Dublin, Republic of Ireland - then home
Friday, Oct. 11
This was a usual transfer day with bags out when we went to breakfast. We hadn’t been on the road very long before our guide had the driver make a quick stop so we could go inside the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in a small town we were passing. This one was Roman Catholic and had lovely stained glass windows.
The next stop was at Navan Fort, an ancient archaeological complex and ceremonial grounds. There was a nice interpretive center and also a model ancient hut where two ladies, in period clothing, told us about how life would have been during the iron age era.
Then we visited the Long Meadows Cider Company in Armagh. This is a family owned company with their own orchards and pressing facilities. They showed us a few trees, some old and some newer varieties from Europe. They are pruned low so the apples can be picked while standing on the ground. We saw their cold storage area and also where they make cider vinegar. In Ireland most cider is what we would call “hard” cider. It has about a 4% alcohol content. They blend different varieties of apples to make different flavors of cider. After the tour, they provided sandwiches and deserts, and of course some cider sampling with our lunch.
We drove on into Dublin, the capital of the Irish Republic, arriving about 4:00 at the Belvedere Hotel. It is a big city, but the core of it is still very historical. At 6:00 we joined our guide for a walking tour of the area and in search of a pub for dinner. We walked a long ways down O’Conner Street and ended up at Madison’s Pub for dinner. It wasn’t as noisy as many and they made room for the bunch of us.
Saturday, Oct. 12
This morning we met our guide and driver for a tour around the main and important parts of the city. Joan pointed out the historical places. It was a beautiful sunny day, one of maybe five we had on the whole three week trip, so when it came time to depart the bus we didn’t mind walking. This was the end of our driver Dave’s part of our tour. He had to head back to Ennis to start another OAT tour on Tuesday. That will be the last of the season.
So, we got off the bus, said our goodbyes and followed Joan on a walking tour. We started at the Dublin Castle. All that remains of the 13th century castle is one tower, but there are walls around an adjoining area where very high level meetings are held, and there is a green area where helicopters can land to bring in VIPs. We had noticed on our bus tour of the city that there were two cruise ships in dock. It was at the castle that we started running into large tour groups. Another stop on our walk was the Chester Beatty Library which houses a huge number of old manuscripts. At noon, Joan left us to our own wandering. We had noticed a nice store for good shopping, but better yet, a restaurant, so we headed there for lunch. After lunch the group split up a bit. We looked into seeing the Book of Kells, but by then there were only 4:30 tickets left. We went shopping instead and then took a cab back to the hotel.
Our Farewell Dinner was at a hotel across the street. It was a happy and sad event. On trips like this, you bond with your fellow travelers, making friends that sometimes last. We enjoyed everyone on our tour, and will probably be in touch with some.
Sunday Oct. 13
We had booked an extra day in Dublin so we could do some extra things that we couldn’t work in on the main trip. We spent the morning at the EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum. It opened in about 2016 and is build in old underground warehouses that were built in 1817-1820 to store valuable cargo like tobacco, tea and spirits. It is on Customs House Quay along the River Liffey. It was inspired and built by Neville Isdell, the former chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, who is of Irish decent. It is the best interactive museum we have ever seen and won awards for such this year. It took us two hours to go through it, and one could have spent more time.
We had lunch at the museum and then caught a cab to take Melanie and me to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, and Paul back to the hotel to rest. We were able to get in a little earlier than the time on our tickets. The Book of Kells is a treasure of medieval Europe. It is a manuscript in Latin of the four gospels of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.) It was done by early Christians in about 800AD. The calligraphy and decorations are elaborate. They can identify that four monks worked on it. The book has since been rebound into four books. The Long Room upstairs was even more impressive with stacks and stacks, rows and rows of old books, with ladders that made them accessible. Melanie and I spent about an hour there looking around before checking out a nearby store and then taking a cab back to the hotel.
For our final evening in Dublin we joined another couple and went to Murry’s Pub for dinner. Pubs are where you get the true feel of the Irish, as that is the gathering place after work, etc. Before turning in, we made sure we were all packed and ready to leave in the morning.
Monday, Oct. 14
Traveling home: flights from Dublin to JFK then JFK to Portland. Since I’m still using crutches part of the time, I ordered a wheel chair, which was waiting at each transfer point. That proved valuable, especially getting us through all the security, twice, and US Immigration and Customs. Again, this is where our Global Entry Pass really paid off.
It was a long travel day, and we made it home before 10:00 pm. Often, when we have been gone for a while, we return to find something has gone wrong. This time, the GFI outlet in the garage, into which we plug the hot water heater and the freezer, had tripped. No hot water and a total lose on everything in the freezer. Getting that fixed will be on the agenda. And, I have already made an appointment to have my knee looked at, again. Life goes on, and we are very thankful that we are able to travel and enjoy it.
No further trips booked, but I’m sure there will be something, someplace, sometime!!!! Check back for more pictures in the “Photo Gallery” section of the website.
Grace and Paul
Trinity College and the Book of Kells
Grace and Paul Pitzer are retired school teachers who love to travel and share their stories and photos with others.
Chronicles Grace's journey through breast cancer
Grace and Paul Pitzer
We hope you will keep checking back regularly to see what is new. I'm always out and about with some camera and love to stretch my skills and add to my volume of work.
Motto: "Pack light and take lots of pictures."