On The Road To The Treasures of Dublin
I'll admit, it was a bit of a challenge getting out of bed on day 7, the last full day of our Ireland adventure, but there was so much to do and see, I didn't want to miss a moment of it!
We began with a tour of Dublin Castle, built in 1204 to defend Medieval Dublin.
The original castle was destroyed by fire in 1684 and rebuilt in the 1700's as a Georgian style castle; with the end of British rule in 1922, the castle's control went to the new Irish Free State Government. Although it is a huge tourist attraction, it remains a working government building - much like our White House.
In the Portrait Gallery, we saw paintings of British Viceroys - some wearing pieces of Ireland's "Crowned Jewels," which were stolen from the castle in 1907 - and never found. An award is still offered for their return, and as our tour guide suggested, "Have at it!"
We saw the (very large) throne of King George IV, who at some 370 lbs. was England's second largest monarch!
St. Patrick's Hall, one of the oldest rooms in the castle, is used for presidential inaugurations.
Across the courtyard we are able to see the only remaining original Medieval structure - the Record Tower, above ground, and part of the Dublin City wall and castle moat below ground.
We are warned not to drop anything in the nasty water, and that's when the drama began...I heard a splash, saw the commotion and realized a student's shoe had fallen in the "moat" - MY daughter's shoe! With the help of our guide, a couple sympathetic mom's and a broomstick, I was able to retrieve the now disgusting shoe from the slimy water. I proceeded to tell my daughter, "Don't expect a new pair of shoes every time you drop one in a moat!"
With borrowed shoes (thanks Diane!), we continued to historic St. Patrick's Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland and the site of our final concert.
St. Patrick's was built in the 13th century and has ties to Jonathan Swift ("Gulliver's Travels") and Handel's "Messiah" (first sung in1742 at St. Pat's).
After the performance, it was a short walk to Trinity College to see The Book of Kells, a lavishly decorated manuscript of the New Testament, created by Celtic monks in the early 9th century.
We wrapped up our day with a successful shopping excursion in Dublin!
I must be the luckiest chaperone on this trip!