My travelogue for our Grand Tour continues. I don’t have a lot to report for the next three days, as I was working. The weather was lovely, and completely counter to any expectations I had. Each morning I woke up and walked ten minutes in warm sunlight to the office, across the Grand Canal.
P was on holiday and did a lot of touring. Despite her misgivings about Dublin, I think she enjoyed herself and learned quite a bit, especially about the independence struggles in the early twentieth century.
Gravedigger’s Ghost Tour
I did manage to squeeze in a bit of tourism on one evening. The same group who operated the Giant’s Causeway also offer a Ghost Tour around Dublin. I’ve enjoyed previous Ghost Tours, as they offer a good look at a town’s history across a long period (there’s a walking one in Auckland that I particularly liked).
I found Gravedigger’s a bit cheesy — heavy on the comedy and cheap scares, and a little light on the history. Still, it was good to see something of the old city walls, Kilmainham Gaol, and finish up at Kavanagh’s Pub.
I had a good time, but had not to take it too seriously.
Book of Kells
The Book of Kells is a must-see for anybody visiting Dublin. It’s located in the Old Library of Trinity College, and quite easy to get to (ten minute walk from our hotel). The queue is round the block, but we ordered tickets online and were the second through the door in the morning.
Photography is not allowed in the exhibition, so you’ll have to go see for yourself. The book itself is an amazing piece of art. The illumination is exquisite, and the exhibition tells a good story of both the book’s history, and the construction of the book, and the scribes that wrote and illuminated it.
We then passed through an exhibition on Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf, which is a fascinating insight into how Ireland’s fight for independence began well before British rule, and then into the Long Room of the Old Library. Not having done a lot of research for this part of the trip, this was a genuine surprise for me…
The books! Thousands of books line the walls in dark oak shelves, watched over by the busts of great writers, philosophers and poets. People ask about highlights of the trip. This is definitely one.