Over the next few weeks, I got to know Dublin a little better, and discovered I actually quite enjoy walking tours! It’s a great way to see the sites and orient yourself (especially helpful if you’re planning on being in any one place for an extended amount of time).
I went on a 2 hour walking tour that first week, thoughtfully arranged by UCD. Here’s a bit of what I saw.
St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green park is located in the centre of Dublin, and very close to the bus stop back to campus. It was in this neighbourhood that I spent most of my time in Dublin.
Wolfe Tone, Irish Revolutionary
The Irish quite like their statues. This one is from Germany, for the help given to German children by the Irish after WWII.
Of course, my favourite thing about St. Stephen’s Green has to be the mall. I spend many a hours perusing new things in this lovely mall.
Walking in Dublin
On our way to Trinity College we walked by Hughenot Cemetery (apparently one of the most poetic places in London), Parliament, and Merrion Square Park which houses a lovely statue of the one and only Oscar Wilde.
Hughenot Cemetery 1693
Merrion Square Park
This is my tour guide Betty, talking to us about Michael Collins. He was very involved with becoming independent from Britain and actually signed the document that separated the Republic of Ireland from the United Kingdom. Once signed, he said “I’ve signed my death sentence”. He was murdered shortly after he returned to Ireland.
Oscar Wilde. His statue actually looks at the home he used to live in, across from the park.
Trinity College was next, and oh was it lovely! Trinity College is Ireland’s Oxford and the oldest university in Ireland. It’s right in the middle of Dublin and is a gorgeous mix of old and new. One of my flatmates went to Trinity for a year, but because the campus is in the middle of the city, there is no room for any residences. As a result, the residences are over an hour away! She decided to transferred to UCD, where we live within a 5 minute walk of all buildings. But if Trinity had residences on campus, that’s the school I’d want to be at.
I think this was under construction for the entirety of my time in Ireland
This is the multi-faith centre. We didn’t go inside, but it’s supposed to be very beautiful. Many graduates of Trinity get married here.
This is one of the presidents of the university. He was strongly against having women study at Trinity, and always used to say “over my dead body”. He died in 1903. In 1904, the first group of female students were welcomed to the university.
There’s something symbolic about having a sphere within a sphere, but I have no memory of what it may mean. What I do remember is that if you push it, it will turn! It may sound juvenile, but it’s quite a bit of fun.
Our tour ended at Dublin Castle. For the history buffs out there, Dublin Castle was first founded as a major defensive work on the orders of King John of England in 1204, shortly after the Norman Invasion of Ireland in 1169. It was commanded that a castle be built with strong walls and good ditches for the defense of the city, the administration of justice, and the protection of the King’s treasure.
Through the Middle Ages the wooden buildings within the castle square evolved and changed, the most significant addition being the Great Hall built of stone and timber, variously used as Parliament house, court of law and banqueting hall. The building survived until 1673, when it was damaged by fire and demolished shortly afterwards.
The Castle served as the seat of English, then later British government of Ireland under the Lordship of Ireland (1171–1541), the Kingdom of Ireland (1541–1800), and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1800–1922).
It was great, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think I ever ended up going back there. It was a bit out of the way, compared to all the other things to do in the city, and I think I just forgot about it.
This is the angel of justice (she holds a sword in one hand and a scale in the other. The stature was often a subject of controversy while the British were in control because her back is turned to the city.
Dublin Castle Chapel
Dublin Castle Chapel
Dublin Castle Chapel
Notice the heads beside the door? There are over 100 heads throughout Dublin Castle
And of course no tour is complete in Dublin without ending with a pint of Guinness!