Friday, 16 March 2012

Dropping in on Old Dublin Town

Today we were heading into Dublin, just a 40min drive from Trim & first up was to drop the car back at the Europcar depot in Mark Street.  From there we got a taxi to Buswells Hotel on Molesworth Street where we'd be staying for the next 3 days.  Because many streets had already been closed off in preparation for the St Patrick's Day Parade tomorrow, our taxi driver had some difficulty getting us across to the otherside of Trinity College where we were staying.  It seemed to take ages & cost us a lot more than it would have, had we not had to detour around closed streets.

Buswells is perfectly located as it is within short walking distances of Trinity College, Grafton Street, St Stephens Green, & the National Library & Museum, to name just a few.   It's an elegant Georgian Hotel with its own Restaurant & Bar & Breakfast Room.   

Buswells Hotel, Molesworth St, Dublin

We settled into our room at Buswells then headed out for a walk to the Dublin Tourism Centre [Suffolk St] just off Grafton street, to collect our 2 day Hop on Hop Off Bus ticket & our 2 day Dublin Pass ticket, which were kindly provided for us by Tourism Ireland NZ.   These two tickets would  sort out our transport & get us in to most of the attractions around the city.  Perfect!

It was drizzling slightly & we were hungry, so we dropped in to the Avoca Shop & Restaurant, also on Suffolk Street across from the Tourism Centre.  

Avoca Shop & Restaurant, Suffolk St, Dublin
 The first 4 floors are crammed full of fashionable clothing, throws, scarves, designer homeware & kids stuff, set amongst decorative lights & ornate gazebos.  It would be easy to wile away an hour here if you had the time & the money.  I love shops like this with treasures jammed into every nook & cranny.   

Avoca Cafe, Suffolk St, Dublin

But the real treasure is on the fourth floor in their busy, bright & artsy cafe.   The place was heaving with people but despite this we were served quickly by their attentive, uber friendly, predominately male staff.   I've talked this place up on purpose, because it really is worth a visit.  I can certainly recommend the homemade lemonade if you're thirsty!

Homemade Lemonade, Avoca Restaurant, Dublin

The drizzle had abated by the time we left Avoca's so we ambled along to Molly Malone's statue at the end of the street.   The bronze statue of Molly Malone commemorates the young woman featured in the local ballad, 'Cockles and Mussels'. As the song goes, this beautiful woman plied her trade as a fishmonger through the streets where her statue now rests, until she suddenly died of a fever.

Molly Malone Statue, cnr Suffolk & Grafton Street, Dublin

This beautiful bosomy woman is colloquially referred to by the locals as the 'tart with the cart', 'the dish with the fish', 'the trollop with the scallop(s)', 'the dolly with the trolley' & 'the flirt with the skirt'. 

One of the things you notice quite quickly about the lovely Molly, is how shiny her bosom is.       I suspect it is not merely the natural weathering of bronze & a group of men who surrounded Molly after I took this photo [above], confirmed what we all know to be true about how Molly gets her shine! 
The Much Fondled Molly Malone, Dublin
Bidding Molly goodbye, we hopped on the Hop On, Hop Off bus to St Patrick's Cathedral
Built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint, St Patrick’s Cathedral stands adjacent to the famous Well where tradition has it St Patrick baptized converts on his visit to Dublin.  

St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
The present building, the largest church in Ireland, was built between 1191 and 1270.
However, because of a major rebuilding in the 1870's prompted by the belief that the cathedral was in imminent danger of collapse, much of the current building and decoration dates from the Victorian era. Though the rebuild ensured the survival of the cathedral, a failure to preserve records of the rebuild means that little is known as to how much of the current building is genuinely medieval and how much is Victorian.

The Nave, St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

Stained glass window, St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

The Nave, St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
In the grounds of St Patrick's Cathedral, is a statue of Sir Benjamin Guinness.  Born in Dublin, he was the grandson of the  Arthur Guinness who founded the  Guinness Brewery in 1759. He joined his father in the business at an early age, and in 1839 took sole control. By 1855, when his father died, Guinness had become the richest man in Ireland, having built up a huge export trade and by continually enlarging his brewery.

Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness Statue, St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
From 1860 to 1865, Sir Benjamin Guinness undertook, at his own expense, the restoration of the St Patrick's Cathedral, an enterprise that cost over £150,000.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin
The 'HO-HO' [that's short for Hop On Hop Off] Bus was on it's last circuit when we climbed back aboard, so decided to stay on it till we could get back off near the Temple Bar area.  It had crossed our minds that we might be able to get in a tour of the Guinness Storehouse but as we approached the entrance to the Storehouse, we could see a 50 - 75 metre queue stretching from the front entrance, right around the corner on to Grand Canal Place!  Obviously, the thousands of tourists in Dublin for St Paddy's Weekend, were getting in some sightseeing tours before the big celebrations tomorrow hence, we found the same at Kilmaninham Gaol with all tours of the Gaol, well booked out.

The River Liffey, Dublin

The Halfpenny Bridge over the River Liffey, Dublin

Temple Bar, Dublin

Spot the Tourist, Dublin


The Old Storehouse Bar & Restaurant, Temple Bar, Dublin
It was dusk by the time we reached the Temple Bar area & the cobbled streets were packed with people. The soft glowing lights outside The Old Storehouse Bar & the distant sounds of Irish music from within, beckoned us.   It was here we stayed for a good meal, lively music & fabulous atmosphere.

St Paddy's Day Eve, The Old Storehouse, Temple Bar, Dublin

The Temple Bar, Dublin

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