Day 2 – Dublin Ireland

We arrived in at the port of Dún Laoghaire after our 420 nautical mile transit from Southampton on time on our second day.

I was surprised that we were not going to be docking at Dublin Port, today we would be transferred to the port using the ship’s tenders. The reason for this was that the Port of Dublin has been closed to Cruise Ships since the start of Brexit as the cargo traffic increased significantly and therefore the decision was that cargo was more important that tourism.

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Samuel Beckett Bridge

I am fine with tenders, though a number of other passengers were not as comfortable with them. Not sure if this meant that a number of passengers decided to stay onboard, the tender I was on was full.

Dublin Highlights Tour

I would post the tour description, but what is in the provided the materials was for a different tour that sounded like a combination of my morning tour and my afternoon tour.

My morning tour was about 4 hours in duration and was a coach trip around some of the historical landmarks of Dublin.

Oscar Wilde

On the way to our first stop we passed a statue of Oscar Wilde chilling on a rock. Not a bad statue, would have liked to have gotten out to check it out properly.

St Patrick’s Cathedral

First up was St Patrick’s Cathedral, which is worth a look. It is also where Jonathan Swift preached, he is also the author of Gulliver’s Travels. One thing to note about touring the Cathedral is that you need to pay for privilege to enter the place.

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Trinity College

The next stop was Trinity College where we wandered the grounds before having the opportunity to visit the Book of Kells and then the amazing Trinity College Library, the highlight of the day for me.

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The Book of Kells is a decent exhibit, though it is pretty commercial.

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It has been a while since I provide some useless trivia, so why not provide some about the Book of Kells

It is an illuminated manuscript Gospel Book in Latin

Contains the four Gospels of the New Testament

Was created around 800 AD, possibly in Ireland, Scotland or England in a Columban Monastary (no one is sure which)

It is named after the Abbey of Kells which was its home for centuries

The pages are made from vellum, which is calf skin prepared for writing, taken from over 150 calves

Orpiment, arsenic sulfide, was used to make the yellow gold pigment

The 3D effect in some parts of the book was created by layering the different pigments on top of a base layer

The book had its jewelled cover, the cumdach or book shrine, stolen in 1007AD

The Trinity College Long Room

Trinity College’s library, the Long Room though, wow, what a place.

More useless trivia

The long room build finished in 1732, two years after architect Thomas Burgh passed away

It contains over 200,000 books that are still in use

After Trinity College we headed back to Dún Laoghaire where I had a 30 to 40 min wait until my next tour, River Cruise and Dublin Highlights

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Whilst it was an ok tour and our tour guide Paddy tried to engage us, he was little too much like that history teacher who thought he was entertaining but in realty he should have stuck to his day job. He knew his stuff but it sounded like he was re-using the exact same script he had been using for years and had forgotten how “spice” it up a bit. I did learn a fair bit though, so he must have done a semi-decent job..

River Cruise & Dublin Sights

My afternoon tour was a Cruise on the River Liffey.

This unhurried tour invites you to view Dublin’s top landmarks from both land and water during a single half-day excursion. “Dublin’s Fair City”” is bustling, cosmopolitan, ancient but exuberantly youthful. Your voyage through its history commences at the Docklands as you board the Liffey Voyager for a relaxing river cruise.

Gliding past icons like the cast-iron Ha’penny Bridge and Gandon’s neoclassical Custom House, you’ll learn how much of present-day Dublin sits on reclaimed land, including Trinity College and the Spire in O’Connell Street. After a time, you’ll rejoin your coach and guide to continue your landmarks tour via panoramic drive.

See the Georgian Squares of Merrion and Fitzwilliam, photograph the renowned Dublin Doorways, and pause at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ireland’s largest. Pass the Guinness Brewery, where the legendary Black Stuff is made, and stop to breath in the oxygen at vast Phoenix Park – where Ireland’s President and the American Ambassador live, and herds of deer roam freely.

The list of sights seen goes on and on, but space prohibits us from mentioning every highlight of this truly expansive Dublin journey. You’ll simply have to join in to find out.

  • Cruising the River Liffey and the streets of Dublin, be introduced to one of Europe’s liveliest cities.
  • From the river, see iconic sights like Ha’penny Bridge, the majestic Custom House and the spot where Oliver Cromwell landed in 1649.
  • By coach, see and stop at the cathedral where Johnathan Swift once preached, famous Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares, and 1,750-acre Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest enclosed urban greenspace.
  • Encounter dozens of historic landmarks, brought into context thanks to informative narration and your guide’s local knowledge.
  • Wear weather-appropriate clothing; include a light raincoat or umbrella.
  • Flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
  • Bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen as needed.

This tour is mainly panoramic, with any walking done at guests’ discretion during stops. Because of space limitations on the tour vessel, this excursion is not available to wheelchair guests. The order of sites visited may vary.

We passed a few of the same places as the previous tour, and included a stop at number 46 Fitzwilliam Square to check out one of the more ornate doors of Dublin. This is also the home of the Peruvian Embassy

This looked my sort of tour. Next time I am Dublin have to find this bloke, wonder if I will be allowed to smoke a stogie as well???

River Liffey Cruise

The River Liffey cruise was interesting and a bit of a laugh, the Captain and the Tour Guide, Jerry, had a good comedy act going and provided good coverage about the history of the river, its bridges, the vessels moored and the buildings along it’s banks. Definitely worth the trip!

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Customs House

Apparently a couple of enterprising blokes built this Customs House close to the mouth of the River Liffey and arranged for a new bridge to be built a little further upstream that would prevent the vessels of the time from going further up the river to where the original Customs House was built, cutting them out of the tax business. They made a decent profit by the sounds of it. Nice looking building as well. The doors on the ground floor to the left and right of the central part of the building were where the Customs Agents collected the taxes.

The Epic, the Irish Emigration Museum, is apparently the best museum in Europe 2019, 2022 and 2021, even out ranking the Louvre. Unfortunately we did not get to visit the place, next time!

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The Irish Famine Memorial

The Great Famine or Great Hunger (also know ad the Irish Potato Famine) occurred between 1845 and 1849 and was a period of mass starvation. Around 1 million peopled died during the period and over 1 million people emigrated out of Ireland, reducing the population by around 25%.

The famine was caused by a potato blight and the economic policies of the POMs (British Whigs). Because of the number of people who emigrated and died during this period Ireland is the only country that has today a lower population number than it had in the first half of the 19th century.

The Famine Memorial

St Patrick’s Cathedral Grounds

We also stopped at St Patrick’s Cathedral again, this time we wandered around the grounds, nice spot for a stroll. From there we headed back to the wharf.

Dublin Wall

On the way to Phoenix Park we drove past the Dublin Wall built in 1240 AD. It looks like it can still keep the riff-raff (like me) out…

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park was the next stop on the tour. The Park as per the description in the tour is the largest enclosed park space in Europe. Even has a flock of deer running around the place and his home to both the Irish President’s and the US Ambassador’s residences. The Dublin Zoo is also a part of the park along with a monument to Wellington.