Last night, Dad and I ate a pizza at an Italian restaurant in Temple Bar. Not very Irish, but it was tasty. After that we got a taste of Irish pub culture. The Temple Bar neighborhood itself was pretty crazy. People were wasted and getting kicked out of bars before it was even dark out (not quite as bad as it sounds since it was light until about 11 PM last night). But still intense to see while walking around. We wanted to catch some Irish music and we finally found a pub that wasn’t too crazy and had some live music. It was a lot of fun to drink a Guinness and listen to Irish music in an Irish pub. The band was very good and the people in the pub were for the most part focused on the music.
This morning we got up pretty early and had breakfast in the hotel. We realized that it was early enough that we would be able to catch a bus out to Newgrange that we had heard about. We half walked, half jogged to the pick up spot which was across the river. We just barely made it and grabbed the last two seats in what turned out to be more of a van than a bus. It was a great experience though. We made it out there before most of the crowds and saw two burial mounds: Newgrange and another one called Knowth. Knowth was cool because there were less people there and a very knowledgeable guide described the known history of the place while we walked around. We were able to go on top of the mound to see a great view of the Boyne Valley. Newgrange was also an amazing experience because we were able to go inside the passage. The mounds are amazing feat of engineering considering they predate Stonehenge and the Pyramids.
After getting some much need sleep, Dad and I ate the Traditional Irish Breakfast at our hotel. It mostly consisted of standard breakfast fare, except the “black and white pudding”. I’m not sure exactly what that was made of, I think blood and certain types of internal organs that I don’t normally eat. Part of the cultural experience I guess.
We walked around the Dublin castle a bit, and then went to the Chester Beatty Museum. They have a really incredible collection of religious texts and artifacts. Most impressive are the christian papyri from around 200 AD. They would be amazingly clear to read, if I knew Greek.
Then we hit Christ Church Cathedral. It claims to be Ireland’s cathedral. It was quite nice, although I’m still a bit jaded after all of the churches that Allison and I saw on our trip last summer. I’m hard to impress when it comes to churches. The coolest part was a bridge that connects two buildings over a road. I will try to post pictures soon.
Next we saw St. Patrick’s cathedral, which is also Ireland’s cathedral in a sense because I think it is the main catholic cathedral in Dublin. I need to read up on the history of these two churches. This church is neat, a bit more decorated than Christ Church Cathedral. Johnathan Swift was the Dean for a while.
After the churches we made our way over to the National Museum of Archaeology. They have a special exhibit on the various “bog men” that have been found in Ireland and other European countries. Somewhat intense to see, but also really interesting. Kind of like an ancient Body Worlds exhibit. the museum also has lots of Celtic and Viking artifacts.
So, today was a productive day of sight-seeing.