Dublin and NewGrange trip

July 31, 2010

After the ferry ride to Dublin last night, we went on a walking tour to familiarize ourselves with the city. Though much smaller than London, Dublin is not exactly what comes to mind when you think about Ireland. It’s definitely still a city with buildings crowded together and cramped streets. But it was really neat to walk along the Liffey River that runs through Dublin as Dr. Wilber gave us more history on certain buildings and pubs as we walked past them.

What was most exciting was seeing the holes made by machine guns at the post office during the Easter 1916 uprising, which we learned a lot about before the trip by watching the movie “Michael Collins.” The movie was filmed where the event took place and made that piece of Irish history come alive for us.

USF Bulls at Newgrange! Newgrange is a neolithic structure that captures sunlight during the winter solstice. It was also used for burial and ritual purposes.

This morning, we took a tour bus out to Newgrange, which can generally be described as Ireland’s stonehenge. Except Newgrange predates Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids by about 500 years and were a Neolithic people who had a pretty increible grasp on astronomy. Like Stonehenge is set up for the summer solstice, Newgrange is set up for the winter solstice. A beam of line shines through a window in the roof and casts a beam of light all the way into the ritual/burial chamber son the inside, lighting up the pitch black chamber.

Most of the group seemed to enjoy Newgrange better because the architecture was more advanced and historians have a better grasp on what it was used for. I myself enjoyed Stonehenge better because of the mysteriousness and the part the Druids played in utilizing it later on.

One of the large Celtic crosses in the cemetery at Monastaryboice.

After that we went to Monasterboice, build before 521 AD. Some abbots and a parochial church have occupied the space but beyond that, little is known about the history of the place. A cemetery makes its home there and a round tower partially destroyed by fire looms high into the sky. The tour guide explained images engraved onto large Celtic crosses, which were taken from the Bible. Being a lover of cemetaries, I could have spent all day there. But we had to move on to get dinner back in Dublin.

Both Dr. Wilbers, myself, Torie, Carol, Emily, Laura and Lauren decided to get food at the reputed oldest pub in Dublin, The Brazen Head, established in 1198. The place had several very old rooms lined with books, signed money from all over the world and various original advertisements for Guinness decorating it. We sat in a side portion that was mostly open to the elements but had a cover they maneuvered over it when it started raining as it often does in Ireland. I ordered boiled cabbage and bacon with mashed potatoes. It doesn’t get more Irish than that.

Note about the weather- it rains. A lot. The weather is very strange here. One minute it’s cold, windy and misty and the next the sun is shining and it’s hot. You really have to dress in layers but then you spend a good deal of time taking off jackets, windbreakers and long-sleeved shirts, just to put them back on again later. Because of the flip-floppy nature of this country, a lot of us have come down with minor colds and had to take a side trip to the pharmacy for some cough syrup. I know that a few of my lovely readers here got worried over the sea sickness part but DON”T PANIC. Everyone is fine. We are just a tad sniffly. Dr. Wilber noted that happens every time he leads the trip because of the weather change and the way it keeps switching back and forth while you’re there. Once we acclimate, things will be grand.

…time to wrap this up. We are at a 24 hour McDonalds (Yes, they have them here, too) utilizing the free wi-fi. I had to stalk a guy from a  short distance for an outlet. As soon as he left I bolted to the table and claimed it for me, Carol and Torie.

The Brazen Head, reputed to be the oldest pub in Ireland.

Mass Comm bulls at the Brazen Head pub 🙂

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