On our way back to Dublin we stopped for a tour of Nowth and Newgrange. These ancient burial sites are older than the pyramids! It is a Neolithic passage grave, and Knowth contains more than a third of the total number of examples of megalithic art in all of Western Europe. Most of these are found on kerbstones.
At Newgrange we got to go inside the burial chamber. On the winter solstice, the sun perfectly aligns with the entrance to the chamber and the sun illuminates the inside for 9 min. Only a few bodies were found in Newgrange, where around 200 bodies weee found at Knowth. One theory is that the people at Newgrange were elevated to God like status, kind of like pharaohs.
We then finished the drive to Dublin and Rusty was happy to park the car in the garage and put away his keys for a few days. Our Airbnb was AMAZING. It was called “The Curve.” It was a corner apartment and all the surfaces were curved. The walls, the doors, the furniture. It was all bold colors and the view was STUNNING. Blake took one for the team and slept on an air mattress in the living room/ kitchen. That meant everyone had their own bedroom space. It was so nice! When it wasn’t raining (so not often) it was fun to go watch the Viking Tours go by on the canal below. We were also treated each morning to a big rowing team full of older folks. So fun.
The first morning Halle and I got up and walked to Lidls. It was a bit further away than we hoped, so we only made it once. But we stocked up on Digestives, Kinder eggs, salami and baguettes, and of course, orange Fanta. It was a fun way to explore the city a bit before the boys were even out of bed.
Our first day of Dublin adventures included Dublin castle (we could have skipped), Christ Church Cathedral, churros, ha’penny bridge, Kilmainham Goal, and Phoenix park.
Christ Church was just stunning. One of my favorite cathedrals I’ve seen! We learned that Hansel’s Messiah was performed for the very first time in that cathedral. It also houses a mummified cat and rat that were found in the organ pipes. They are affectionately referred to as “Tom and Jerry.”
We also saw the Irish Magna Carta. Ireland was the first country after England to receive the document, but it did not extend its legal protections to Irish people. Only English. A scribe copied the Magna Carta, but changed all the parts pertaining to England and made them about Ireland. Although it was never recognized by the British Crown, it remains on Irish Statue books to this day.
Kilmainham Goal had some fascinating History about the Easter uprising and the many political leaders who were held and executed there. I am always so reverenced by people who are willing to fight and give up their own lives for a cause that is bigger and greater than themselves. What heroes.
Although the tour was interesting, it was also long and packed with people and our tour guide wasn’t nearly loud enough. At one point Blake and Josh were horsing around and the tour guide got after them and told them to “show a little respect.” I think she was a little out of line, but they quieted down. A bit later Blake started messing with Josh again, and Josh told him to stop so they wouldn’t get in trouble again. Blake looked so perplexed and said, “When did we get in trouble the first time??” He had not heard the tour guide and had no idea. We were cracking up.
Phoenix park was large and beautiful. We kept saying how awesome it was that they probably never had to water any of that lush green grass because of all the rain.
We took a taxi and met Rusty at….. and had Asian fusion for dinner and played at the Lego store. Rusty got pooped on by a seagull on his walk over. Now is probably a good time to mention that there are approximately one million seagulls in Dublin.
We finished the evening with some gelato as we walked back to the apartment.
The next day we went to Trinity College to see the book of Kells. This is a beautifully illustrated book containing the 4 gospels. Ireland says it is its greatest cultural treasure. It was beautiful to see, but as it is displayed behind glass, we could only see two pages. There was a great presentation where we could also see more of the pages and learn about its history.
The Long Library at Trinity College is exquisite. Row upon row of beautiful old books. Halle said it smelled like heaven. They were in the middle of cleaning and refurbishing while we were there so many of the shelves were empty. I can only imagine how incredible it is to see all the shelves full. (Google pic is with the shelves all full)
Also on display was one of the only remaining copies of the Proclamation of 1916 that established the provisional government. One line reads, “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.” Chills. The Irish people have gone through so much to gain their freedoms and establish independence from England.
We hopped on a double decker bus and went to meet Rusty for lunch at Google. The Dublin office is so cool! Rusty’s favorite part is that there is a machine to make fresh orange juice. And also a station filled with fruits and veggies for juicing. We loved exploring the Dublin office. And the views from the top 😍😍.
After lunch we went to the Irish Immigration museum. It was really powerful. The famine, political unrest, desire for a better life have led so many Irish to emigrate. Also, they had a display on how AI was perpetuating negative Irish stereotypes that was really thought provoking.