Summer 2017 saw us back in UK – with mini-trips to Devon in the south, to Dublin in Ireland, and to Cyprus – my ‘homeland’. We also found ourselves re-painting and doing some mini repairs to an apartment we had bought to let out, and also packing away things in our own home, after deciding to try and rent that too. So – it turned out to be pretty busy – perhaps even a little too busy at times – but still, a lot of fun was had. This report will focus on our short break to Dublin – Shanhong’s first visit to Ireland.
Ireland is famous for a number of things – the Irish music and dancing – the leprechauns and four leaf clovers – but perhaps also for their alcohol. Dublin has long been the home of Guinness, and so, like thousands of tourists before us, our first stop was the Guinness Storehouse for a tour and tasting!
I have to say, I am not a fan of Guinness – but as I don’t like any beer, I guess I’m not the best judge! After our tour, we went to see a musical! ‘Wonderland’ was an updated take on the Alice in Wonderland story and I enjoyed it – a fun show – and then home to our castle for the night!
The following morning we were up early for a full day tour, driving first to Cashel. According to local mythology, the Rock of Cashel originated when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave, resulting in the rock landing in Cashel. It was the seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years, and now is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found in Europe.
From the Rock of Cashel we drove on to Cork, a university city in the south-west of Ireland. Founded by Viking invaders around 915, the city was once fully walled, and remnants of the old medieval town can still be seen.
After Cork, we were back on the bus to Blarney Castle, the main reason for taking this tour. The castle originally dates from before 1200 but was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt in the 1400s and restored in 1646. The castle is now a partial ruin – but, at the top of the castle lies the famous Blarney Stone. Many stories surround the stone. Some say it was Jacob’s Pillow, brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah. Some say it was the deathbed pillow of St Columba from the island of Iona. Some, the ‘Stone of Ezel’ behind which David hid when he fled from Saul. And some, that it was the stone that gushed water when struck by Moses!
Whatever the origin – modern mythology claims that anyone kissing the stone will be given the gift of eloquence and public speaking for a year, and for over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants and legends of the silver screen have joined millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the stone. Not an easy feat, as the only way to do it, is to lie down and lean over backwards!
We ended our trip to Dublin, as we began, with alcohol – a quick visit to an Irish Whiskey distillery!
So, there you have it – our 3 days in Dublin.
Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xx