Thursday, April 02, 2009

Gorging Myself on Tourist Attractions

We weren't up early enough on Tuesday March 24 to do any swimming before Roxi had to be at school. After another quick breakfast in our hotel room, we made the usual walk down Pearse Street to Trinity College where we parted ways at Roxi's building. I continued on to the city center to start my Dublin Pass day.

I chose to start with Christ Church Cathedral since it had the earliest opening hours. It is not the most impressive cathedral I've ever been to, but it has a lot of very interesting history that goes back nearly one thousand years. I spent almost an hour looking at the various artifacts in the cathedral and the crypt. Among the most interesting to me was not a religious artifact but rather a naturally mummified cat and rat that were found in a pipe in the organ. They most likely died their after getting stuck in the midst of the chase.

Christ Church Cathedral

The Cat and The Rat

Next I toured the nearby St. Patrick's Cathedral. I didn't spend as much time in St. Patrick's as I had in Christ Church, but I made specific note of the Jonathan Swift memorabilia on display including his appointment as Dean, his epitaph, his death mask and tomb.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Jonathan Swift's Death Mask

Jonathan Swift's Tomb

After St. Patrick's I still had some time before I needed to meet Roxi back at campus for lunch so I decided to learn a little more Dublin history with a visit to the museum in the City Hall. It was a well organized museum starting with the viking origins up to current history. All the walking and touring started to get me tired so I hit the highlights of the story of Dublin before heading back to Trinity College.

Roxi had given her presentation before lunch so we talked about how it went and other things she had learned in the morning session of the conference on our way to a sandwich shop. We opted for a cheap lunch as we had begun to realize just how expensive Dublin was after our first couple of days there. For a couple of cheap sandwiches, I thought it was great lunch! After lunch, we parted ways again at Roxi's building and I headed for Temple Bar on my way to the Old Jameson Distillery.

After crossing the River Liffey, I found my way to the Old Bow Street Jameson Distillery. Being a home brewer, I know a lot about the beer making process but very little about the process of making and distilling whiskey. The tour of the now retired distillery was very informative plus we finished with a nice sample of the smooth Irish whiskey now only distilled in Cork, Ireland.

The River Liffey

Jameson & Son Old Bow Street Distillery

A sample of the smooth Jameson Irish whiskey.

After the aperitif of whiskey, I headed for the tour of Dublin's other most famous alcohol production facility, the Guinness St. James' Gate Brewery. As I approached the building, the wonderful smell of roasted barley and hops permeated the streets. Once inside, I began my tour with a look at the famous 9000 year lease of the property that Arthur Guinness signed in 1759. I continued up several levels of the building showing the history of the beer and the brewery with a small sample of Guinness Foreign Extra stout along the way. The tour culminated with a pint of Guinness while admiring the panoramic view of the city from the Gravity Bar.

The 9000 year lease of St. James' Gate Brewery to Arthur Guinness.

Arthur Guinness

A sample of Guinness Foreign Extra.

The beauty of a settling Guinness pint straight from the source.

The Wicklow Mountains as seen from the Gravity Bar.

As the Guinness Storehouse was closing, I began my long walk back to Trinity College. I got there about an hour before Roxi's afternoon session ended but it was very nice to just sit and listen to my iPod while I was waiting after so much walking during the day. When the conference finally let out for the evening, Roxi and I walked back to the hotel where we continued to vegetate after the long day. The first two days of the conference were really taking their toll on Roxi as she had spent a combined twenty hours listening to lectures. We really weren't in the mood to leave the hotel so we chose to have dinner at the hotel bar. I had another pretty good burger while Roxi had a less than stellar pizza. Exhausted, we retired to bed to get some much needed rest.

No comments: