Ireland. In fact the main part of it was built in the 18th century. Really it was a center for English rule in Dublin and thus Ireland and truly represented the divide between the English administrators, and the Irish people.
One of the cool symbolic ways that this was shown was the stature of Lady Justice that presides over the courtyard of the castle. Normally, statuesque representations try to incorporate all of the cliché understandings about an ambiguous idea. Now just so we are on the same page, I am talking about the ideas that “justice is blind,” “justice is fair,” and that the scales of justice are not tipped in anyone’s favor. All of these things are not depicted in the statue of Justice in the Dublin Castle. First of all she faces the center of English Rule, and therefore focused primarily on the English cause, which also means that she has her back turned on the people of Dublin. Following this she is not blindfolded, and her scales are already tipped. (Ironically to modern day Dubliners, the scales are tipped
to favor the tax revenue office, which sits below her.) While the English might not have intended to display such a symbolic statue, it remains to this day a symbol for their oppression.
Oh, cool family history connection! After the Irish regained control of Ireland in 1922, Michael Collins (my relative through my mom/my mom’s mom) was handed control of Dublin Castle by the English. He however was 7 minutes late to the appointment and the current Viceroy of Ireland reminded him of this, he responded with “We've been waiting over seven hundred years, you can have the extra seven minutes.” I think that is all I know about this part of the castle, so follow me now over to the Record Tower.
Well now that I am back in the sun and sitting on a ledge, I am warm enough to take of my buff, which has been acing as a hat for the last 20 minutes. It is a chilly, chilly day but the sun is out so all is well - when we are not forced to stand in the shade. Now the record tower, as you can see, is actually old. It was built in
would you pay to walk it?
around 1228 (aka around the same time as the Magna Carta was signed) by King John (the bad guy in Robin Hood). So while England was taking the first steps to its modern day republic, Ireland was being fortified for 700 more years of English rule, ironic isn’t it.
The Record Tower for many years also served as a prison and like Alcatraz it has only had one escapee. I can’t really remember the entire story, but there was something about toes, wine, Elizabeth the 1st and sewers. Feel free to assuage your curiosity yourself but that is all I have for you. The Record Tower is connected to the Chapel Royal. This is a beautiful Chapel filled with dark wood benches and plush burgundy seats. However, it seemed strange to me that instead of Christian statues (figures of Saints and their ilk) there were the Lord Chamberlains of Ireland, basically every name from Thomas Cromwell to Winston Churchill line the walls, which is basically every person that has ever been hated in Ireland. It is a beautiful chapel but again I could help but to be struck by the negative image that this chapel must have presented to
the Irish people under English Rule. For a country that has been managing colonies for a long time, England did little to put a positive spin on its image.
From this point we went on to see several more sights in Dublin, one of which was Christ Church Cathedral. An absolutely beautiful Cathedral now occupies this ancient religious site with a spectacular organ in it. Fun story coming up! So back before the Guinness Family took over the Cathedral for maintenance and cleaning (for more information on the Guinness and how it is genius see post Dublin Part 1), there lived a cat. Let us call him Tom. There was also a rat, well perhaps there were many, many, many rats but for now we shall call him Jerry. (If you are unfamiliar with American cartoons, I apologize for the next 7-8 sentences.) Jerry as you well know was a clever rat, he could out run, out plot, out electrocute, out detonate, out mastermind Tom. However, on one fine day in Christ Church Cathedral Jerry decided that in order to out run Tom he would run up a vertical organ pipe that got narrower as it reached the top.
This turned out to be the day that Jerry’s cleverness failed him. As he was running and scampering up the pipe Tom decided to follow. Long epic chase scene later – both were caught in the pipe and died. Oh, but this is not the end, for during the restoration a construction worker stuck his hand up the pipe (leave your minds out of the gutter) and pulled out first Tom and then Jerry. In honor of their epic battle and extreme un-cleverness these two were stuffed and can still be seen in a display case in the Cathedral. Great story.
Moving on now to the Half-a-penny bridge. For years the bridges in Ireland were owned and operated by private citizens. On such man charged a half a penny a crossing. As such the bridge was named after him. He got the city of Dublin to agree for a lease of 99 years, when the bridges were publicized. Fortunately he is now dead because the cost of crossing the bridge (with inflation) would not be around 3 euro. Ridiculous.
We meandered down to Temple Bar and took a 15-minute break wherein we found the best, and I mean best,
kebab shop in all of Dublin. The naan for our falafel kebab was prepared in front of us, the chips were slated, and the falafel was not out of a bag. Our tabouli salad was freshly prepared. It was a sinful meal, which was literally the best thing I had eaten in Europe up to that point. After snarfing down this amazing meal we joined back up with the group and learned about the Irish potato famine, and the numerous people who died and emigrated during that time. Once again this day was ironic.
Not much else happened that day, besides Colleen climbing a tree. I flew home on Ryan air, which was an amazing alternative to the long, long ferry train ride to get to Dublin. It literally took me 45 minutes to get to Bristol. That is once I got on the plane, which was delayed for around an hour. Oh well at least I had a good book! All in all it was a great, great trip and I am thankful that Hillary Eggers convinced me to get out of Bristol and have fun being fancy free for a weekend! I should be updating again soon
Gotta love it. Actually you don't but in Ireland they do!
to tell you about the London, Devon, and London again. However it might have to wait until the holidays as I am as busy as a be in preparation to go home to Wausau to spend time with my family!
Seasons Greetings (Happy Hanukah!!!)
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