Our European journey starts in Dublin for no grand reason. While searching for flights to Amsterdam, we noticed that most seemed to stopover in Ireland’s capital. So we added it to our itinerary. We’ll take a quick peek on our first day, and then we’ll visit again before we fly home. My great-grandfather came from Donegal, a five hour train ride from here, but we hope to get a little idea of the land he came from.
Our plane landed at just after 7am. We had to get back to the airport by 6pm to catch our KLM City Hopper to the Netherlands. We put our walking shoes on and hoisted up our backpacks. What could we see in 11 hours?
Our first stop was the Old Library at Trinity College. The library was started in 1592 and houses many rare, ancient texts. Probably one of the most famous is the Book of Kells. Created around 800 AD this is a beautifully illustrated and written volume of the four Gospels of the New Testament.
My favorite room in the library was The Long Room. I would love to have 2,000 books at my fingertips. The musty smell of old books was tantalizing. I could have spent a lifetime there, if it wasn’t for all the tourists.
Honestly, we were tired from the flight. After stopping for a buritto; Mexican food seems to be almost as popular as pizza around the world, we headed to St. Stephen’s Green.
We spotted other travelers sitting on benches, suitcases in hand, watching seagulls, ducks and swans in this 22 acre park in the middle of Dublin.
It was very peaceful here. We found a spot of grass to lay down on and managed to doze off for a bit. Very different to it’s tumultuous past. During the Easter Uprising of 1916 the Irish Citizen Army blocked off the surrounding streets and dug defensive positions in the park in their failed attempt to overthrow the British. Fighting would stop periodically to allow the park groundsmen to feed the ducks.
We didn’t see any freedom fighters today, but we did see a few children feeding the birds and we asked a groundsman directions to the closest bathroom. He pointed us to the local shopping mall. It was very nice.
We took a stroll around before continuing on with our sightseeing at the National History Museum and the National Gallery of Ireland.
We still had a couple of hours to fill. Not knowing quite what to do with ourselves we decided to see where our train passes would take us. We hopped on the next available train. It took us through the outskirts of town and wound along the Irish Sea to the village of Greystone.
We wished we had more time to hike the trails along it’s shores, but we could only walk down to the water and back, grab ice cream cones; honey comb and Kinder chocolate, and then rush for the train back to the airport.
Our ride to Amsterdam was only an hour, but we both managed to fall asleep for some reason.