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Published: October 9th 2011
The Tara Brooch
An eighth century brooch found in County Meath. Surprisingly sophisticated with gold wire and gold strips with amber and enamel.
Days 16 and 17
Goodbye to Dublin, Goodbye to Ireland.
We have one full day left here on the Emerald Isle: tomorrow we leave for London. We spend most of the day at the wonderful National Museum of Ireland, Archaeology. The Museum is set up on a time line that helps us put into perspective all that we have seen: Newgrange; The Hill of Tara; The Grange Ringfort; The Rathurles/Kennedy Ringfort, Church, and Castle Keep; The Treasury Exhibit; Hill of Slane; Monasterboice; The Book of Kells; Rock of Cashel; Trim Castle; The Yellow Steeple ; Cahir Castle; Ormond Castle; Kilkenny Castle; Cobh and The Dunbrody Famine Ship; and everywhere signs and information are in English and Irish- that once forbidden language.
However, the most impressive part of the museum for us is the display developed from the excavations of Viking Era Dublin. The Vikings arrived about 800 AD, and began raiding the monasteries for loot and slaves. Subsequently, the Irish learned to build Round Towers, or Castle Keeps, to frustrate invader attacks, and High Crosses of stone that could not be burnt or easily carried away from monastaries and churches.
After all the slaughter , pillage, slavery, and
Broighter Gold Collar 1st Century BC
From the Broighter Hoard, items displayed here, discovered by a poughman in 1896.
brutal mayhem, the Vikings settled down in Ireland and, in a country that was overwhelmingly rural, began building towns. Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Wexford all trace their beginning to the Vikings. In the three centuries of Viking domination, Ireland made a right turn into technology. The display of relics from the Dublin excavations from the 1960's - 80's is vast and surprising: fish traps, scissors, locks and keys, advanced weaponry, and surprisingly modern looking shoes. Even clothing that was woven in parts and sewn together to make the whole can be displayed because it was preserved in the bogs. (No, we didn't see the bog bodies-couldn't find them and all the guards were asleep--really.) But as the Vikings settled down, they began to fight amongst themselves and simultaneously, with the power of the Irish High King splintered, the Irish were fighting amongst themselves. Soon it was Viking vs Irish, Viking vs Viking, and Irish vs Irish. And now, Gentle Readers, for The Grand Finale: the Vikings were defeated in 1014 at the battle of Clontarf by Irish High King Brian Boru, who, through ancient genealogical records (these are good it is the newer ones that are missing) and DNA
The Tiny Gold Boat
We loved this tiny boat with its delicate oars. Displayed with the Broighter Collar.
testing, is ....wait for it...John’s great grand dad. We have completed yet another circle and I couldn't even have planned this if I tried. There will be a big celebration in Dublin in 2014 to celebrate the Battle of Clontarf and John is already gearing up for our return--sharpening his broadsword, even.
Thus we come to the end of the Viking Age in Ireland, and after a lovely lunch in the cafe, the end of our trip to the museum. We are tired, we have laundry to collect, and we need to reorganize our luggage from travelling functionality to going through security functionallity for our flight to London. So we leave for another visit, many more sites to explore.
Our last night in Dublin is spent at O’Neill's and much to our surprise we have stumbled into Arthur’s Day. There is loud music playing over the de regeur bad sound system above our heads and, despite having to shout to each other if we want to be heard, the dinner is excellent, the people are friendly, and, after all, it is Ireland.
dawns fine and clear. We have arranged for a taxi cab to the
The Corleck Head
Probably an idol, the stone head has three faces. About this time we noticed the "No Photography" images. Oops.
airport and the driver is funny and friendly....in fact, all over Ireland people have been kind, witty, and welcoming. Despite what people have told us, Dublin airport is easy. We have time to shop the Duty Free Loop, and have one last lunch of lovely Irish smoked salmon with a celebratory glass of champagne.
Leaving, we can see The Emerald isle below us--few clouds today--and the pilot points out The Aran Islands. Even though I am looking forward to England, we are sad to leave Ireland.
Tonight will find us in The Vicarage Hotel, Kensington, London, and at dinner with Cousin Roger.
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