July 19, 2012 Day 2: Sightseeing in Dublin at Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, National Archaeology and History Museum, Guinness Storehouse.
After a restful sleep and great breakfast courtesy of Patrick, Tammy and I were off for further exploring. We took a double-decker bus into town and walked to Dublin Castle.
For one of the most famous castles in Ireland, Dublin Castle was not as big as I imagined, but was very well maintained. Currently used as government buildings the castle use to serve as the seat of British and Irish rule throughout its history starting in the 18th century. The courtyard on the North side had gates representing Fortitude and Justice with very nice statues above them. We saw the chapel and then the garden, which was very contemporary.
From Dublin Castle we strolled to Christ Church Cathedral.
Christ Church Cathedral
We stopped by Christ Church Cathedral, which is the oldest medieval cathedral of Dublin. It is still an active cathedral used by the Roman Catholics and Church of Ireland. The medieval architecture was very impressive. Tammy was excited about the food stalls along the walls of the church, where she purchased some delectable sweets.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland and the National Cathedral of Ireland. After a quick walk through the park of the church, we went in to explore the different statues and plaques around the cathedral. The exhibits aim to present Irish history through historic figures and items displayed throughout the halls. We saw the door with the hole that Gerald of Kildare cut in order to stick his hand in to offer a truce during his dispute with James of Ormond coining the phrase “chancing your arm”. Another highlight is the grave of Jonathan Swift and his “friend” Stella. Swift was a Dean of the Cathedral, but better known for writing Gulliver’s Travels.
Then it was time for some culture.
National Museum of Archaeology and History
We went through the small museum which had some interesting items many of which were found in the bogs. I’m surprised how well a bog preserves materials. I also enjoyed seeing the viking swords and medieval weaponry.
We realized we hadn’t eaten all day so we got a bagel/baguette and cappuccino, before heading to the Guinness factory. A waitress in the café said that we were 15 minutes away by foot, but the walk took a lot longer. We had a scenic walk along the river and fortunately we asked for directions otherwise we would have ended up in Belfast.
The Guinness Storehouse at the St. James’s Gate Brewery is a very well done exhibit of everything Guinness, including the processes, history, and corporate and marketing strategy. They even have an academy showing you how to pour the ‘perfect pint’.
What I found most impressive was how the company founded in 1759 is still using the same grounds they started on. They are also still using the same logo designed in 1824! I love their advertising campaigns with animals and Guinness and their catch-phrases like ‘Guinness is Good for you!” Also, the Guinness World Records was founded by Sir Hugh Beaver, while managing director of Guinness in 1951.
Tammy and I went to school and learned to pour the perfect pint. I’m happy to say I passed (Tammy had some difficulty with the course) and received my certificate… It is going on my wall next to my college diploma.
After that pint we went to the gravity bar with an amazing 360 degree view of the city. Unfortunately this isn’t a real bar, meaning they don’t accept cash for beer, but the generous staff helped us get another pint ticket, so we could enjoy the views of Dublin while sipping on the dark stuff.
We then browsed the ground floor gift shop. We left slightly tipsy and caught a cab home.
Patrick slaved away in the kitchen to serve up a delicious home cooked meal of lamb, potatoes and vegetables with wine. That with great conversation was a perfect way to wind up the day.
Jetlag (and Guinness) hitting me hard, I had an early night and went to bed.