Kilkenny to Dublin

Well, our journey around Ireland is almost over. 😔

Yesterday we left our wonderful hotel at Kilkenny, but before saying good bye we visited the castle and explored the town a little.

The castle sits above the town with a commanding spot on the River Nore. Disappointingly, there is no photography allowed within the castle – this is very unfortunate because it was beautiful with lots of wonderful things to admire. The portrait gallery in particular was fabulous. The garden was also very pretty.

 After exploring the town (very nice), on the way back to the car, we happened to call in on a music shop, which just happened to have a harp for sale:

 Alas, at €2795 and no room in my luggage, I could not take it home with me. I did however find myself a book of all of Turlough O’Carolan’s sheet music (with 4 cd’s to accompany it) – so I did leave with that. Turlough O’Carolan is a famous Irish harpist from the late 17th and early 18th century for those not in the know.

We called in at the Brownshill Dolmen (it sits in a field, just outside of Carlow) – it has the largest capstone of all the megalithic portal tombs in Ireland (reputedly weighing 150 tons). It is very impressive.

Brownshill Dolmen

Glendalough was our last stop before heading back into Dublin. This is home to an early Christian monastic site originally founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. It is easy to see why he would have chosen this spot; it is so peaceful and very beautiful! 
  

For our final 2 nights I thought it would be nice to finish off with a stay in a ‘castle’ (it was originally a castle but has been rebuilt and reinvented most recently in in the late 90’s as a hotel)- at Clontarf Castle, a little out of the city.  

Our final day in Dublin has been pretty quiet, catching the local bus into the city and just doing a bit of shopping, having lunch in Temple Bar and some more walking around the city. Tomorrow we fly back to Texas and back to reality. For a little island, Ireland sure packs a lot in! It has been a most wonderful trip (I wish it could have been longer) and I hope I can come back soon! 😊

Dublin Town!

We arrived in Dublin via London’s Heathrow airport around midday Thursday. After picking up our car and checking into our hotel and having a late lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring central Dublin on foot.

We looked around the Temple bar district:

Temple Bar

Temple Bar

And saw the ha’penny bridge (the one that had all the locks attached to it – they are already making a comeback).

Ha'Penny Bridge

Ha’Penny Bridge

Locks of the Ha'Penny bridge

Locks of the Ha’Penny bridge

Today (Friday) we got off to a late start unfortunately since we over slept (we had been awake more than 32hrs by the time we went to bed). However we got to Trinity College by 11am and I got to see the Book of Kells in its home and then took in the atmosphere and splendor of the long hall in the library when I got to see Brian Boru’s Harp (which, for me, was just as exciting as seeing the Book of Kells).

BrianBoru_Harp

From there we headed to the National Museum of Ireland. This was fabulous – got to see some of the best examples of ancient Irish treasures – another highlight for me was the Tara Brooch and the silver Ardagh Chalice.

Tara Brooch

Tara Brooch

After a quick afternoon tea we headed to Christ Church Cathedral to explore this lovely old (>1000 years) church.

inside Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral

inside Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral

We then headed to Dublinia (an interactive museum tracing the history of Ireland from Viking times). Although interesting, I think this is probably a good one for the kids).

A walk back through Temple Bar and we found ourselves at The Oliver St. John Gogarty pub (where I am writing this post) – the first pub to play live Irish music – for some dinner, drinks and some great live Irish music! My day is complete! Fabulous.

GogartysPub

Live traditional Irish music at Gogarty's before the crowds!

Live traditional Irish music at Gogarty’s before the crowds!

I am sure a day and a half is not enough time in Dublin, but it’s been wonderful!