Ireland in four days (Part 2)

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.

Fair weather in Dublin

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).

The Gravedigger’s Tour Busy

Stories of the Dolocher on the city walls of old Dublin

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.

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.

Main gate of Trinity College in the evening

Samuel Beckett Theatre

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…

Books from floor to ceiling!

The author (front) and Sir Isaac Newton (rear)

A beautiful vault

Panorama of the Old Library

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.

Don’t forget to check out my travelogue photos from the trip, and then the nice fancy photos as well!

Auckland Sanity Trip: Day 3

Ferry station clock tower

Caught up with Aidan today. Definitely been looking forward to that for a long time. We did catch up briefly last year, but we were busy gaming at Phenomenon. It’s always fun to visit people in their home town. You get a bit of a local’s perspective on the place, but also discover new things together.

Piha Beach

Piha Beach

Piha Beach

Piha beach is one of Auckland’s more famous beaches, due to its dangerous rips and reality TV show about the local live saving club, similar to Australia’s Bondi Rescue. We drove there from Auckland city in about an hour, hoping to get a good view and a good lunch.

While no culinary delights were to be found, I do have to admit that Piha is far nicer than Bondi. While it obviously wasn’t summer, we couldn’t have picked a sunnier day. There were a few people enjoying the black sand, but there certainly wasn’t any crowd. Definitely great for photos. Continue reading