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Europe/Africa 2014: Day 16 (Dublin 01): Oct 20

After a quick breakfast at the hostel, we go out and explore a little. Damn, it’s cold. Wasn’t it 40 degrees yesterday?

Our walking tour started at 11, gathering a large group of about 30 people just in our tour. We had a lot of people from North America as well as a couple of European countries. Our guide, James, a Dublin native brought us to Dublin castle and gave us a breakdown of Ireland and Dublin. A good mix of cultural and historical things.

Some quirky tidbits he told us…
The Irish do not pronounce the H in a Th.
They tend to do everything in excess. Last call, they grab three (tree) beers instead of just one. As an example 😛
When they say welcome, the Gaelic translates to “Ten Thousand welcomes”
They are very good at starting conversations with random people and bringing them together.
A literary saying: Do not let the truth get in the way of a good story.
They like have a lot of craic. “fun”. So much craic to be had in Ireland.

Some other history included the roots of their culture shaped through the centuries. Celtic, Vikings, British influences. Catholic roots, conflicting with Protestant, causing turmoil thoroughout the country. The British rule taking over it’s parliament, moving it from Dublin to West Minster. Numerous failed revolutions against the crown. The potato drought that led to millions of deaths and millions of people emigrating from Ireland. This massive period of emigration bringing Irish families generally to North America, Europe and Australia. Irish descendants are numerous around the world.

Walking through, we are led to the garden beside the castle. It was at this site that the Vikings thought was to be the centre of the city and settled. It was the site of where two rivers crossed, and the name Dublin originated. Black pool.

Just leaving the garden, we come to a small memorial for a reporter named Veronica Guerin. She has also a biographical movie made of what she had done and how she changed Dublin for the better. She was a reporter who was not afraid of facing the drug dealers, murderers, gang members head on. Someone had to do it. It was a dark time in Dublin, the troubles. She provoked the wrong man and it led to her death but also made the government do something about it, taking control of businesses, property, etc, of suspected members. Causing the crime rate to fall dramatically. It never should have happened, but the government only seems to learn from its mistakes.

James brought us to an alleyway with stairs, well known for its part in the movie, P. S. I love you. However, the tour shifted a bit. The town still has a problem with homelessness and drugs. And it’s obvious. There were a couple of people shooting up just at the end of the path, we turned the other way and made some distance before we continued the tour.

Next stop, Christchurch. At one point of its life, it used to be a bar! Anyways, the story goes, (I’m sorry for butchering it) that once it again became a church, there was an organ and a musician was to perform on it on an important event. Being nervous, he went to the church the night before to practice. However, there was something wrong with one of the keys, one of the pipes. He asked the caretaker to take a look. The caretaker really did not want to, who knows what could be up there. But he did. Reaching up there… and pulls out… A cat. Preserved. Something with the heat and stuff that kept the cat intact and essentially frozen in time. The caretaker told the organist to try it again. But still, the same note had trouble. The caretaker had to take another look. He already did not want to do it the first time, but he did again the second time. And he pulls out.. a rat. Dublin’s own real life Tom and Jerry. Apparently they are stuffed and on display in the cellar of the church, but without any explanation attached.

Hitting up the Temple bar district, described as a tourist trap with the high and fluctuating prices of beer. Several musicians come from Dublin and one group in particular was U2. There is a particular hotel in the district that U2 walked into as a young band, to visit the bar. As a respectable establishment, the manager saw them and they were thrown out. They said that one day that they didn’t care, that they’ll have to serve them one day because they will own it. Obviously, that happened. They also bought most of that block.

Continuing with the music trend, there is a famous street in Dublin known for its musicians. Grafton street, musicians come out and setup to perform. On Christmas Eve, as famous musicians come home for the holidays, an event was established which placed these musicians on Grafton street to raise money to benefit the city.

Reaching the River Liffey that divides the city in half, we see the O’Donnell bridge. There was once an event and countdown, the city planned to place a clock in the water and a control box on the bridge. However, the water was so murky, the clock could not be seen at all. After the event, the clock and control box were removed, leaving an empty space in this important bridge. This space was left empty for a long time until a plaque was placed into it to commemorate a hero. Rev Pat Noise. It was said that he died, drowning under this bridge, a hero. For weeks after, flowers and vigils were held in honour of this hero. But as time went on, and research was done, it was discovered that this Rev Pat Noise never existed! It was a prank by a couple of brothers, which drew attention from the city. The plaque was erected by the HSIT. Haha… The sense of humor that the Irish possess shows by the decision to leave the plaque in place, it’s a great story!

Walking to our next destination we notice one of the older buildings, with columns and stone… With one particular feature, or, mixing feature. There aren’t any windows. It was the Parliament House built in the 1730s when there was a window tax, so the building is devoid of windows. Hmm. Should probably look that one up.

Crossing the street, Trinity College. At one time it only allowed Protestant students. There is a bell tower in the middle of the main square, superstition is that if you, a student, are caught underneath that tower and the bell rings, you will fail your exam. If it is raining and you, a woman, happen to take cover under this bell tower, you will soon become pregnant. O_o. The library in the square was also a great inspiration for Spielberg, he recreated it for the Star Wars movie for the Jedi Academy at the beginning of the movie, replacing statutes of scholars with Yodas. Ireland creates several literary scholars, their imagination is built into their culture of storytelling. As a student, when you get a great grade in your exams, you can become a “scholar” of the college and receive several benefits such as free dormitory on campus, scholarships, etc… Joffrey from Game of Thrones attends Trinity College and is a scholar.


Famine sculpture.
One last revolution.
Many sentenced to death.
One prisoner was so close to death already, he had to be tied into his chair in order to be shot.
Changed the views on the street.
Britain granted Dublin it’s parliament back to them. But kept the northern part of Ireland.
Two separate countries, Ireland and North Ireland.
Leo burdock fish and chips.
Free beer.
Murphys ice cream
Elephant and castle.

Dublin CastleDublin Crest, GatesTrinity College, Bell TowerLeo Burdock's Fish and Chips

Dublin Castle, Dublin Crest – Gates, Trinity College – Bell Tower, Leo Burdock’s – Fish and Chips

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