A full Irish breakfast at the Hilton found me ready to tackle the Irish public transportation system and navigate my way to the next hotel.
The Conrad Hilton is located just across from The National Concert Hall and just down the road from St Stephens Green. Turns out Bus 15 is a straight shot, literally door to door!
My room wasn’t ready, so I dropped off my bags and picked up a map and set out to explore the city. I walked through St Stephens Green on may way. Beautiful gardens, fabulous fountains, and lots of locals out for a stroll.
I had planned to see Dublin Castle. Sadly, they recently assumed a leadership role in the EU and are closed through July.
I headed up the street to Christ Church. I’m gonna blame the marathon travel day, obvious jet lag and ever worsening cold for the fact that I had no idea it was noon on Sunday. You know what they do on Sunday in Ireland? Church! So my rotten timing, which had me arriving just as mass began prevented me from seeing the interior, but I did get to hear some amazing bells!
Not being a church goer, I headed up the road to Temple Bar instead.
At first I admired all of the colorful rainbow flags all over the city, thinking wow, they really like to play up that leprechaun thing. As I walked through Temple Bar I realized yesterday was Dublin Pride, which makes much more sense when you think about it! I guess most people were still recovering, because there weren’t many people wandering around at all.
The next stop was Trinity College. I walked along the River Liffey and then down along Dame Street.
At Trinity College I bought a ticket for the guided tour and a glimpse of the Book of Kells. The tour was fantastic. Marc, our tour guide, was a fourth year student at Trinity and is finishing up before he heads to Columbia in the fall. He was even patient with the obnoxious American tourists who couldn’t wait to tell him how much he would love the states. (He lives at Trinity College! Come on!)
When the tour finished I queued up to see the Book of Kells. Sure, it’s a treasure and all, but if any of you remember my post from viewing the Declaration of Independence, you’ll understand my reaction. Dimly lit, surrounded by glass, mot much to see really. If you ask me, the Long Room was a far greater treasure.
The Long Room simply screams Hogwarts. It’s 65 meters long and has over 200,000 books. The most interesting thing about the Long Room is that books sorted by dimension and color. While that makes it significantly harder to find a particular book, it looks fantastic! Dewey ruined the aesthetics of libraries, in my opinion!
The sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes were making it harder and harder for me to stand in a crowd, so I decided to try to find a pharmacy and head back to the Conrad.
Since my room wasn’t quite ready (totally my fault for being so early!) they sat me in the bar and insisted on providing me with tea. I really, really, really love tea.
When my room was ready, I headed up to collapse. It was easier when the staff brought me a small tray of gourmet chocolates.
Tomorrow I pick up my rental car and head out to explore the countryside. I’m much more nervous, having ridden on the city buses, but hopeful that the countryside has far fewer crazy drivers. Wish you were here!