Today was probably one of the best days of the tour so far! We got to sleep in a little bit and then hopped in the bus to head to a quick tour of Dublin. We stopped at Trinity College and got out for a guided tour of some of the campus with a Trinity professor. We got to go in and look at the Book of Kells (an old, ornate copy of the Gospels). We also got to view the beautiful library that is full of ancient books. I took lots of pictures in there and would’ve spent much more time had we not had a full schedule.
Next, we took a short bus ride over to the Guinness factory where they brew Guinness beer. We got an informative tour as to the process that it takes to brew the beer as well as the history of the company. Arthur Guinness signed a lease on the space for the Guiness factory for 9,000 years. The Guinness family was also responsible for leading the restoration of a cathedral in the area years ago as well. We received some recipes on how to cook with Guinness beer that looked very yummy! At the end of the tour, everyone received a free pint of Guinness. Mom and I got sodas instead but it was fascinating watching how the bartenders pour 3/4 of the beer and let it set so that the nitrogen rises and makes the foamy head on the beer. Then they top it off and make a pattern on top of the head in the shape of a shamrock or a cross. It was cool to watch. The area where they serve the beer is on the 7th floor in a circular glass room overlooking all of Dublin.
We were given a choice to spend some free time in Dublin or head back to the hotel for a while. Mom and I decided we would stay in the city and go see St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We walked through the shopping district on our way and I found some amazing ice cream! They had all kinds of flavors. I got a big cone with 3 scoops. Along the walk we saw a few neat things: The Gotham Cafe, a pub called Captain America’s Dublin, St. Andrew’s Street, and a Disney store as well. Some break dancing street performers did a show that was pretty neat so we stood there and watched for a that before continuing on to the cathedral.
As we walked onto the grounds of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, it was a beautiful park with flowers, benches, and lots of grass. We took some pictures outside and sat on a bench for a few minutes before heading inside. Inside was beautiful stone and stained glass. It was a little strange because most of the plaques, statues, and things we saw around the chapel turned out to be fairly modern in recognition of people who contributed money to maintaining the cathedral. We walked around and looked at the different rooms and the stained glass in the cathedral and took some pictures. We left early to make sure we got back in plenty of time and ended up getting back 20 minutes before the bus so we walked through a few shops while waiting.
The bus picked us up at 5:45 pm and we headed to a canal dinner cruise. The canal is pretty small so I was wondering what the cruise would be like. It turned out to be a highlight of the trip. The boat was very nice and fit everyone quite well. The food was fantastic. Mom and I both had vegetable soup as an appetizer, Guinness beef stew for our main course, and then for dessert I had warm apple pie with ice cream and Mom had a Bailey’s cheesecake. Throughout dinner we were able to wander up to the deck and watch as the captain manually opened and closed the locks to allow us to move up the canal. We probably only went about a mile or two in a little over an hour. The canal is about 100 miles long. It was really neat watching how the locks worked. There was also an older Irish guy on the boat with a guitar who sang traditional Irish songs over dinner and then performed some songs that we all knew so we could join in. Everyone on the trip talked favorably about this cruise and I’d highly recommend www.canalboatrestaurant.ie if you’re ever in Dublin, Ireland.
After dinner we went back to the hotel to get ready for bed. Breakfast at 7 am tomorrow and then off to Blarney Castle and Killarney.
Pictures from today can be viewed at