St. Patrick's, Book of Kells, Phoenix Park, Guinness, Irish Dinner #Dublin #Ireland #goaheadtours

18 November 2014

We enjoyed a yummy buffet breakfast at the Maldron: scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, brown bread, grilled and tomatoes topped of the hearty meal.

We gathered in the hotel lobby, then it was off to meet our local guide-Therese. We did a brief bus tour of Dublin and ended up at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The Normans built a church in stone on this site in 1191. It was rebuilt in the 13th century and is the building you see above. Built in honor of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral stands adjacent to the famous well where tradition has it Saint Patrick baptized converts on his visit to Dublin. It is the final resting place for one of Ireland's most famous men, Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's travels and Dean (head) of the Cathedral from 1713-1745. Very interesting church and still very much in use today.

We next made a stop at Phoenix Park.
From the Park's website:
The Phoenix Park at 1752 acres is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city. The Phoenix Park was established in 1662 by one of Ireland’s most illustrious viceroys, James Butler, Duke of Ormond, on behalf of King Charles II. Conceived as a Royal deer park, it originally included the demesne of Kilmainham Priory south of the River Liffey, but with the building of the Royal Hospital at Kilmainham, which commenced in 1680, the Park was reduced to its present size, all of which is now north of the river. Shortly after the Park’s acquisition it was enclosed within a stone wall, which was initially poorly constructed. Subsequent wall repair and new build were necessary as the Park’s size and boundaries were adjusted and realigned. In 1668, Marcus Trevor, Viscount Dungannon, was appointed Ranger who, with two other keepers, was responsible for the deer, managing the Park’s enclosures and newly formed plantations.
Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the President of Ireland dates from 1750 and is located in the center of the park adjacent to the United States Ambassador's residence, which was built in 1774. Many other historic buildings and monuments are located in the Park.

Back on the bus then over to Trinity College. The visit to the Book of Kells was OK but nothing to write home about.
The manuscript contains the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text, written on vellum (prepared calfskin), in a bold and expert version of the script known as "insular majuscule".

The place of origin of the Book of Kells is generally attributed to the scriptorium of the monastery founded around 561 by St Colum Cille on Iona, an island off the west coast of Scotland. In 806, following a Viking raid on the island which left 68 of the community dead, the Columban monks took refuge in a new monastery at Kells, County Meath. It must have been close to the year 800 that the Book of Kells was written, although there is no way of knowing if the book was produced wholly at Iona or at Kells, or partially at each location.

It has been on display in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin from the mid 19th century, and attracts over 500,000 visitors a year. Since 1953 it has been bound in four volumes. Two volumes are on public view, one opened to display a major decorated page, and one to show two pages of script. The volumes are changed at regular intervals.

We lunched at The Lincoln’s Inn-where James Joyce and Nora Barnacle first met on the 16th of June. Jay tried the Bangers and Mash and I had the Smoked Salmon on Brown Bread. Jay ordered what he thought was beer but turned out to be cider.

What better way to chase down a lunch of bangers and mash than to tour the Guinness Beer Factory!

The Guinness Storehouse self guided tour winds it way through the history of the Guinness Brand; through beer making and barrel making and proper pouring and tasting of this world famous stout. The highlight of the tour is the GRAVITY® Bar with breath-taking panoramic 360° views of Dublin city and beyond.
Back at the hotel I booked our day trip for Glendalough with Hillttop Treks for Wednesday. I guess no one else in our group was interested in this optional trip.

Some of us gathered in the lobby for our bus ride to our Traditional Irish Dinner. This optional trip almost didn't happen but Go Ahead Tours gave the OK for only five people to attend and we were all glad they did.

After what seemed like an hour bus ride we were in Threerock at Taylors Threerock. Our table was set for 10 with a shot of whiskey greeting us. As we were only 5, we didn't want the extra whiskey to go to waste so Jennifer, Kelsey, Alex, Jay and I all made sure the whiskey was consumed.
The step dancers were more modern than traditional but very exciting nonetheless.
They had a folk trio on guitar, whistle and fiddle and Tommy Keen on the elbow bagpipe (Uilleann.)

Great fun. Kelsey even got on stage for the finale with the step dancers.
Back to the hotel around 10:30 and off to bed.

More images from our day trip around Ireland:

More images from the Traditional Irish Dinner:

Wednesday Jay and I will be heading to Powerscourt Gardens and Glendalough.

If you've seen any Hollywood romance films, you've seen parts of County Wicklow. We'll visit sites from: Leap Year, P.S. I Love You and even a waterfall seen in one of my favorite movies (although not a true romance film) Excalibur.

Wicklow is called the Hollywood of Europe. Other films shot here:
Michael Collins
King Arthur
Some films made in Ireland though you'd never guess they were: FILMS

Traditions of Ireland
Go Ahead Tours
November 16-26, 2014
Copyright © Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
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