21 May, 2014

Days 1 & 2

My parents and I left our house at 9:00 am on Thursday morning and flew from San Diego to Philadelphia, where we had a two-hour layover and an additional hour-and-a-half flight delay. From there, we flew to Dublin, Ireland. By the time we landed, it was 10:00 am on Friday morning. Once we arrived, we hit the ground running. My brother Kevin flew in one day earlier, so we met up with him and headed to the Temple Bar area to find some lunch. We took the Luas, which is Dublin's light-rail system.

After lunch, we headed to Trinity College to see The Book of Kells, an Irish medieval manuscript containing the four gospels in Latin along with beautiful, intricate illustrations. It is believed to have been produced by monks sometime around 800AD on the island of Iona. It was amazing to see something so old and so beautiful, but what I enjoyed even more was the old library above. The collection was founded in 1592 and the old library, which was celebrating its 300th birthday, holds over 200,000 of the collection's oldest books. It houses two stories of symmetrical floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a beautiful vaulted ceiling. I would love to spend some time browsing the books in the old library, but unfortunately, they're off limits to tourists.

Next, we walked to St. Patrick's Cathedral. A church has stood on the site since the fourth century, and the one there now was built in the thirteenth century. It was absolutely gorgeous and reminded me a bit of Westminster Abbey, with its luminous stained glass windows and tributes to the great saints who lived before us. We then walked through the city and past Christchurch Cathedral on our way back to the hotel. 

We called a taxi to bring us out for dinner. All of our taxi drivers have been remarkably talkative and friendly, but the one on this occasion is by far my favorite driver. Ireland has their elections coming up soon and a few key figures have recently resigned, so we discussed this with him. He told us, "politicians are a bit like putting on a fresh pair of trousers; after you've got them for six months, you realize they're full of shit." There's never a dull moment when talking to an Irish taxi driver!

We ate dinner at a traditional Irish pub in Temple Bar. After dinner and dessert, we took the Luas back to the hotel and went to bed. By that time, I had been awake for over 32 hours, so bedtime was definitely welcomed!

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