Dublin, Ireland

Dublin was the last trip with our friends and traveling buddies, Curtis & Amanda. They moved back to the states in January and are expecting their first baby in June. We'll miss them. The weather didn't cooperate with us at all and gave us our first taste of Fall in the British Isles. It rained the entire weekend, as you will see from the pictures. We endured and had a great time despite the rain. Dublin isn't a very big city and you can easily get around by walking, taking a city bus or sightseeing bus. It is also home to many well-known writers as well as our favorite band - U2.

Our first day in the city we took the Sightseeing double-decker bus tour. Our first stop was Merrion Square - Dublin's largest and grandest Georgian square. The Natural History Museum and National Gallery border the square as well as the beautiful Georgian townhouses on Merrion Street. Many famous people lived on this street including Oscar Wilde, WB Yeats and the Duke of Wellington. Oscar Wilde's childhood home was No. 1 Merrion Street Upper and directly across the street is a statue of him lounging on a rock. Wilde is probably most famous for his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray and his play, The Importance of Being Earnest. Some of Ireland's other famous writers, novelists, satirist, poets and playwrights were: George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, WB Yeats and Samuel Beckett.

Dublin's most renowned landmark is St. Patrick's Cathedral, Ireland's largest church. The church was founded next to a scared well where in AD 450 St. Patrick was said to have baptized converts from paganism to Christianity. In 1192, the Archbishop John Comyn replaced the wooden church with the stone one that exists today. St. Patrick's is known as the people's church. Services are held every day of the year.

One evening we had dinner in the Temple Bar district. Temple Bar is known for it's nightlife and is considered to be the trendiest part of town. We found a great Mexican restaurant and totally pigged out- this has become a recurrent theme in our travels. Oh how we miss good Mexican food.

A must see while visiting Dublin is Trinity College with its incredible Old Library and its medieval illuminated manuscript, The Book of Kells. Trinity College is the oldest university in Ireland and was founded by Elizabeth I in 1592. It's situated in the middle of Dublin and encompasses 40-acres of cobbled squares, gardens and parks. The Book of Kells is thought to be the work of monks from Iona, who fled to the town of Kells in AD 806 after a raid by the Vikings. The book, which details the four gospels in Latin, has been housed at Trinity College since the 17th century.

Other sites of interest are Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, the World of Guinness and The Brazen Head - Ireland's oldest pub. There are lots of day trips to choose from if you so desire and we decided on one to Glenalough, the valley of the two lakes. Our destination was the ruins of a 6th century monastery established by St. Kevin. The main group of ruins are near the Lower Lake and include the Round Tower and graveyard, roofless St. Mary's cathedral and St. Kevin's kitchen. The monastic settlement lasted over 600 years despite the many Viking raids. It's final days came during 1539 under the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII.

Oscar Wilde statue in Merrion Square:

Statue across from Wilde where people write quotes from his work:

Stone marking St. Patrick's well - now in the cathedral:

Inside the Cathedral:

Outside the Guinness Brewery:

Curtis & Amanda enjoying a free Guinness after the tour:

Mike goofing around in a souvenir shop:

Mike's cousins - sort of:

Landscape of the monastery of St. Kevin at Glenolough:

The graveyard and roofless St. Mary's church in the background:

The Round Tower:

St. Kevin's kitchen:

Gabi standing in the ruin of St. Mary's church:

Trinity College:

Dublin Castle:

Dublin at night - Ha'penny Bridge:

Gabi at the U2 wall:

The Brazen Head:

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