Finally, we were off to Dublin for the last couple of days of our trip. Thankfully it was mostly motorways to get back there. We had a couple of missed turns due to a bit of confusion on the motorway approaching Dublin, then it took a while to spot the Budget Car Rental, and I thought, well, logically, that a gas station would be close to the rental agency since you have to gas up before you return the vehicle. Wrong. It was borderline infuriating to try to find a gas station. After asking two different people where a gas station could be found, ("You mean, a petrol station?" "Yes.") we had a direction to go in and found one. I wanted desperately to be rid of the car, and I am sure my travel companion felt the same way. So, it was back to Budget, and the last challenge was to park it in a tiny alley (which I passed twice trying to find it....). Success. Goodbye little red rental car. I conquered you and the roads in Ireland too. No more driving for me for three months. I wish I took a picture of the little car, but I did not. I must ask you to use your imagination here.
After the crypt tour, I went off on a long walk to the old jail, Kilmainham Gaol, photographing along the way. I don't remember what this building is, but the Liffey is in the foreground.
I knew I was headed in the right direction when I approached Heuston Railway Station. I think it is the prettiest train station I have ever seen. I also passed a couple of museums along the way, which I unfortunately did not have enough time to visit. I learned that the map I was using was not to scale when I kept walking, and walking, and still hadn't reached my destination.
Touring Kilmainham Gaol was my absolute favorite thing that I did in Dublin, not because it was fun or exciting, but because it was so rich in history and I learned so much in the two and a half hours that I was there about Ireland and the people who fought, suffered, and died for its independence.
We learned about Anne Devlin who protected the names of some 50 rebels from the government and suffered terribly for it, tortured mentally and physically in prison and was followed by the police once she was out. Her lifelong commitment to secrecy helped Ireland become independent.
I headed back to the hostel after the jail, then went across the street for dinner and had tagliatelle with roasted vegetables in, what else, but a cream sauce. I did my last very expensive load of laundry then headed to bed.
4:20 am. Fire alarm. Get up, get out. It's freezing outside and there is about two hundred of us. I was speaking Spanish with my hostel roommate who was from Spain. (Right? At four o'clock in the morning, very drowsy, in cold weather, I was having conversation in Spanish. Whoda thunk it?) We were outside for at least 20 minutes while they cleared the building. It turns out some drunkard tried to open a door that is not to be opened unless there is a fire. Great. Back to bed.
I headed back over to the Cinnamon Cafe for breakfast the next morning because it brought me so much joy the day before. I had a warm croissant with nutella, sliced banana, and powdered sugar. Yum.
I looked at the statues and monuments along O'Connell Street.
Some had bird poo on their heads...
...and some were seemingly unnecessary.
Since I was right at the National Gallery I stopped in there. The artwork was unbelievable. Some of it dated to the 12th century. There was an exhibit of Irish painters' work and it was neat to see paintings of places I had been to, like Killarney, from the 1800's. There was also a European painting exhibit, of which I also really enjoyed. There was a Van Gogh (that I totally dismissed and walked by at first until the name caught my eye), a Rembrandt, one by Rembrandt's teacher, along with a couple of other big names. I learned that I'm not a fan of Yeat's work (sorry, Ireland).
There's Oscar. Just hanging out on a rock.
I finally found the entrance to Trinity College and took a couple of great pictures of this stunning tower.
I did not see the Book of Kells. I couldn't justify spending the amount they charge to see it, so my visit to the Trinity College campus was brief.
This guy? Real. Clearly, I didn't realize that the first time I walked by him.
I walked on to Grafton Street where there were lots of shops, street performers, and musicians. This is where I heard the most beautiful music playing. A band called, "Mutefish" was playing away and I didn't ever want the show to end. The music was so moving it resonated with me all day. Imagine fairy music. It was just spectacular. There was a flute player, a drummer, a couple of guitarists, and maybe another member. I must order their cd before I leave the UK.
I walked on in search of The Queen of Tarts. I wasn't leaving Ireland without having a treat here. I had a warm pear tart served with cream. Marzipan was baked into the tart shell. Mmmmmm. What a way to end the day and my stay in Ireland.
Here is a taste of what is to come:
The view from my window!
I am so glad I have the city view!