Well, that week certainly went by quickly. I can’t believe that this is my last evening in the fair city of Dublin, Ireland. And it still didn’t rain onsce. I have a brand new raincoat I purchased just for this trip and it’s been collecting dust because the weather here has been beautiful. I am not going to complain, though, because I’ve absolutely loved it.
Today was my museum day. I had a second day of the hop-on hop-off bus tour, but my first stop was within walking distance. However, it didn’t open until 10 a.m., so I took breakfast in my usual spot at Saint Stephens Green. However, after consuming breakfast and enjoying my last cup of coffee from my trip resident coffee shop, the Bald Barista, I noticed that the swans were sunning themselves on the far side of the pond.
So I set out to see them up close. There, I met a gentleman who knew a great deal about the swans and their family (it’s a mom and a dad and their babies). He’d made a documentary about the swans in Saint Stephens Green, so he filled me in on them. The mom and dad are Maggie and Charlie, but the babies aren’t named yet. This is Maggie and Charlie’s second set of children and they’re about at the stage where they get kicked out of the family home. The first group ended up on the River Liffey (I saw them yesterday), so they probably won’t go too far. This gentleman was very kind and we spoke for quite some time. The Irish are so very nice and love to chat, so if you say hello, prepare for conversation! Personally, I loved it. It almost felt like home where everyone knows everyone else.
After meeting Maggie and Charlie, I finally trekked over to the National Museum of Ireland Archaeology. This was probably my favorite site in the city. I saw so many wonderful artifacts from Ireland, including things I’d only read about like torcs with animal heads, brooches and wonderful items with that beautiful Celtic art from a very long time ago. Of course, the real draw here are the bog men.
Okay, going into see the first bog man, I assumed he’d be intact. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that these men were probably being punished for crimes, so the first one was not only beheaded, but also apparently cut in half. I’m not posting a photo here because it’s actually much more gruesome than I expected. I did take a photo and if you have a strong stomach, you can view it here. It was seriously disturbing.
However, it was also cool, so I, obviously, saw the other two bog men, who weren’t quite in such a disheveled state.
See? That’s not so bad. Trust me, the other one is. I also didn’t take a photo of the one that still had hair, because, again, it was a little too weird for me. Now, I like weird, and I usually revel in it, so for something to leave me so disturbed, you know it’s bad!
I spent quite a bit of time at the Archaeology Museum, fascinated with the collections, which ranged from ancient Ireland to ancient Egypt. It was utterly wonderful.
I wish I could say that about the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Okay, to preface this, I’ve been to Centre Pompidou in Paris. So I suppose that’s why this might have been a bit of a letdown. And I don’t appreciate ALL modern art, because honestly, some of it completely goes over my head. I’ll never understand something that’s just a canvas painted white with a name, but some people do enjoy that, so I won’t judge.
Anyway, the Irish Museum of Modern Art is housed in a pretty cool building, the Royal Hospital Kilmainhaim. But the art collection itself is mostly VERY modern, and was the sort of thing I just couldn’t get into. After grabbing lunch (soup and brown bread) in the cafe, I didn’t stay there long.
My third stop was at the Hugh Lane Gallery, which was also small, but also very much within my tastes. Unfortunately, a whole part of the permanent collection was unavailable, so I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to see. However, I discovered the work of Jack Butler Yeats. If that name sounds familiar, he’s William Butler Yeats’ brother. And he was a very talented artist. My favorite piece was “There is No Night,” which you can get a peek at here. I really wanted a print of it, but none were available in the gift shop. Boo.
That was everything on my list for the day, and I ended up finishing early because I didn’t stay at the Modern Art Museum very long and the Hugh Lane had some of its halls closed. So I decided to just walk around and did my last bit of shopping. I didn’t buy much, although I found a lovely sketch of Christchurch Cathedral to go with my sketches of famous churches at home. So far, I have Notre Dame, St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey and now Christchurch. It’s sort of a thing of mine.
Unfortunately, the rest of my shopping didn’t go so well. I bought nothing else, although I looked for both shoes and a handbag. I DID find a handbag I liked, but at 600 Euros, it was a bit out of my price range. Oh, well…
By then, I was tired, so I went to the hotel and rested up before dinner. I ended up my Irish experience at O’Neill’s pub. I had a traditional Irish meal of Guinness beef stew and a Bulmers cider. The stew wasn’t quite as good as the first bowl I had earlier in the week, but it satiated me. I ended my meal by walking to Butler’s chocolates and picking up a small box of six assorted chocolates, which I called dessert.
I’ve enjoyed Ireland immensely, and its people and its scenery have won over my heart. I hope to return someday, but next year, my big trip will probably be a combination of Germany and Austria. I guess I better start working on my German.