Travel Column: Dublin
When I landed in Dublin, it was a sunny and pleasant day. I explored the city, found museums and statues. The following day, it poured, and I found the best tart shop ever. And on the last day, it managed not to rain.
Dublin is an interesting city to say the least. Statues to famous writers and politicians are all over the place. Or on O’Connell Street, there is a giant silver needle in the middle of it. The Spire of Dublin, as it’s called, is nearly 400 feet tall, and is not a memorial, nor is it dedicated to anything. It was built after the street was destroyed in a battle, and they thought it would make the street look prettier.
Not that the street is lacking in decoration. There are statues up and down it, and the street leads to a theater on one end of it, in addition to a river on the other end.
There’s a large collection of books to see in the city, the most famous being “The Book of Kells,” a beautiful, old, illustrated collection of the four gospels. It’s in the library of Trinity College, which the old part is impressive in itself: two stories high with every available wall space covered by bookshelves, except the windows, which were too old to let much light in. It felt like it belonged in Hogwarts, opposed to a place in real life.
Another book nerd haven is The Dublin Writer’s Museum. While it’s mainly dedicated to Irish writers, there are several artifacts from other nationalities. There is a first edition “Gulliver’s Travels” in the same room as a first edition “Dracula.” And on the walls, there are interesting factual tidbits written along with much more unabridged biographies and histories.
There was an amazing tart shop in the city called The Queen of Tarts. The name was intriguing enough to warrant checking it out, that and the rain was coming down in buckets that day. They had chocolate pear and almond tart that was served warm and was delicious. And the shop itself was a welcome reprieve.
Also during this year, if you’re in Dublin, it’s impossible to miss the banners all over the city just stating “Dublin Remembers 1916-2016.” These are in reference to the Easter Rising Rebellion of 1916, a rebellion planned by Irish Republicans during the week of Easter 1916 against British rule. And while years later this helped Ireland gain independence, nearly 500 people died, and over half of them were civilians. Plus, it left the inner city in ruins. There are tour buses, museum exhibits and memorials everywhere.
Even the national library has exhibits all over the interior. But the most impressive one was the main exhibit dedicated to W.B. Yeats. More first editions of works and a circular area where there was a loop of several of his poems being read were there, in addition to pictures, videos and occasionally light background music.
With history, literature and good food, Dublin was a fantastic trip.