Both days were warm, airless apart from the evenings when the sea breezes kicked in…. sunshine and blue sky. There were problems with internet connections on both days as the marina provision did not seem to work and when it did it was intermittent.
On the Friday morning Mike hired a car and drove westwards towards the River Shannon where he met up with family and did family business. T on the other hand remained on the boat and its immediate vicinity and did five loads of laundry…. and very expensive that was. Each wash was 5 euros and each 30 minute drying session was 3 Euros x 4 = 40 Euros in total.
Photo of my foot…. the left hand side of the laundry room at Dun Laoghaire ( Dublin )…. please note Simon in Bexleyheath how many small digital pads there are to press!
Each wash gobbled up Euro coins, so there were at least 3 visits to the Marina Office to get change. Please appreciate how far the boat was from the actual laundry… T did over 11,000 steps on this day, nearly 5 miles back and forth!! For Bridget… two “colours”, two “whites” and one bed laundry. And for Simon in Bexleyheath…. each marina provides different washing machines and different dryers… so I am an expert now in the art of knowing how to do the washing! Although, I was before coming on this trip! My fourth major ” laundry day” of the trip…. the others being Portland, Falmouth and Bristol.
I also made excursions into Dun Laoghaire to the supermarket…. and very soon it was becoming more and more apparent that Ireland and the Euro was an expensive place. Victuals were purchased to fill the fridge and dry goods cupboard. Mike returned in the evening and we had a late supper at Nando’s… sitting outside. Excellent food quality, but poor service and a most peculiar tasting fizzy beer made in Mozambique. According to various reports in the press… Nando’s is opening more and more restaurants because they have captured the niche market in making chicken “taste different” whilst other chains, like Prezzo, Zizzi, Jamie Oliver… are closing restaurants up and down the country…because they do not have a unique, brand “flavour”…. who knows? But I did think the beer really strange.
Friday 6th July… 2018, Rest Day Two. Dun Laoghaire ( Dublin ).
Again a warm sunny day. Mike decided to do his laundry today and return the hire car. Following this we caught the train into the centre of Dublin. If you recall, the last time we had done this…. was in Cardiff. Really old fashioned, noisy diesel trains there. In Ireland they were reasonably posh, quiet overhead electric ones. The return ticket cost 6.25 Euros each which considering it was not purchased with a Senior Rail Card discount…. started to dispel some of my ideas about Ireland being expensive. So train travel in Eire appears reasonable… this was for a journey of well over half an hour and six stops.
We passed through the outer Dublin suburbs, skirting the very wide Dublin Bay… which at low tide looked somewhere between mud and sand with small streams running here there and everywhere. So we passed through stations called Sandymount, Blackrock, Lansdowne Road ( big international football stadium there ), Grand Canal Dock ( full of houseboats ) and we got off at Pearse Station very close to Trinity College.
My sister had intimated strongly that we should go and see the “Book of Kells”…. and what my sister says goes… so go we did… to Trinity College. It was hot and muggy…walking in and out of thousands of tourists getting off coaches outside Trinity College was not easy… but we made it to the main entrance in College Green/College Street and promptly joined a tourist queue to buy a ticket for a walking tour which included the Book of Kells. 14 Euros each.
For the next couple of hours we were in the company of a student led tourist group of about 20 people…. which set off at 11.45am in the main Trinity College courtyard. Our leader was a very confident, articulate and well rehearsed second year undergraduate studying “European Studies”…. she was very good indeed… and dressed in the dark brown undergrad gown.
Photo…. our guide a second year undergraduate at Trinity College. For the best part of 45 minutes this young lady captured and held her audience with a mixture of humour, precise historical detail and fabled university anecdotes handed down over generations.
Sadly, in one of the principle courtyards of Trinity…. all the trees were being chopped down!! Some dreadful disease had caused serious distress and when the word got out… students do what they do… they demonstrated!
Tree surgeons at work in Trinity College. Centre right…. the left over stump!
Following our guided tour, our brilliant and lovely guide, took her leave as we went off to the main Library …. one of the world’s great research libraries, holding the largest collection of manuscripts and printed books in Ireland. Our esteemed guide claimed the length of all the books placed side by side would exceed the Cambridge length by at least a yard or metre in new money. Cambridge University Library also claims to be the largest ( the big black tower you always see from the M11 whilst driving north up from Duxford and probably wondered what it was ). T spent many a happy hour in that tower writing a thesis ). I had the good manners not to challenge the young lady.
So we finally arrived at the Book of Kells. We queued for a little while outside what is referred to as the Old Library at Trinity before being ushered into the section known as the Treasury. Here we viewed a magnificent exhibition leading us by way of history and explanation in a smaller room holding the Book of Kells…. plus the Book of Armagh and the Book of Durrow in the East Pavilion.
The Book of Kells is over a thousand years old… and contains lavishly decorated copy, in Latin, of the four Gospels. The book was probably produced early in the 9th century by the monks of Iona…. to the west of Scotland.
In a darkened room, hundreds of folk, squeezed, craned, some shoving… to peer over at the four manuscripts in a dimly lit glass central cabinet. As one person finished and moved, ten tried to squeeze into the available space. Lots of “ooohs” and “aahs”…. but we did manage to observe the Book of Kells.
We completed our tour of Trinity with a visit to the Long Room of the Library which houses some 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books. The books on shelves… go all the way up to the roof… and in fact on one occasion in the past… the roof had to be raised and re-built. What a lot of dusting!!!!! Also interesting were the marble sculptured busts of great cultural and academic worthies down through the ages…. as well as the oldest surviving harp in Ireland which probably dates from the fifteenth century.
By 2pm we were exhausted.
A pleasant late lunch was taken in a restaurant on the banks of the Liffey River which runs through central Dublin …. next to the O’Connell Bridge ( and that is even more history!).
So we caught the swift, overhead electric train from Tara Street Station back to Dun Laoghaire. Heads full of history one might say… but only a snippet of Dublin in the time available.
Dublin of course is not just about the Book of Kells and Trinity College. We spied the statute of Molly Malone …. cockles and mussels fame…. but did not see Phoenix Park, Dublin Castle, Croke Park, the Spire, or anything connected with Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Sean O’Casey, or the Famine Memorial…. time was not on our side…. but we got a flavour of the city.