Dodging a multitude of people attempting to hand hapless tourists bus tour flyers, we began our day with a proper power breakfast: donuts.
We then joined a free 3-hour walking tour, which covered the highlights of northern Dublin: the Spire, O’Connell Bridge, Trinity College, College Green, the Bank of Ireland, Temple Bar, Dublin Castle, Dubb Linn Gardens, Christ Church Cathedral, and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
Fun facts from the guide:
- Ireland is a neutral country, which sounds like a good thing, except for when the soldiers were clearing out the remains of a statue to make way for The Spire. They grossly overestimated the amount of munitions they’d need, and blew out every window along O’Connell Street
- Ireland’s most famous feminist is Constance Markievicz
- Trinity College’s first dean said that women would only study there over his dead body, and a year after he died, the first woman enrolled. Rumor has it that women then proceeded to fulfill the dean’s wishes by marching right over his grave whenever they entered or exited the college. You go, ladies!
- Vikings introduced the Irish to toilets; Vikings did not actually have horns on their helmets–credit for that goes to Christianity, who attempted to portray them as devils; and Dublin was actually a Viking settlement
- the Irish word for whiskey, uisce beatha, does not help stereotypes because it translates directly into “the water of life”
- Tom and Jerry gave Christ Church Cathedral its fame, aka a guy found a mummified cat and rat in an organ pipe
- Though it was illegal to be gay in Ireland until 1990, at least the country was the first in the world to legalize gay marriage through popular vote
Previously, my knowledge of Ireland came from spring-semester English lit class, where we sadly only got to cover the Easter Uprising, Joyce, and Bowen. But, I ended up loving Irish literature so much that I turned in a 12-page final when the max page limit was 10…no, I don’t have a problem.
Our noses helped us retrace our steps to the Temple Bar food market, where we were tempted to consume everything in sight. I ended up getting chicken dumplings to revive the Asian in me, remembering my manners enough to tell the guy “thank you” in Chinese.
Since the sun was gracing us with its presence, we strolled along the River Liffey for a bit and poked around the Ha’penny Market and a bookstore, and I fed myself bubble tea.
I then spent a solid two hours exploring the city, getting to know “dear dirty Dublin,” as Joyce called it. The city’s architecture is honestly fascinating, a seemingly bizarre mixture of brightly brick and brightly colored facades that somehow manage to merge seamlessly together.
Finally, thanks to a recommendation from one of my professors, A and I met up again and enjoyed dinner at Cornucopia, a vegan restaurant with salads that I seriously need to learn how to make.