Hop On – Hop Off

Dublinhoponhopoff

Dublin university contains the cream of Ireland: Rich and thick.

Samuel Beckett

The Hop on-Hop off buses start right on our hotel’s doorstep, how lucky are we? I had a whole list of things I wanted to see today, we got through about one third or them, travelling with a senior citizen means I need to modify my speed… quite a bit 😉
If you’re going to Dublin and wondering if a visit to Trinity College is worth it, I would absolutely say ‘yes’, but make sure you get the 30 min guided tour for 10 euros, rather than just going to see the Book of Kells (which costs 9 euros alone). We got a very comprehensive tour, for such a short timeslot, by a post grad student at the College, Dani (“This tour is on Trip Advisor. If you like it, my name’s Dani… If you don’t like it, it’s Michelle.”).

Dublindani

Dani the guide

She was incrdibly knowledgeable and funny and showed us the best parts of this very living university space. It’s a place full of history, tidbits and trivia and it would be a shame to miss it.

Dublintrinityentrance

Entrance to the Trinity College

I envied the students of Trinity a bit while strolling around the grounds in the bright sunshine… I understand that everything looks nice in great weather and all, but the Trinity College grounds really were beautiful and a perfect place for someone who loves old buildings and historical architecture.

Dublinburke

Statue of Burke at the entrance

Dublincoldsmith

Statue of Coldsmith by the entrance

Dublintrinity3

Trinity College

Trinity College

Trinity College

Dani’s final bit of guiding was done outside the Berkeley Library where she showed us a piece of art donated by the artist WhatsHisFaceICantRemember, named by the students: “The Zombie Pacman”

The Zombie Pacman

The Zombie Pacman

There is a theory that the sculpture represents technology growing too fast and ripping the natural world apart from the inside, but I kind of fancy the Zombie Pacman myself…

The Book of Kells is a very quick affair and I think, to be quite honest, you’ll be a bit disappointed if you pay 9 euros to see only that. The benefit is you don’t stand in line for long, but the downside is, well, the speed of the visit.

The line outside was quickly done with

The line outside was quickly done with

You can spend a bit of time in there reading all the plaques and information, but even for me this could easily turn into a tedious affair. Most of the information I had already read before coming anyway, so the room leading up to the Book of Kells had only a couple of the older books on display that were of interest to me. (Dani had more interesting information on hand, telling us that they used to turn the pages of the Book of Kells every day, but after conservationists put a stop to that they now turn a page of the book only every three months. As Dani said: “a crack team of expert page turners close the centre down for THREE days every three months…”. I’ve fallen in love with the Irish sarcasm) 😉 Seeing the book itself was not magical, but that was because of the amount of tourists around me at the time, tends to drown the historical atmosphere a bit… After the “book room” you take the stairs to the old library where (again, according to Dani) the books number several hundred thousand and are available to the students of the college. No one ever uses it however, because they’re all stacked by size(!)

The library

The library

Old books on display

Old books on display

Busts of the great philosophers all along the aisles

Busts of the great philosophers all along the aisles

After Trinity we hopped back on one of the green buses and continued the tour. Today’s first driver was Greg, who was almost as funny as Phil 🙂 And the second one waaaas: Phil again! 🙂

Phil ("I went to Trinity. I studied medicine there for two years, before I gave it up for the love of bus driving!" ;-)

Phil (“I went to Trinity. I studied medicine there for two years, before I gave it up for the love of bus driving!” 😉

He showed us (at least the location and outside of) Dublin Castle, Christchurch cathedral, the government building where the Prime Minister faffs about, the Mayor’s home, Kilmainam Gaol (very popular & fully booked both yesterday and today!), the Guinness Brewery, the General Post Office in O’Connell street (which we’ve seen before) where the Easter Uprising of 1916 started…

Dublin General Post Office

Dublin General Post Office

…Phoenix Park with the Wellington Memorial and the “White House of Dublin” (the President’s home)

"The White House of Dublin"

“The White House of Dublin”

Phoenix Park - old, royal hunting reserve, twice the size of Central Park in NY

Phoenix Park – old, royal hunting reserve, twice the size of Central Park in NY

Wellington memorial (and selected tourists) ;-)

Wellington memorial (picture doesn’t do the size of it justice at all)

…as well as heaps of other places. I’ve got some of these pegged for closer inspection on Saturday and the rest I’ll just have to check out next time I’m in Dublin.

Christchurch Cathedral (1028) - the spiritual heart of Dublin

Christchurch Cathedral (1028) – the spiritual heart of Dublin

For some reason the Liffey Boat Cruises were closed today, I have no idea why, can’t find notice of it anywhere, but that’s another thing we’ll try for on Saturday then. In addition to the shopping I’ve promised my mother 😉 St. Stephen’s and Grafton street for that, I should think.
The rest of the day was given over to another fabulous dinner (with a lovely dessert!) and walking up the center of O’Connell street.

Daniel O'Connell - The Liberator (the angels below him represent his four virtues Courage, Fidelity, Eloquence and Patriotism)

Daniel O’Connell – The Liberator (the angels represent his four virtues Courage, Fidelity, Eloquence and Patriotism)

The centre path in O’Connell street is for pedestrians and there are historically important figures represented from top to bottom. It starts with the man himself, Daniel O’Connell and continues on with statues of (among others) Big Jim Larkin (trade union leader)

Statue inspired by a great historical picture of Jim Larkin

Statue inspired by a great historical picture of Jim Larkin

Theobald Mathew (teetotalist reformer, yeah, I had to look that up. Apostle of Temperance indeed).

Theobald Mathew - Apostle of Temperance

Theobald Mathew – Apostle of Temperance

And the list goes on and on, there is much to see (this is also where the 120 meter Spire is, worth a look close up!) and as a bonus, this is the very spot where you’ll find the General Post Office too. Dublin is certainly a city full of history, colour and very, very friendly people. The humour and cheer is very evident to me as a tourist and my impression of this city thus far is extremely positive. I can very well understand why my friend Hilde keeps coming back again and again.

The city is kept in colours

The city is kept in colours

today’s little tidbit:
For some reason… Wedding buses are the big thing!

Wedding buses...

Wedding buses…

...the new, big thing, I guess...

…the new, big thing, I guess…

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