A week to visit Dublin

A week to visit Dublin !

I worked in Ireland 🇮🇪 where I developed tourist itineraries for a receptive agency. During my stay as an expat I had time to discover the emblematic monuments of Dublin.

When my boyfriend came to visit me for a few days in Dublin I was able to take him around the city! This is the story of our week in Dublin, the capital and historical, political, artistic, cultural and economic centre of Ireland.

A week to visit Dublin : Visit to Trinity College and the Book of Kells

From day one, we visited Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university and one of the most famous in the world. It was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I.

Today, they study nanotechnology, computer science, immunology, mathematics, engineering, psychology and political, human and social sciences. The Trinity College library is a legal deposit library, which means that the university is legally entitled to one copy of every book published in Ireland. As a result, its collection consists of approximately seven million printed books and manuscripts. This makes it the largest research library in Ireland.
During this visit, I was able to admire the old library of the establishment which houses the Book of Kells, a decorative manuscript of the eighth or ninth century, which contains a text in Latin of the four Gospels written with magnificent calligraphy and superb illuminations, made with coloured pigments. It is believed that the Book of Kells was created by the monks of Iona in the early 9th century.
On the other hand, there was a crazy world to discover this marvel, which looks a bit like a grimoire. In addition, the book is extremely protected but you could read the pages adorned with magnificent red and gold illuminations!

Walk on O’Connell Street

After our visit, we walked on O’Connell Street. This large avenue lined with shops and historic monuments is famous thanks to Daniel O’Connell, “The liberator”!
O’Connell Street is one of Dublin’s main avenues. The street begins at the River Liffey, on the O’Connell Bridge and ends at Parnell Street. It is one of the widest streets in Europe with its 49 meters wide. We took the opportunity to shop in the shops of the city. The street is also known for the iconic monument The Spire : a gigantic needle that rises to 120 meters. It was built in 2003 at the site of the Nelson’s Pillar monument, which was destroyed in one of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) attacks.
When we arrived, the street was crowded! Before we started our shopping, we stopped in front of a donut shop. I had never seen such beautiful donuts! When I went inside this pastry, we could smell the different scents of desserts! There were a lot of choices and as a good gourmet, we had donuts with hazelnut cream!

In addition, this avenue includes the Dublin Central Post Office, built in 1818, which is considered one of the iconic landmarks of O’Connell Street. This building is of great historical value because it is the place where the Republic of Ireland was proclaimed after the 1916 revolt.

Brazen Head and Temple Bar bars

Then, at lunch, we all ate together at the Brazen Head restaurant, which is right next to the Temple Bar area. When you see the restaurant, it looks like you’re come into a small castle with these walls but at the same time, it looks like a prison with these bars! When we walked in, a waiter came by, and we could smell hot dishes like Irish Stew or Fish and Chips.

We listen to typical Irish music: joyful and festive. While reaching out, we could also hear the sounds of heels! Wanting to get a closer look, we approached and discovered a group of musicians and 3 dancers dressed in dresses who danced the Ceili Dancing which is the traditional Irish dance!

We also had a drink with friends in the Temple Bar area, a tourist area known for its nightlife, restaurants and pubs. One of the oldest pubs in Dublin 🇮🇪 is the Temple Bar, named after Sir William Temple (1628-1699), former rector of Trinity College. During this outing, I tasted my first Guinness! I didn’t like the taste at all! This stout is strangely solid and the foam is very thick! But I loved the atmosphere of the bar!

Visit to Dublin Castle

After our lunch-concert, my boyfriend and I took the direction of Dublin Castle 🇮🇪 . This building is very impressive because of its size and the richness of its furnishings and decorations!

When you enter into it, you discover the Landing of the Axes of War, it made me shiver in the back when I saw these weapons. Fortunately, they are protected and a window separates us! Dublin Castle served as a refuge for the Vikings, then a military fortress, a royal residence, the seat of the Irish Court of Justice and the seat of the English administration in Ireland. The castle ceased to be used by the government in 1922, when Ireland became an independent state. The castle was then used for ceremonies including the investitures of presidents.

Today, it is a place of celebration to receive the visits of State, but it is also a tourist attraction, that it is possible to discover by carrying out a guided tour in English of 45 minutes. As I lived with a hosting family in Dunboyne, I spent the night with them.

Visit of the Christchurch Cathedral

The next day, head for the Christchurch Cathedral! When you arrive at your destination, you notice a magnificent garden just in front of the building! I wanted to linger there to smell the flowers, make beautiful pictures and enjoy the view of the grass pricked with pink and yellow.
Entering the interior, one observes large and magnificent vaults that make the charm of this Cathedral! Christ Church is the oldest Protestant cathedral in Dublin. It is also the cathedral with the largest crypt in the British Isles, 63.4 metres long.

The cathedral was originally a small wooden sanctuary created by the Viking king Sitric in 1038. Then, in 1172 , the construction of the present stone church began, a process that lasted until the thirteenth century. Renovated in the early 2000s, it is now open to visitors. The crypt contains many funerary monuments.

Visit of the Dublinia Museum

The ChristChurch Cathedral is connected to another building, thanks to a covered bridge decorated with small stained glass windows! Intrigued, I went with my boyfriend to this building, which is actually the Dublinia Museum!

This site tells the story of Dublin in the days of the Vikings and the Middle Ages! Entering the interior, we are greeted by a model of a real-size Viking boat. The reproduction of the drakkar is really impressive! We saw an exhibition with models in costumes, reconstructions of Viking boats and walking in the museum, we could listen, thanks to an audio-guide, the life of the Vikings at that time: We heard the sea, the boats, the war between Viking clans!

Dublinia opened in 1993, it is an interactive exhibition of the history of Dublin 🇮🇪 , with reconstructions of daily life scenes in life size. The tour is divided into two distinct parts: Dublin Viking and Dublin Medieval.

In the first part, Dublin Viking, it is possible to discover the lifestyle of the Vikings by come into their homes and boats to listen to their poetic works, try on their clothes, become a Viking warrior or a slave. In Medieval Dublin: We can see the houses of rich merchants of Dublin in medieval times or stroll through the dirty streets of Dublin a few hundred years ago.

Are you interested in the Viking period? Visit their website to learn more about it!

Walk in Phoenix Park

The next day we spent the day walking and enjoying nature! We admired the park, all flowered and took pictures! To close the day, we visited the Phoenix Park Zoo! We were able to observe a lion that looked quite ferocious, monkeys that climbed everywhere, rhinos that rolled in the mud, cheetahs, giraffes and many other animals! In this zoo, we heard all kinds of noises, the chirping of the birds, the roaring of the lions or the howling of the monkeys , I felt like I was in the jungle!

Phoenix Park is the largest urban park in Europe with 712 hectares. It was created in 1662 to serve as a hunting reserve populated with deer and was redeveloped to open its doors to the public in 1745. The park consists of large lawns, tree-lined avenues and wooded areas. There are also sports fields for polo and cricket. It is also home to a herd of wild deer. Inside the park are, among others:

the official residence of the Irish President; the Wellington Monument, a 62-metre-high obelisk in memory of the Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo; the Papal Cross, a large cross planted for the visit of Pope JohnPaul II in Dublin in 1979 at the foot of which he celebrated a Mass; the Dublin Zoo 🇮🇪: one of the oldest zoos in the world which was inaugurated in 1830, when it had only a wild boar.

Visit of St Patrick’s Cathedral

St Patrick’s Cathedral is a magnificent stone building with two shades of grey! Erected in honour of the patron saint of Ireland, the cathedral, which is the largest church in Ireland, was built next to a well in which St Patrick baptized the converts around the year 450. In 1191, the Normans built a stone church in the same place. It was rebuilt in the 13th century to give birth to the current building. In addition to being the largest church in Dublin, St Patrick’s is one of the most important churches in Dublin.

When we came inside, we were impressed to see these vaults and flags floating in the altar of the Cathedral. Then we went to the Garden of the Cathedral which was all flowery! We smelled the perfume of these flowers, Spring was there! We stopped to rest and take some pictures of this cathedral with its beautiful garden!

St Patrick

To tell you the story of Saint Patrick : he was born in England at the end of the 4th century. At 16, in 405, he is taken prisoner by Scots and they sell him as a slave in Ireland. After 6 years of captivity, he managed to escape and left the country for England. After crossing the English border, Patrick had a revelation: in a dream, an angel would have asked him to return to Ireland as a missionary of God. At that time, Patrick’s mission was to convert the Irish to Christianity. He died on March 17, 461 and to mark the anniversary of his death, St Patrick’s Day began to be celebrated every year on March 17th.

During my stay in Ireland, I had the chance to celebrate St Patrick’s Day! On March 17, 2018, armed with our green hats and our Irish flags, we admired the St Patrick’s Day parade! It took place on O’Connell Street and then wandered the main streets of Dublin! Despite the huge crowd, I could see the parade with a green Renault car, hand-made creations life size and concerts where we danced until no time!

Shopping on Grafton Street

The next day, before my boyfriend left for France, we went shopping on Grafton Street to buy souvenirs.

As we walked along the avenue, we saw a woman dancing to the rhythm of the music played by a violinist right behind her! A few meters away, a man was singing! In short, you are not likely to get bored in this street where you find in addition to street artists, a whole bunch of shops (clothes, souvenirs, grocery store etc.).

His name comes from the Duke of Grafton who owned the land. There is a statue of Molly Malone at the corner of Nassau Street, dating from the late 20th century. She was a street vendor who sold fish on her wagon during the day and prostituted herself at night. She inspired a nice ballad “Molly Malone”.

I hope my logbook has inspired you to visit Ireland! We will publish a next article about my trip to the west of Ireland 🇮🇪: the Connemara, Galway and the Cliffs of Moher. See you soon, Subscribe to our newsletter!… And as always, be curious!

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