Eire, a statue full of story and soul in Merrion Square Park, Dublin
We spent our last day in Ireland in Dublin. I had two goals: one, to make my daughter, who was footing the entire bill for our trip, happy, and, two, to see the Georgian House Museum in Merrion Square, the heart of Georgian Dublin. Since Georgian architecture is at the heart of town living during the Regency, I had to see it. My daughter's main ambition was to see the mummies at St. Michan's church. In order to do that, we had to find a way to get from southeast Dublin to northwest Dublin. We decided to hoof it so that we could see as much as possible on the way. Fortunately for me, Merrion Square was en route.
Our journey took us along gracious, sun-dappled residential streets full of architectural charm.
We left our hotel around nine and finally made it to the Georgian House Museum around 10:30. I was so excited that I forgot to take any photos of the exterior. Of the famous Georgian House. The one that is preserved as it was during the Regency. Forgot. Also, they didn't allow photos to be taken inside. All I can say is that it was marvelous and I wanted to back a moving truck into the mews and take all of the contents home with me. Afterwards we spent a good deal of time in the square, (we would call it a park) which was much bigger than I had supposed a Georgian square to be. We saw quite a bit of it and were shocked to find photos online of all sorts of scenes and statues that we saw no sign of. Whaddya know. (If you go, give yourself lots of time to explore.)
So, off again we set on foot. We went through the tourist section, the Grafton St. area, the Trinity College area, the Temple Bar area.
We stopped in again, at one point, at City Hall. The Molly Malone statue is out front. We were told that she is known, locally, as The Tart with the Cart. Whether or not this has anything to do with her plunging neckline, we do not know. ("I'm not bad, I'm just carved that way.")
This delightfully festive photo opportunity is found inside City Hall. As it turns out, my daughter's Riverdance skills were such that it clean took the heads off of her musicians. Time to hire more.
It was quite thrilling to walk across the Ha'Penny Bridge that spans the River Liffey. It was built in 1805 and therefore was traversed by a number of famous Regency-era individuals. (I'm guessing, wildly.) This bridge features largely in my novel that comes out in June of 2016, which takes place in Ireland--o'course! I am giddy about the whole the thing.
The Oliver St. John Gogarty Hostel. It looks like quite the happening place. Somewhere around here we found an international restaurant type set up where we had a delicious lunch.
More interesting churches and buildings that we passed along the way. One thing I learned about the Irish is that they, quite simply, don't tear down buildings. Even the ones that are falling down. S'marvelous.
We finally found St. Michan's after looking lost and being assisted by an elderly gentleman who quoted poetry to us in Irish Gaelic. (All sorts of wonderful things happen when my daughter is about.) Of course it was closed until an hour after we arrived. Of course I had to use the facilities and could not find any. Of course I forgot to take even one photo of the exterior of St. Michan's (of course).
While we waited, we watched as many barristers, their black robes flapping about, hurried back to the courthouse after lunch. I was so jealous of them as they had likely availed themselves of the facilities recently and, if not, would be doing so shortly. It was best not to think about it so we went down the street to check out a different church.
It was called St. Mary's of the Angels which we found to be quite "apropro" since mine is one. She's especially angelic when she gets to do exactly what she wants all day long for weeks at a time including eating ice cream and chocolate for lunch pretty much every day.
This is to one side of the church; I love the juxtaposition of the ancient and contemporary.
The Mary in question. I am not Catholic but I can appreciate a lovely Mary when I see one.
The windows on the interior of St. Michan's. This, however, was not what we came to see. (And yet, I remembered to take a picture of it. Huh.)
The entrance to one of the crypts we entered--one of two dark, deep, dank, and desperate tombs.
I must confess, the above photo is not mine. We were not allowed to take photos in the crypt at risk of having our fingers snapped in half by the slightly goulish, limping tour guide. I found this one in a book about Ireland's ghosts that we purchased the day of our arrival (priorities). This one was not labeled as belonging to St. Michan's so I assume the publishers of this book are safe from prosecution, unlike me who has labeled it. (I was going to say that this is where I made my first mistake. However, it isn't. Nor is it where I made my last.) These poor souls were properly buried. However, due to stacking one too many coffins upon another, quite a few of them have broken open over the years. They were preserved due to the mild weather and the low levels of humidity created by the limestone walls. If you look at the very top of the photo, you can see a coffin that is placed horizontally. The tour guide, after stressing that we should not attempt to breach the little fence in order to touch the mummies, suddenly yanked it out of the ground and asked who wanted to touch one of them. My daughter was the first to volunteer. She was allowed to touch the finger of the mummy inside of the horizontal coffin, said to be the remains of a crusader. From there we walked home (after finding a bathroom, or, as they call it there, a toilet) (t'is apt) (at the courthouse of all places) and collapsed onto our beds around four p.m.
That night we attended a dinner show at Taylor's. It was very well done and was pretty much the only traditional Irish folk music I heard outside of a Caroll's souvenir shop the whole time we were there.
I loved it. I wish we had done this every night.
The next morning, it was time to head to the airport. We had to say many of our goodbyes before then, however. We think of so many of these people with great fondness. Many hours spent together on a coach (bus) creates bonds. We are still in touch with some of them and plan to meet a few when we go to Scotland later this month on another fantastic Gate 1 tour.
John, our coach driver (he is the James Bond of Coach Maneuverability) and Alacoque, our tour guide, who we absolutely adore. We still miss her which is why we chose to go to Scotland with her at the figurative helm--we are so excited to tour around with her again.
This is Willy. He is the gentleman who picked us up at the airport when we arrived. He was everything a couple of native Californians could want from a twinkly-eyed, story-filled, white-bearded Irishman. He's the real deal. We were lucky enough to run into him on our way out our last morning there and he was kind enough to pose for a photo. Ireland is all about the people--they are the best.
A last door photo as we drove to the airport. It's the only yellow one I saw and it's a beauty.