Thursday, June 5, 2008

Some Sights In Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is both the largest city and capital of the Republic of Ireland. It was once a Viking settlement and has been an important city since medieval times.

The Dublin of today is a fast moving, young and thriving modern city with an abundance of arts and entertainment.
This was my second visit to Dublin in the past few years and if you like you can read about my first visit to the city here.

Our vacation was part work related as my husband had to do an audit with the Dublin division of the company he works for, so we stayed during the business days at The Shelbourne Hotel, which was established in 1824, and is a landmark in the city center, located across from St. Stephen's Green. It went through a renovation a few years ago and is now a Marriott Renaissance Hotel. It was truly elegant.

St. Stephen's Green is a beautiful 22-acre park within the city center and I'll do a whole blog post in the future to show you the beautiful views within it.

Walking down St. Stephen's Green North Street you will approach Grafton Street, the premier stylish shopping street in Dublin.

This pedestrianized strip is always full of shoppers. tourists, street musicians, and performers.

Below is a photo of a street performer who stood still as a statue - looking very much like the iconic James Joyce -- until a coin was dropped into his bucket, and then he'd do a little dance and change position and freeze again. It must be a good business for him!

There were a few street musicians serenading strollers with classical music outside of Brewley's Oriental Cafe one day. Brewley's Limited is an old Irish tea house chain, established in 1840. Famous Irish writers use to have their tea there. Unfortunately, many of the cafes were sold or closed, including this one, until it was reopened under new management. You can now have a fast food meal there such as pizza, but this is where I had that delicious enormous scone and cup of tea that you can see here. The decor inside was very nicely restored, and it was the perfect place to rest and enjoy the atmosphere.

One of the many flower stands along Grafton street.

At the end of Grafton Street at the junction of Nassau Street stands sculptor Jean Rynhart's statue of "Molly Malone", the celebrated street vendor from the traditional song " Molly Malone." Some locals jokingly refer to her as "The tart with the cart," but she is obviously a favorite subject for tourists to photograph. The day I saw her this charming man was playing the traditional Irish drum called the "bodhran" by her. He seemed excited that I was taking his photo too!

As you can see in the photo above, and below, the bicycle is one of the favorite means of transportation in Dublin for many residents.

Within the city there is also a good general double-decker bus system, as well as tourist "hop on hop off" buses, a light rail train called the LUAS, that is so successful it is being expanded, taxis, and The Dublin Area Rapid Transport (DART) which will take you to the nearby suburbs.

At the very end of Grafton and Nassau Street is Trinity College, one of the great universities of the world with a 400-year-old tradition. It was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth and occupies 47 acres.

A view from the main entrance:

Trinity College's beautiful Parliament Square which contains the Campanile bell tower built in 1853.

The major attractions for visitors are the spectacular Old Library and the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells was written around the year 800 AD and is one of the most beautifully illuminated manuscripts in the world. I saw both during my last visit to Dublin, so this time I explored the college grounds a little more.

The red brick buildings of Trinity College on Library Square are known as the Rubrics. They were built around 1700, and are the oldest surviving part of the college.

I could not resist taking a photo of one of the trees in front of these buildings --how magnificent it was!
I also want to show you the cobblestones that fill Parliament Square and all the building walkways of the college:

While my husband was working I spent one day visiting the beautiful National Gallery of Ireland, which has over 600 artworks in its collection from the 14th to the 20th centuries, including works by Picasso, Caravaggio, Rubins, and Vermeer. Irish painting is also charted from its re-emergence in the 17th century to Jack B. Yeats, who is Ireland's most important 20th-century artist.

Another day, while my husband was working, I visited The National Museum of Ireland, --the archaeology and history division of the museum. It houses a world-famous collection of Bronze Age gold ornaments such as the Tara Brooch and unparalleled Irish early Christian treasures such as the Cross of Cong, plus it has the Viking Ireland and Medieval Ireland galleries which contain many artifacts.

I also saw a wonderful multimedia exhibition about William Butler Yeats at The National Library of Ireland. Last time I visited Dublin it housed a James Joyce exhibition, so it appears that every two to three years the library has a new exhibit dedicated to a famous Irish author.
The library also has a Family History Research division and the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland which grants and confirms of coats of arms to individuals and corporate bodies.

In my next blog, I'll show you some of the many pubs in Dublin. It wouldn't be a worthy visit to this fine city without a visit to one of them, as they are a part of Dublin's living history and culture. Dublin is the city where Guinness Stout is produced and has been for over 200 years!

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Anonymous said...

Amazing - the architecture, the university, the flowers, the transportation.

I loved it all, and I especially loved the silent performer.

Tess Kincaid said...

Delightful pix, Pat. I totally agree with Beverly...that silent performer looked like an old bronze statue!

Junie Moon said...

What a gorgeous country Ireland is and I appreciate your sharing your travel photos. June is always an extra busy month for me for a number of reasons and your travelogue gives me a few minutes of peaceful delight.

Unknown said...

Very informative and thorough Pat, felt like I was in Dublin :)

Happy weekend and hugs always :)

Lavinia said...

Sensational. A very pretty city. I was amazed at that "keyhole" door. Dublin looks so well-kept, as if there is a real civic pride in the city and its history and scenic places. That tree is absolutely stunning, I would bet it is photographed countless times.

Ireland is on my "must see" list. A magical land in so many respects.
We have a statue dancer in Toronto too. He looks like Elvis and is spraypainted completely silver.

Thanks for sharing.

Rhondi said...

Hi Pat
The pictures of Dublin are fascinating. Thanks for stopping by my party.

Susie Q said...

I am just so loving all the photos and your words...I pour a cup of tea and sit back and look. My mini vacation to Ireland thanks to you dear Pat!

And I love the Cranberries song to go along with it all...

Thank you for such a treat!


Anonymous said...

Just breathtaking....the magnificence of those buildings and streets. I loved the outdoor flower market and the musicians. The Shelbourne Hotel accomodations looked pretty spiffy! What a great trip you experienced! Thanks for sharing it.

Mrs. B said...

Hi Pat! That hotel is gorgeous! Grafton street looks like so much fun. And I love the college too. I love exploring old campuses like that. Thanks for the tour. I'll look forward to seeing the pubs!

smilnsigh said...

Ahhhhh, Dublin. 'Twas a young man who lives in Dublin, who brought me into the "World Of Blog"! Many years ago. ,-)

You asked me how to get your photos to "click to enlarge" on your blog...

And you said your email addy is on your Profile Page. But I have NEVER been able to click on ANY blogger's email addy, and have it work. ????? Many can. I can't. So, I'll answer here.

All I can tell you, is what I do. When I download my photos into iPhoto {the photo program, which comes with my computer}, I make them ~ the 'biggest side 800.' {Sorry, but I'm non-techy and can't 'say' that any better} Even at 'Biggest' size, they thus fit on a page, to be viewed.

When I am making a Blogger entry, I choose which size to have them appear, in that entry. When you click on the little box, to Attach Photos... You will see 3 different Size Boxes, to choose from. Small, Medium, Large. {Or like words.}

If I don't have many words in my entry that day, I choose Large. And they show up, kind of large, in my post. If I have more words written that day, I choose Medium. And they take up less space, when someone is reading my blog. {Well, sometimes I make them Large, regardless of how many words are in my entry but... that's an example}

And when my entry is posted, if anyone clicks on them, they enlarge in a separate window.

Maybe another of your readers can explain this process, better than I. Why don't you ask, in a post? I'm sure you'll get 'more proper' instructions. :-)


steviewren said...

When I visited Ireland, I found Dublineers to be the friendliest people to strangers of any cosmopolitan city I have ever visited. What do you think? Did you find people willing to talk to you?

Your photos are beautiful and sunny. You had nice weather in Dublin.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Thanks everyone fro all the nice comments!

Thanks Mari-Nanci -- I do everythting you told me to do already, and yet my photos won't enlargewhen clicked. I don't know why, and as you said a general post might be the best way to get an answer. I appreciate your trying to help me.

Steviewren -- you are so right! Dubliners are for the most part very helpful and friendly. The cab drivers were so intelligent and full of information, and very well traveled. It seems so many Irish have visited the USA and love uour stores and our prices, and they all vacation in Spain or Italy for the warm sunny weather.

Betsy Brock said...

That tree looks like the one I posted yesterday! Very nice pics, Pat! I love the brick streets!

Just A Girl said...

Hi Pat,
I see that I have some catching up to do as I've been absent from my daily blog reads. Dublin looks like it has some of the most amazing architecture and it is all so varied. Did I see Flemish influence? I love all the hanging baskets on the streets. They add something so cheery!

You had commented about my post on the light house so I've attached a link for you if you want to investigate further. It's There is an identical one somewhere on the North East. Maybe it's near you!
Have a wonderful rest of today and a great Friday! I'll come back tomorrow for some catch up.
:) Cori

Judy said...

Pat...thanks for another wonderful tour in Ireland! Dublin looks like a beautiful city...thanks for sharing it with us.

Vee said...

You provide such a wonderful overview of every place that you visit and Dublin is no exception. You really make me want to go there myself!

Rue said...

I almost feel like I'm with you on this tour! The buildings are wonderful :)

still reading...

Lisa's RetroStyle said...

What a beautiful city. I love the architecture!