A Day in Dublin
We left the ship early on August 29 for an all day tour called “Distinctly Dublin.” Most photo opportunities only existed through the bus windows, so some pictures may have a bit of reflection. We drove along the Liffey River which divides Dublin. Of the many bridges that cross the river, two stood out.
The cast iron Ha’penny Bridge built over the Liffey River served pedestrians. Since its conception in 1816, it has been called at least two other names – Penny Ha’penny and Liffey Bridge, which later became its official title.
The Samuel Beckett Bridge opened in December, 2009. Its thirty-one cables hold four traffic and two pedestrian lanes. From a distance, it looks like a harp lying on its edge. The bridge rotates sideways to allow ship passage.
Dublin displays many sculptures and monuments. Because arguments arose over subjects and designs, some were destroyed, moved, or removed. Anna Livia, moved from a prominent location to a lesser one. The thin, elongated female figure represents the Liffey River and sits in flowing water. Dubliners tend to nickname their monuments and sculptures. They call this one “Floozie in the Jacuzzi” and another name I can’t really repeat in print.
As our bus passed the Molly Malone sculpture, our guide began to sing. The lyrics and her name are legends. Some believe fishmongers of old may have been named “Molly,” but the sculpture and song are not based on any one person. Two of her nicknames are “The Tart with a Cart” and “The Dish with a Fish.”
A memorial to Ireland’s Great Famine of 1845 to 1852 caused by a potato blight, reminds us that a million people died and another million emigrated to other locations,like New York City. The Famine Memorial beside the Liffey River illustrates the plight of the people. A small group of life-sized, emaciated bronze people walk toward the docks. Legend says the last man represents one who carried a child on his back, later to discover the child had died.
Our all day tour included lunch at a pub. Like most establishments in Dublin, baskets of beautiful flowers hung over the door of the Quays (pronounced keys) Bar. We had two choices – stew or sausages with mashed potatoes – and cheesecake for dessert.
After lunch we walked a narrow cobblestone shopping street and stopped in front of the most photographed Dublin pub.
We spent a good amount of time in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, named for Ireland’s patron saint, but now known as the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. The building covers the spot where a little wooden church, constructed around 1191, commemorated the saint’s visit. The Cathedral houses the largest organ in Ireland; some of its over 4,000 pipes date from 1695
Erected between 1200 and 1270, the building fell into disrepair through religious persecution and reformation. Little remains of the original except the baptistery.
Future multiple renovations removed medieval designs and replaced them with Victorian styles. The final restoration lasted from 1860 to 1900.
Several memorials grace the walls. One honors Jonathan Swift, Dean (1713-1745) and author of Gulliver’s Travels. A different memorial pays tribute to another dean and his wife.
I found “the Door of Reconciliation” most interesting. In 1492, two families fought. The Earl of Ormond’s nephew, Black James, took refuge in the Chapter House of the Cathedral. He refused to open the large wooden door for the opposing Earl of Kildare who only wanted to make peace. The Earl ordered his men to chop a hole in the door. Then, he took his chances and pushed his hand through the hole. Rather than chop off the Earl’s arm, Black James shook his hand and settled the feud.
An old Celtic Cross, uncovered near the building site, remains preserved. Researchers believe it marked the spot of the well where St. Patrick baptized converts.
Once again we stopped at a pub for refreshments and dancing entertainment. Later I trudged the stairs to the ship. After a long, tiring day, I looked forward to relaxing and reading up on our next destinations, Waterford, followed by St. Peter Port on the island of Guernsey.