Guiness Factory and Dublin Highlights

Guiness Factory and Dublin Highlights

After the parade, we walked down along the river to our next destination – The Guinness Brewery, where a new Guiness World Record was being set, to make the 17th March the World’s friendliest day!

Now I’m not a massive Guinness fan, so the complimentary pints and tasters that we got throughout our tour, became more of a sort of Fear Factor Challenge as opposed to a culinary degustation. However, the place was really interactive.The Storehouse is housed in a fermentation plant from 1904 and has 7 floors with exhibitions about the history of Guinness and how the “black stuff’ is made. You’ll learn about the ingredients (water, barley, hops and yeast), the process, the time, the craft and much more. We enjoyed live music, Irish line dancing, huge screens showing the rugby. My friend fell asleep on one of the sofas (random I know!) whilst we went to the top and got some great views over the city. Don’t miss the photo opp. with the massive Guinness slogan.

Now, of course Dublin doesn’t have just drink and merriment for its visitors. We set out to explore all of the cities other great monuments and buildings. On O’Connell street there stands the Spire of Dublin and the Post Office, one of Ireland’s most famous building. Being proudly British, these memorials are a sad reminder of the oppression and suffering that was inflected upon the Irish people by the English. These are important and bear witness to the struggle of the brave people who opposed this treatment and are a positive reminder of their success.

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During the Easter Rising of 1916, the GPO served as the headquarters of the uprising’s leaders. An original copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic is on display in the An Post museum at the GPO, where an exhibition, Letters, Lives & Liberty, highlights the history of the Post Office and the GPO. The building has remained a symbol of Irish nationalism. In commemoration of the Rising, a statue depicting the death of the mythical hero Cúchulainn sculpted by Oliver Sheppard in 1911 is housed in the front of the building.

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Further up past the Post Office, stands a beautiful garden of remembrance. The Gallic shields and swords glistening in the fountain, an offering to those who gave their lives to the cause of Irish freedom.

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Close to the Garden of Remembrance, the Hugh Lane gallery, with the studio of Francis Bacon, now formally known as the hoarder and his artworks.

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Down towards the river, we went to the memorial of Great Irish Famine. During the famine approximately 1 million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland,causing the island’s population to fall by between 20% and 25%.IMG_4794

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Although the potato crop failed, the country was still producing and exporting more than enough grain crops to feed the population. Records show during the period Ireland was exporting approximately thirty to fifty shiploads per day of food produce. As a consequence of these exports and a number of other factors such as land acquisition, absentee landlords and the effect of the 1690 penal laws, the Great Famine today is viewed by a number of historical academics as a form of either direct or indirect genocide and was a great a rallying point for various Home rule and United Ireland movements, as the whole island was then part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Then to Trinity College. We persuaded Vicki not to break in and ask to see her father’s old dorm. Pretty sure the current occupier wouldn’t have been too thrilled to show a complete stranger their room. The buildings and library were beautiful, but what I really noticed was the grass. It was perfect, so lush and green. Just like a Persian carpet. The urge griped me and wouldn’t let go. I started to rub my coat. I wanted to so badly…to jump the barrier and roll on it. I mean don’t you just love to do that? Roll on a nice piece of untouched grass or step in fresh snow? With great restraint on my part though, I didn’t ruin the grass, and instead went round the library (I know, so not as fun) and saw the famous book of Kells.

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trinity college old library

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Now its time to say goodbye to poor old Molly Malone and Dublin’s fair city where the girls are so pretty. Next stop Las Fallas Valencia!

St Patrick’s Day in Dublin

St Patrick’s Day in Dublin

Hey everyone! So My Girls on Tour decided to venture over to Ireland to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. The Irish are renowned for their hard partying and amazing spirit – so the perfect place really to celebrate a festival which has come to be associated with crazy fancy dress costumes and Guinness Drinking.

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At Carolls buying some memorabilia for the big day!

Woohoo! Dublin, my first time to Ireland! So pumped Yay Yay YAY! Announcement* – Ryanair flight to delayed :/ Fail, EPIC FAIL! Deep breath, I won’t let Ryanair ruin my Irish experience. I changed my I-phone track to the Cranberries (Zombie of course!) and strode over resolutely to the free Whiskey sample stand. St Patrick’s day, WOOHOO! OK, so now that I actually find myself in front of the stand, the proper real festive, celebratory thing to do would be to shot some down. Really though, it is 10 am? One shot, just for the sake of doing it? So yes, another fail. I took a sneaky pic, gazed gleefully at the green, orange and white balloons and then snuck off to Costa Coffee. I felt like the Grinch of Paddy’s.

Arriving at the city center, the Grinch’s heart started to melt. Groups of festive tourists in large green hats, shops with fun costumes, beads, wands, glasses, face paints. Temple bar was full with revelers. Although very kitsch, large murals of leprechauns and even a leprechaun museum. All the buildings were lit up in Green.We walked around and saw some real old pubs and the fun went on long into the night. As Sir Toby Belch says in Twelfth Night, ‘not to be a-bed after midnight is to be up betimes’.

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Today is the day, the parade. We lined up all dressed up. A sea of green. The sky was grey, ominous, the flashes of colors, children’s balloons, a stark contrast. It was the music that we heard first, light and airy, almost celestial. The rain had started a few minutes earlier. When the sound reached our ears, a cheer rippled through the crowd. A huge roar and a first pump came from the young guy next to me who had been standing in just a t-shirt. Then came the procession, rolling slowly towards us. Dancers, clowns, traditional costumes, huge sculptures, acrobats and carousels, all performing and entertaining.  The revelry made the Gods smile and the sky got lighter and the sun came out.

The theme of the parade was Science. Dinosaurs in wheel chairs, eyes and plants. A festival of science and religion.

Indeed St Patrick’s day is a cultural and religious holiday celebrating the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and the most commonly-recognized patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. On this day, the day of  St Patrick’s death, it is customary to wear shamrocks and green clothing or accessories.St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.

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