Sunday, June 14, 2015

Ireland Day 9

I seriously just want to pinch myself!  This trip has been so amazing!  We have been able to see and do so much and I completely understand why Peter loves this country so much! We saw all the highlights of Dublin today. I know there is so much more to see and do, but we hit the big one's at least!  

We woke up to another day of just incredible weather here! I don't know how we've been so blessed!  I truly never would have thought we would have even thought a 10 day streak of nothing but sunshine was possible in Ireland!  Our first stop this morning was to Trinity College!  What a beautiful campus in the heart of Dublin!

Of course Trinity College houses an amazing part of history in the Book Of Kells.  We are not allowed to photograph the book itself but learning the history and seeing how intricate it was put together was truly amazing.  It is also amazing to see how many times in history it was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and yet it was never destroyed. It stood the test through wars and battles and even thieves.

The Book of Kells is housed inside The Old Library at Trinity College.  An added treat to seeing the Book of Kells is getting to tour the Old Library.  You may recognize that it looks a bit familiar, because it was also in the Harry Potter movies.  It is a beautiful place to get to see and I can only imagine all the incredible books within these doors!  

After our tour of the campus we walked over to St Stephen's Green to tour the park.  It was very pretty, especially in this weather! 

There was a cute little swan family hanging out with all their adorable little babies! 

Then it was a nice little walk over to St Patrick's Cathedral.  This was our hidden gem of the day.  We had to wait a few minutes for the church service inside to end before we could tour it.  I love that these cathedral's are still very active to their purpose even today!  The outside of this building alone was just beautiful to see!

But I kind of stood in awe as we entered!  It was just incredible! And the history of St Patrick and all that he did for this country (as we learned some of it yesterday) is just amazing.  Many attribute him fully to the conversion of Ireland to the Christian based country it is today.

The stained glass was amazing to look at! 

A picture cannot do this stained glass justice but I just loved these panels!

We also did a visit to Christ Church Cathedral.  This one is under a bit of renovation so we couldn't enjoy it in all of its glory. And the church service was just about to begin so unfortunately we couldn't tour the building.

We also saw Dublin Castle.  It was a pretty building, but after visiting the nearby Cathedral's it was a bit of a letdown.

And we waivered back and forth on this one but Guinness is such a huge part of this city, that we decided to do the Guinness Storehouse Tour. As our cab driver brought us into Dublin, he showed us all of the buildings that Guinness is made in and let me tell you, it is a huge operation in this downtown area and you wouldn't even realize all those buildings are actually Guinness buildings.  As we were about 10 minutes from Guinness I told Peter I smelled something good in the air, it kind of smelled like sour dough bread baking but slightly different.  I remember our taxi driver mentioning that you could smell the Guinness in the air if you were close to the production area.  Sure enough, the closer we got the more I realized that this city does in fact smell like Guinness. 

The tour was a bit hokey, and there were numerous moments as we went through it that I felt a bit like we were in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.  They eventually sent us off to this bright white room with some funky smells coming out of these pods.  The pods had 4 smells that are essential to Guinness.  The room was made specially with the lights and such to awaken our senses and prepare us to fully taste the Guinness the way it was meant to be tasted. 

View from the Gravity Bar. Dublin definitely wouldn't win any prizes for being the "prettiest" city in the world but it has some really cool buildings. Some fun little things:  Arthur Guinness signed a 9000 year lease in 1759 for 45 euros per year on the grounds where the Guinness Storehouse now stand. Some of his employees are also responsible for the development of the Guinness Book of World Records.  And interestingly Arthur's 3rd son (of 21 children) who inherited the factory (and became the richest man in Ireland) paid all the money out of his own pocket to rebuild and restore St Patrick's Cathedral way back in the day and he is the reason that amazing building is here!  Pretty cool!

Before heading back to our room to rest prior to our last dinner in Ireland, we had to hit the number 1 ice cream spot in the city.  This place is so cool and so yummy. So what is fun is that you combine any 2 flavors on their menu to make your treat.  So I had a scoop of caramel and a scoop of something I've never had before - sea salt ice cream.  So yummy!  I really hope that flavor makes its way over to America!  Peter mixed Irish Cream with Sea Salt and I think that may have been one of his most favorite treats ever!  

Well that wraps up my trip reports of Ireland. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to come over and spend this time with my hubby and see this amazing place.  I truly don't think this trip could have been any better and I am sure the next time I am here the weather will not be able to compare.  I miss my babies so sooo much and I can't wait to see them but this is a trip that I will not soon forget!