We spent 5 days in Ireland over the Easter holiday weekend. The first two nights in Dublin and then two nights out in the country. We arrived in Dublin about 3pm on Good Friday. I was super-exhausted from some greuling weeks at work – so we went straight to the hotel and didn’t leave all evening. We took a nap, then ate dinner at the hotel restaurant. The hotel’s restaurant was in an 1861 schoolhouse building. Very cool. The hotel had Craftsman style detailing and furniture, instilling a sense of being in Portland, Oregon, USA, for some reason.
Saturday we had all day to “do” Dublin. We started by heading to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. Transcribed by Celtic monks around 800ad, it is the four new testament gospels in Latin, based on the Vulgate. It was truly fabulous to see in person. Photographs and reproductions do not do it justice – the detail and depth of the illustrations is amazing.
The rest of the day we spend walking around to some of the other sites in Dublin, including an obligitory swing through Temple Bar (extremely overrated). We toured Dublin Castle with the most efficient and no-nonsence tour guide we’ve ever had (she runs the last group of the day through like a pro). After dinner, on the walk back to the hotel we stoped at an old bar that has live, traditional Irish music. There was a trio of older gentlemen performing up by the front window of the pub, and we scored a couple of bar stools near the back end of the bar. The man who was singing had the most beautiful, clear and powerful voice singing the old traditional songs. We were 50ft away in a crowded, noisy bar, but it sounded so clear. Really lovely. I’d like to find a CD sometime, but I’m sure it would not possibly do it justice.
Overall, Dublin was fine, but not somewhere that we’ll return, and not somewhere I’d recommend as a can’t miss European city. It felt like I could have been anywhere, I actually never could shake the feeling that I was in Portland. I like Portland, Portland is a great city too, but to my American friends, save your travel pennies and catch Portland someday. If you’re into the whole Irish thing, throw in a St Patty’s day celebration while you’re there, or maybe one of the great stateside St Patrick’s Day celebrations, like Chicago, and when you make it to Europe skip Dublin. Other than the Book of Kells, nothing was a “wow.”