Thursday, July 3, 2014

Europe. First Destination: DUBLIN!!!!

Hi there peeps!

Tahlia and I finally made it to Dublin, after some long ass flights. This is Tahlia's first trip to Europe, but she is handling any jetlag well! We are both going to be writing the blog this trip. We will start off writing about Dublin, which is the first destination for our two week Ireland trip, before heading to Germany and Czech Republic.

Matt - We arrived into Dublin (the capital of Ireland) on Monday morning at 7:30am, and with little to no sleep a whole day of sightseeing seemed like a big task! We decided to go for a big walk, while waiting to check in.

Tahlia checking out the beautiful Christchurch Cathedral.                  

We also had a beautiful walk around Dublin Castle

This 121m spire, which has been standing since 2003 helped with city mapping, as our hotel was right near it! Walking in either direction along the river was equally beautiful, so we refused to catch any buses.

What better what to finish our first day at Dublin than to visit the Guinness factory?

The Guinness factory was absolutely hectic. The tour takes you through a crazy touristy showing of how Guinness is made. The part of the tour we wanted to participate in most, was the tasting in the Gravity Bar, which is set high above the city. Watching the nitrogen settle in the glass has become rather mesmerising.

The view from the bar was absolutely stunning, and gave us some idea of what the city layout looked like.
On our second day we went to see the Kilmainham Gaol, which was built in 1796. We did the tour, which illustrated some important history of the Gaol, and also Ireland in general. The below picture shows one of the wings in the prison. 
Tahlia - Our third day in Dublin saw us travel to two ancient sites: Newgrange and Hill of Tara. Newgrange, which is older than Egypt's pyramid of Giza, was constructed around 3,200 BC as a secret passage tomb. In order to hide the tomb, the mound was covered with grass and disguised as a hill. On the right hand side of the picture below, you can see the excavated outer section of Newgrange. 

We got to venture a quarter of the way inside the tomb, and see the ancient markings which signify something of unknown significance. When the tomb was excavated in recent history, only five corpses were found inside, compared to the thousands that were found in other passage tombs. 

Next we stopped at the Hill of Tara, which is an archaeological complex, containing many ancient monuments. Today it appears as a set of hills, but in the tenth century a church, banqueting hall and many royal monuments existed there. 
The photo below shows a small burial tomb, one of many located in the ancient site.

This church was built in recent past in 1822-23, however the earliest church at the Hill of Tara dates back to the 1190's, and no longer stands. 
Around the church lies a graveyard, with headstones that have succumbed to the weathering effects of age. 

On our final morning in Dublin we visited Trinity College (founded in 1592), to see the Book of Kells and the Old Library. The photo below shows the Long Room of the library, which contains many of the library's five million books. It was a special sight to see (and smell!) such an expanse of old knowledge. Onwards to Kilkenny!

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