The Various Facets of Dublin
Updated: Jun 11, 2022
One of the best ways to get over jet lag is to walk, walk, walk. I was happy to see that Aurora Expeditions, the outfit running my Circumnavigation of Ireland trip, arranged to have our group walk around Dublin prior to starting the ship part of the trip. Our first stop was Merrion Square Park, perhaps most famous for its statue of Oscar Wilde. The statue is carved from stones sourced from all over Ireland. While that is noteworthy, I was much more impressed by the fabulous pose of Mr. Wilde. It seems to suit him.
Our walk took us past brick buildings with colorful Georgian doors and various important buildings, including the National Museum of Natural History, Department of the Taoiseach (Irish prime minister), the Lord Mayor’s house, and on to Trinity College. We had time only to skirt the grounds before hopping on a bus to travel to the EPIC Museum on Dublin’s docklands. (Image: A Huguenot cemetery tucked in between buildings near St. Stephen's Green. 1693)
EPIC Museum is fabulous and thorough in telling the story of Irish emigration. As they say, Ireland’s most famous export is people. Indeed, my grandparents on my Father’s side emigrated to the US during the mid to late 1800’s. I suspect it was due to the potato famine. Outside EPIC Museum is a set of statues portraying famine-stricken people. The faces are haunting.
Glasnevin Cemetery is a short drive from the center of Dublin. Its residents number more than 1.6 million. While not as beautiful as Ricoleta in Buenos Aires, Glasnevin is home to notable Irish revolutionaries. I was moved by Patrick Pearse’s graveside speech, which an actor recreated as we stood at the graveside of the Irish Fenian leader, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa. I was ready to fight for the Irish Republican Brotherhood. The cemetery visit gave me a greater understanding of the various uprising and troubles of the Irish people during the ages.
The Botanic Gardens is a short walk from the cemetery, so I opted to see them. Ironically, of the many glass houses we could have chose, we ended up in one that featured Australian plants. Aurora Expeditions is an Australian company, so the majority of passengers were from Australia. Coincidentally, I had recently visited the University of California at Santa Cruz gardens, which features an Australian section.
While some people might think that Dublin is a Guiness and whiskey town, I appreciated seeing all the other facets of this wonderful, relatively small city. (Image: The Samuel Becket Bridge is fashioned after the Irish harp, which is the official symbol of Ireland. In the background is the "tipped" glass building, aka Convention Centre Dublin)