For our last day in Dublin we took it easy but we still got to take in a few wonderful sites. Our first stop was the Trinity College Old Library, the home of the Book of Kells, which is over 1000 years old (older than most of our countries as tour guide reminded us). It contains four books from the New Testament created by monks and is lavishly decorated with tons of beautiful colors including tons of bright gold. We were able to see two original pages (they flip the page once a day) and lots of reprints – it was pretty amazing to imagine the patience it must have taken to create the intricate designs by hand. The second floor of the library houses thousands of books over hundreds of years – it literally looks like the library out of Harry Potter (because Harry Potter was filmed at Oxford which has an almost identical library). It also houses Ireland’s oldest harp – which is what the Guinness logo was modeled after and Ireland’s national instrument.
Our second stop was the Chester Beatty Library which we were happy to hear was free but we were also amazed by the collection. Alfred Chester Beatty was born in the U.S. but he fell in love with Ireland and left his entire collection to the people of Ireland. He was very interested in other countries and especially religion. The collection consists of paintings, statues, silk artwork, and books from various religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. It was incredibly interesting and informative.
Of course we had to make a stop by Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and since a little bit of sun was shining through the clouds there were tons of people out enjoying it in St. Patrick’s park. Our last stop in Dublin was by the Molly Malone statue which was created in memory of the song – you’ve heard it:
- ‘In Dublin’s fair city,
- Where the girls are so pretty,
- I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
- As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
- Through streets broad and narrow,
- Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”
- “Alive, alive, oh,
- Alive, alive, oh,”‘
The next day we picked up our rental car (Drew got a Ford Focus, not a Mercedes, ha!) and headed out of Dublin to Limerick. On our trip over we stopped at Birr Castle. Unfortunately we were not able to visit inside the castle itself because it is a private residence but we were able to walk all around the gardens which were absolutely amazing. The tenants of Birr Castle were engineers and extremely interested in the sciences and Birr Castle was the location of the largest telescope for over 70 years when it was constructed in 1840 and it is still on the grounds.
When we arrived in Limerick we took a short walk down to the river where we had a great view of King John’s Castle and had a fantastic dinner – Drew finally had some oysters. At dinner we also made a very important decision – if we ever buy a castle it will have to have a moat! To the right is the only castle Drew said he’d buy me.