The last day of my Ireland trip was spent in Dublin, really more like a half day, very interesting and full of activity. The two-hour drive, by motorway, over from Galway, was spent dodging showers (top down of course). Every time I could see rain on the horizon, the road veered left or right and I skirted it. Until I got about 30 miles out when the entire sky ahead was nothing but rain. I pulled over and put the top up, as I didn’t want to be driving into the city in the rain, trying to negotiate traffic and finding my hotel. Of course, the skies immediately cleared, and the rest of the day was dry!
Despite being Ireland’s largest city, it is quite walkable and my hotel, yes, a real hotel, was close enough to the center to walk a lot of it. Dublin was founded in the 900’s by the Vikings, so naturally I headed for the Irish National Museum of History and Archeology. For a modestly sized museum, this place had an incredible collection of outstanding “stuff”. As you will see in the photos, there was no shortage of stunning artifacts.
I learned that the reason that Ireland has such a rich treasure trove of ancient objects is due to the bogs. Seems that a bog is an ideal place for items big and small to be preserved due to the lack of oxygen which causes deterioration. Over the centuries, thousands of square miles of bog have been “harvested” for peat, used mainly as a fuel. In the process of digging up the peat, the “stuff” buried there, ranging from bodies to hordes of golden objects, were discovered. In later centuries, the good objects were mainly religious, and these were preserved by the church.
I could have spent days in there, and it was all FREE! Alas, two hours was all I had.
TWO OF SEVERAL PRESERVED BODIES FROM THE BOGS. AMAZING THE STORY OF THE LIFE OF THESE PEOPLE THAT CAN BE TOLD BY SCIENCE, RIGHT UP TO THE CONTENTS OF THEIR LAST MEAL.
From there I decided #2 on the list would be Dublin Castle. Wrong. There is only one tiny section of the original castle still standing, the rest are more modern (1700’s) structures that house the former Royal Apartments, and which are now used for government functions ranging from state banquets to the hall where they inaugurate their President. Not very exciting, see pix below.
From there it was off to Temple Bar, the former quayside neighborhood which now houses the pub and club zone. Dozens of bars and pubs, most with live music playing continuously. I hit three or four before I had my limit of pints and ran out of energy. I had an early ferry ride the next morning, so headed back to my hotel, a nice dinner, a glass of wine and a good sleep. Dublin is definitely a city worth a good two full days.
The ferry ride back to Holy Head, Wales, was a little rougher than the trip over, but I used the four hours to catch up on my photo processing and blogs.
I had decided to stop on my way home in Chester, another very historic city, founded in the 1st Century AD by the Romans. It was a key fortification in northwest England where they could keep an eye on both the Scots (Picts) and the Welsh. On my way from the port I passed through northern Wales and the walled city of Conwys. The fortifications there, including the city wall and the castle are very much still standing, however the entire castle is currently covered with scaffolding, so I moved on after a quick burger (not worth a photo, the burger that is!).
WALLS AND CASTLE AT CONWYS
If Dublin is walkable, Chester is downright compact. The city walls, which are still 100% intact, form a triangle about ¼ mile long on each side. Inside them is a veritable museum of Tudor half-timbered structures dating from the 1600’s and now full of shops, pubs, restaurants and such. The cathedral dates from the 1100’s and was built by the Normans (and of course added on to over the centuries by others). When I got there, they were just starting the Evensong performance, so the organ was playing and the choir was singing…. very nice of them to greet me such.
Did I mention that Chester was also a Viking city? Even though it is quite far inland, the River Dee is navigable up to this point.
SAD STORIES ON MANY OF THE CRYPT MARKERS IN THE CATHEDRAL
SOME VERY OLD FLAGS, I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW THE STORIES
ONE OF A SERIES OF FOUR FANTASTIC MOSIAC MURALS, ABOUT 20 FEET TALL
CHESTER CITY HALL
ONE OF THE CITY GATES OF CHESTER
PART OF THE CITY WALLS
REMAINS OF THE ROMAN AMPHITHEATER IN CHESTER, UNDER EXCAVATION
2000 YEAR OLD ROMAN REMNANTS, INCLUDING MOSAICS
ROMAN BRIDGE OVER THE DEE RIVER
CAN YOU READ THE DATE THIS BUILDING WAS BUILT?
READ THE SIGN ABOVE THE DOOR (OPEN IN NEW TAB TO ENLARGE)
Thus, my Ireland Tour ends. 1550 miles, too many great roads, sights and friendly people to remember them all. Much rain and fog I don’t want to remember. This would definitely be a great Healey Club trip if only they could promise good weather. Another Bucket List Item checked off.
On the topic of videos, I think I finally figured out my GoPro and iCloud and have managed to salvage several videos taken from earlier in the trip (but alas, not the very best ones). Since all these times and places have already been reported on, I plan to do a special Video Blog featuring an assortment of the better ones.
I am back in my cottage now for another week and busy planning my final month, all on the road. First, it’s off to Cornwall and the south coast of England, then the Goodwood Revival, followed by two weeks of freestyling through France and across the whole of the Pyrenees, then around the French and Italian Rivieras, and finally to Tuscany. After an eight-day tour with seven other XK Jags, I will pick up my daughter at her cooking school in Tuscany for a few days on the Adriatic Coast of Italy before dropping the car in Genoa. 35 straight days on the road! Stay tuned.