Thursday, September 10, 2015

Day 2 - Dublin

Italics are tour description.

4th September 2015: HALF DAY TOUR TO NEWGRANGE AND A WALKING TOUR OF THE CITY. After your full Irish breakfast this morning, at 9am you will meet your driver/guide for a half day tour to Newgrange. Your visit includes entrance to the visitor centre and a scheduled guided tour of the 4,500 year old portal tombs on the site. There is no better introduction to Ireland’s incredible history and during your Irish experience your driver/guide will narrate 10.000 years of history and culture bringing alive the heritage and character of our great country. 

 You will return to Dublin before 1pm and there will be time for an optional lunch. At 2.30pm you will meet an expert local guide for a 3 hour walking tour. Your tour will focus on the highlights of the city centre and give an informed and fun perspective of life and history in Ireland’s capital. The walking tour will end at 5.30pm back at your hotel or elsewhere in the city centre (you can discuss with your guide if you’d like to finish up in Temple Bar or another part of the city where you can explore further on your own or have an early dinner). 

September 4, 2015 - Dublin Ireland


Full Irish breakfast at the Shelbourne - delicious. The weather - cool and a slight chance of rain.

Waiting in the lobby

We meet our driver, Mick, at 9AM in the lobby for the drive to Newgrange. John and I had been here before but toured it on our own.
Newgrange is considered to be older than Stonehenge, which the four of us had visited in 2010. Click here for that visit.

We go to Newgrange and the next tour was at 11AM so Mick got our tickets and then took us to the Battle of the Boyne site.

The Battle of the Boyne was fought between King William III and his father-in-law King James II on 1 July 1690. The kings were rival claimants to the English, Scottish and Irish thrones. Protestant King William (of Orange) had deposed Catholic King James in 1688.

Newgrange is the best known Irish passage tomb and dates to c.3,200BC. The large mound is approximately 80m in diameter and is surrounded at its base by a kerb of 97 stones. The most impressive of these stones is the highly decorated Entrance Stone.

No photography is allowed inside the tomb.

The entry stone at Newgrange. Archaeologists think the original builders had those who wished to enter the tomb climb over the stone, letting it represent the barrier between life and death, between the physical and the spirit world.

In modern times, we get to climb over on a stairway. Note the opening above the main opening - that's for the sun's light at Winter Solstice.

No amount of description could prepare you for the tight, cramped and for some, claustrophobic 
it was going to be. The guide is fascinating and uses a flashlight to demonstrate how the sunlight would appear on the winter solstice.

Some quick shots from the car as w drive back into Dublin. We plan on revisiting some of these later.

Back in Dublin we grab a quick lunch at the Shelbourne before heading out on a walking tour.

Our guide, Roisin from Pat Lindy Tours was a university student and just an abundance of knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject.

This is listed as a three hour walking tour. Knowing Dublin as I do, I am surprised that it is so long. But boy, was I amazed at what we covered. And we never even made it across the Liffey to the south side, Four Courts, GPO or O'Connell St.

We had a leisurely meaander  as we wove through the streets and lanes of Dublin covering history from the Vikings to ghosts. Castles to churches.

We head across the street to St. Stephen's Green.

Grafton St. is always a source of entertainment - busker style.

The girls - strolling.

It is a pedestrian mall lined with high and low scale shops.

Inside Powerscourt, mentioned in the Day 1 post. Powerscourt Townhouse Centre is just steps from Grafton Street in the heart of Dublin city centre. It is an historical building, having served as Lord Powerscourt’s townhouse and courtyard in the 18th Century.

Dublin Castle was until 1922 the seat of the United Kingdom government's administration in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex. Most of it dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland. The Castle served as the seat of English, then later British government of Ireland under the Lordship of Ireland (1171–1541), the Kingdom of Ireland (1541–1800), and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1800–1922).

After the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921, the complex was ceremonially handed over to the newly formed Provisional Government led by Michael Collins.

Justice is not always blind...

Heading to the cafe for coffees.

Refortified, more strolling.

 Statue of George Frideric Handel, Messiah was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.

The statue is behind the remains of the doorway (below), which stands alongside what's now the Handel Hotel.

HMMM perched on some organ pipes with his, er, kit off. I don't think the maestro would appear in public without his wig, let alone his clothes, and he certainly wasn't that athletic. And if we're going to get all technical, he probably wouldn't even have conducted with a baton.

Onto other mattes of the would. The mural on its Essex Street facade is a concrete mural by artist Grace Weir, looks quite like a nautical chart that the Vikings would use.

Temple Bar Meeting House Square

Meeting House Square’s cover is the first of its kind in Ireland. The bespoke design comprises of four 21-metre high steel structures, each of which supports an asymmetric tilted umbrella, measuring approximately 11m by 14m. The closed umbrellas are elegant slim objects of sculptural beauty, with the canopy fabric encapsulated by the umbrella arms, inspired by bulrushes, reaching for the sky. Opening within approximately 12 minutes, the four synchronised umbrellas overlap like flowers to provide a continuous cover for Meeting House Square, the heart of outdoor cultural activity in Dublin.

Heading back to Trinity College

Campanile in the main yard at Trinity College.

Statue of Provost Salmon, who said that women would be admitted to Trinity over his dead body, then was forced to sign a statute allowing them in. When he did so, he said that he had signed with his hand, but not with his heart. A short time later he died of a heart attack. The story goes that he was buried at the entrance used by the women students, forcing them to step over his body. This is not true, where he is buried, just makes for a more interesting story.

Our tour ended around 6PM  and we wandered back to the hotel where we had drinks in the Horse Shoe Bar and then had dinner in the restaurant.

The Horseshoe Bar has seen it all down through the years. The bar’s name derives from the shape of its counter – that of a horseshoe – although some think it is through a long association with the racing and hunting set who often sat around the bar counter discussing the form and guessing the odds.


  1. George has the look of the humourless grouch he must have been.

    What a magnificent city to tour- and the tomb is a place I've heard of many a time. I'd love to see it myself.

  2. Dublin looks just like I imagine it to be, rather nice. A three hour walking tour sounds long but if such a walk is well paced, then most people can manage. I see the good citizens of Dublin are rather fond of hanging baskets of flowers too, as in you home country.

  3. Hello Jackie, looks like you are having a fabulous tour of Dublin. I have never been , even though this is my mothers home town. thank you for sharing,


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