Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Walk Dublin

St. Michan's Church

My wife and I spent May 16-23 walking the streets of Dublin, Ireland. We rode an AirLink bus from the airport to our hotel and never used another form of transport except our feet until our visit was over.

Dublin’s ancient buildings are amazing!  While the oldest existing structure in Portsmouth, the Richard Jackson House, was built in 1664, Dublin boasts churches constructed almost 500 years earlier.
St. Audeon's Chruch

St. Audeon’s Church dates from 1190. St. Michan’s Church began as a Viking chapel in 1095 and was reconstructed in 1686. Building after building dates from the 19th Century or earlier. Some of Dublin’s highlights include:

Brazen Head Pub

Aras an Uachtarain – the Irish President’s house was built in 1751

Ashtown Castle – a medieval tower house constructed during the 1600s

Brazen Head – the oldest pub in Ireland first opened in 1198

Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral – founded around 1028, the cathedral was extensively renovated between 1871-1878

Dublin Castle – the oldest parts were constructed during the 1200s

Kilmainham Gaol – built in 1796

St. Patrick’s Cathedral – construction of the largest church in Ireland began during the 1200s

Trinity College – founded in 1592, the oldest buildings date from 1712


Guinness Plant

I enjoyed Dublin, but the city is a closed and walled community. Almost every park, public building, and private home is walled or fenced off and locked when not in use. No matter where you walk in the city, there is almost inevitably an eight-foot or higher wall on at least one side of you, high wrought-iron fences, and locked gates.

Croppies' Acre Park

Although sunset was not until 9 o’clock at night, most city parks were closed and locked tight by 4 o’clock. No entry is allowed until 9-10 o’clock the next morning.

St. Paul's Church
Even churches are fenced and gated. This is probably because “tagging” is epidemic, and there is graffiti on most buildings. Also, watch where you walk: people rarely clean up after their dogs, and the sidewalks are littered with canine feces. Dropped trash gathers in every corner.

Custom House Door

One of Dublin's favorite pub ditties is a sentimental song called “Dirty Old Town”. It was written for an English community, Salford, but has become Dublin’s anthem. The title is an appropriate description of the city. Let’s hope Portsmouth is never described in those terms!

I left my calling card on the wall of the Brazen Head. I shall return!

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