Ireland Getaway 2014 Post: 2- Dublin

I find Trinity College to be an amazing place. In the center of the hustle and bustle of Dublin is a working university with some serious brains at work. Trinity College isn't for everyone, you've got to be a smarty pants and if you're lucky enough to have a big brain you can have your college experience in the middle of an amazing city rich in history! Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity has some pretty famous alumni, most notably Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver's Travels) and Oscar Wilde (who needs no explanation). I love that a place so full of history and the past, is so alive- students rushing off to classes and professors cycling across the yard all the while you're wandering to the Book of Kells exhibit and about to have your mind blown by the gorgeousness that is the Long Room. There's something really special about that experience.
William Edward Hartpole Lecky kindly guarding the bikes.

The Book of Kells is a definite not to be missed Dublin experience. I will say this though: you only get to see about 6 pages under glass so it's not like you're leafing through this ancient manuscript. Really take in the exhibit that explains the process which displays large blown up versions of the pages you will see in person. This will be your best view really. I'm going to end up saying this so many times throughout these posts but the best thing about going in January in such an off season time is the fact that so many of the amazing things you'll want to see will not be very crowded and in some instances deserted. While the Book of Kells exhibit wasn't exactly deserted it was a very thin crowd of people which allowed us to really see the exhibit and lean over the glass and gaze at the real book at our leisure- it wasn't three or four people deep like the first time I saw it. If you happen to go when it's busy definitely wait your turn to see the book, it can be a bit annoying to have to wait but trust me, you've come all that way and you should see the real pages. We've all see photos of illuminated manuscripts but there's nothing like seeing the real deal. The colors are still so vibrant and the perfectly formed letters are something to behold.

After leaving the room displaying the pages you follow a staircase up to the Long Room. Built between 1713-1732 it is lined on either side of the walkway by 48 marble busts. (Aristotle, and Jonathan Swift can be found here). Housing 200,000 books it is a feast for the eyes. This old library also houses the oldest harp in Ireland as well as one of the last remaining copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic (think our Declaration of Independence). Pretty awesome stuff. The only shame is that you can't wander the stacks. Everything is behind ropes but they do allow non-flash photography, which I really don't remember them allowing the first time I went. I know I'm not the only one who would love to lovingly fondle these old books, but I completely understand why it's off limits. On a side note, does anyone know if there's anyone that's allowed to use that library or are the books off limits to all?

After feasting our eyes on this wonder and of course perusing the gift shop and making a few purchases we made our way back to the hotel the long way. Basically we ventured out of the way a block or so to the banks of the River Liffey and the many awesome bridges that span it. The thing I love about Dublin is that if you're trying to get anywhere in the City Centre and you get lost you can get yourself back to the Liffey and get your bearings. From there you can get anywhere you need to go and the Irish have kindly provided you with signs pointing you to any of the major monuments and sites.

the Ha'penny Bridge, built in 1816 of cast iron. Officially named the Liffey Bridge it's called the Ha'penny, due to the toll of a halfpenny that you had to pay to cross it. 

view of the Ha'penny bridge from the Grattan Bridge. 

Taking a photo of the Grattan Bridge at the foot of the ornate light posts. 

view down Grattan Bridge
We also made a stop at Dublin Castle. There has been a structure on the site since 1204, but what we see mostly dates from the 18th century although there is a bit of the medieval structure peeking out in certain parts (we of course didn't have a camera with us the day the we discovered this part). This site has been the witness to some of the key events in Irish history. It has seen English rule, the British government in Ireland and the birth of the Irish provisional government led by Michael Collins.

the path to Dublin Castle

Justice looking over Dublin Castle

After our stroll we headed back to the hotel because we just couldn't wander any longer in our current state. At this point we were going on only 1 hour of sleep in the last 24 hours and that my friends is just not right! We tried so hard to stay up to a respectable time but real exhaustion set in and I'm pretty sure my legs were about to stop working. I was completely ready to call it a night at that point, but we slept for four hours before we got up again to explore Dublin, this time by street light. 

exploring Temple Bar, home of lots of pubs, restaurants and liveliness

Molly Malone selling cockles and mussels alive, alive, oh!

this photo does not do this scene justice. strands of red lights are hanging on the side of this pub- it was amazing in person. 

acting as Daniel's tripod because we forgot it at the hotel.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

entrance to Harding Hotel

And that concluded day one! We packed a lot in on very little sleep. Adrenaline is your friend sometimes! Next post: car rental, crazy lack of road signs, Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough and our cottage in Wicklow that charms the pants off ye!


  1. I love that that room is the Long Room. You can probably apply in advance to do research there.... I can't believe how much you did in a day!

    1. Oh my goodness we packed so much into every single day, it was definitely not relaxing but it was fulfilling!

      I would love to check out the books! They were definitely the kind of books where they'd make you wear gloves though. So awesome!


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