Sadly, my dream vacation came to an end when I arrived in Dublin, Ireland. We pulled in to port in the wee hours of the morning and were there and ready to disembark for the last time when we woke up. The cruise ended, but I didn’t want to just get on a plane and head home without seeing Dublin. So, I booked a city bus tour and a hotel for the night and flew home the next morning.
My last daily veranda selfie with the port of Dublin in the background
The port of Dublin is another industrial port – not much to see right there.
So, I got up, had some breakfast, and when my tour group was called, got off the ship and was on my way! The bus tour was very nice – 4 hours of an overview of the entire city and a few stops where we could get off. The highlight of the tour was St. Patrick’s Cathedral — we got to spend a good amount of time there touring the church and learning about its history. The rest of the city was a HUGE contrast to what we saw in the Cork / Cobh area……there, we had lots of green country side with castles and small, quaint villages. Dublin is a big city – very busy, hectic, typical large city — there were some awesome things to see and LOTS of history, but I’m not one for big cities, so I was less impressed, over all, with Dublin. But – it was still a really great day full of exciting sights and experiences!
This is a monument to the great famine
I learned quickly that it was not safe to just “wander” around the busy streets……they drive like maniacs there and don’t stop or even slow down for pedestrians!!!
Dublin used to be a walled city in medieval times – the wall was constructed in 1242 AD.
Herd of deer that live in Phoenix Park
In 1979, Pope John Paul II became the first ever Pope to visit Ireland and held a papal mass in Phoenix Park. This huge cross and alter was erected for the mass and left in place as a reminder of the event. 1.3 million people attended, making it the largest gathering of Irish people ever.
There was an ice cream truck in the park boasting “Quality Irish Ice Cream” – I got a cone (as did most of my bus mates) and it was AWESOME — thick and creamy soft serve — I think it was the best custard ice cream I’ve ever had……so good!!!!
Next stop was St. Patrick’s Cathedral — it was such a big building and I couldn’t get very far back without having stuff in my way, so couldn’t get a shot of the entire building!
in 450 AD, St. Patrick baptized people into Christianity on this site before there was even a church there
890 AD was the first documented physical church on the site
1191 – 1212 AD the status of the church was elevated to a Collegiate Church and then to a Cathedral
1220 – 1260 AD began the construction of the current Cathedral building
1713 – 1745 – Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, was Dean of the Cathedral until his death and is buried in the Cathedral
Just some of the impressive history…….we tend to get excited when we read about our history when we see dates in the 1700’s and 1800’s……..I was in awe when I learned of history in all the places I visited during this cruise dating back to just barely after the death of Christ and the 1000’s!!! It is really humbling to think of the age of our country in comparison!
The next several photos were taken inside this amazing Cathedral:
Our tour guide for the entire bus tour……..he was really cool and very knowledgeable!
After the city tour, I checked in at my hotel…….I stayed at the Castle Hotel – a very quaint and lovely….and old Victorian hotel! I loved it and recommend it if anyone is looking for a hotel in Dublin! Only tip I have, though, is to ask for a bell hop to help with your luggage……I dragged a big suitcase, a small suitcase, a tote, and my purse through a VERY small elevator, thick carpeting, steps and doorways separating sections of the corridors, and a step up into the room! It wasn’t easy! But — the hotel really was quite awesome!
No – these stairs were not part of my trip to my room – there was an elevator!
The OCD in me really wanted to slide this couch over to center it under the painting — it drove me NUTS!!! LOL
Bare bones room, but it was really clean and very comfortable!
After I got settled in my room, I left and grabbed a hop-on-hop off bus to see what else I could see…….
I hopped off at Trinity College because I really wanted to see the Book of Kells —- a book believed to have been created in 800 AD by monks in a Columban Monastery in either Ireland or England containing tables and and text illustrating the four Gospels of the New Testament. It is on display in the Library at Trinity College in Dublin. But……..I discovered they only allow so many people in to view it each day and they already reached their max and were no longer issuing admission tickets! 😦 So – this is me outside Trinity College, disappointed and waiting to get back on the bus! LOL
They are serious about looking before you step off a curb — cars will NOT slow down or stop for you — they’ll run you over and keep right on going!!!
The last place I stopped at was the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square across from my hotel – this is a garden dedicated to the memory of “all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom”. It is a lovely, peaceful garden.
I finished off the evening in the hotel restaurant with a very interesting shrimp cocktail and traditional Irish Guinness Stew —- DELICIOUS!!!
Their shrimp cocktail is not what I’m used to — it was tiny shrimp dressed in a mayo based sauce with some spices……not bad – I ate it all and did like it, somewhat, but I wouldn’t order it again! The bread was excellent, though!
But…..the beef stew……OMG — the most tender, flavorful beef and the richest, deep flavored gravy I’ve ever had…..and tender vegetables that were permeated with the rich flavors of the beef and gravy…….and those strips on top are crispy parsnip chips – I LOVED THEM!!! I ate every bite of the stew and wished for more!!! So good!!!
While in Dublin, I also heard a lot about the concerns Ireland has about the possibility of Britain leaving the European Union! Ireland does NOT want to leave the EU – they want to remain apart of the union……but, parts of Ireland are still under British rule, so if Britain leaves the EU, it will leave Ireland in a very bad predicament with part of their country in and part out! So, they are watching the developments closely and they are in talks with Britain to make a plan for their future.
After a very good night’s sleep, I got up and headed to the airport — my taxi driver was wonderful — he turned into a tour guide and information source all along the route to the airport! Dublin airport was unbelievable —- really LARGE, but very easy to get around and find your way and very efficiently run! I was impressed!!! They have a complete mall inside – including a full service drug store, beauty station where they did make-overs, like in a big department store, and about every restaurant and store you could imagine! I got to my gate and discovered my flight was delayed an hour — not a good start of my 18+ hours of airports and flights!!! But, once I got on the flight, all was fine — I had a long lay over in Lisbon, so it didn’t create any problems and the next two flights were on time!
Air Portugal was the airline I used and I was happy to see they had these tablet holders — nice! I’ve never seen them on any other airline, but I hear others do have them. Unfortunately, the short one hour or so flight from Dublin to Lisbon had one, but the very long flight from Lisbon to JFK in New York didn’t! But, it did have a TV with a large selection of free movies and TV shows to choose from — I watched “The Upside” and “A Star is Born”. I was also lucky enough to have all three seats in my center row to myself, so I was able to put the arms up and stretch out to read and be comfortable for the long flight – I even was able to lay down and sleep for about an hour or so! Then, my experience going through customs at JFK was smooth and quick, as well……and the layover there was comfortable, so I didn’t feel rushed! And, all three flights (Dublin to Lisbon, Lisbon to JFK, and JFK to Buffalo) were all smooth as glass — no turbulence or issues of any kind! It was a bit unbelievable, but definitely welcomed!!! 🙂
And, finally……the Captain of the Celebrity Reflection issued us all a certificate in recognition of crossing the Atlantic — I thought that was pretty cool!
So, the whole trip was just amazing…….I thought crossing the Atlantic on a cruise ship would probably be a once in a lifetime thing, but I just may do it again with different ports of call — maybe Italy or other Mediterranean countries……hhhmmm……we’ll have to see about that! I know that just about everybody I met and talked to on the cruise were seasoned ocean crossers and I only met one other person who was a first time crosser, like me!
So, what’s next for me? Well, I do have an October trip to DC with a couple friends booked! And, I do need to get to the last three states so I can say I’ve been to all 50 states – I need Kentucky, Colorado, and New Mexico to make that happen and I’d kind of like to knock those out this year……but, time will tell! I’m also toying with the idea of maybe doing a Panama Canal trip next year and at some point, I’d love to do a European River Cruise!!! 🙂 I’ll keep you posted! hehehehe