11 June 2012, Gail’s trip log

Woke up at 700 after a good night’s sleep and opened the drapes and there was Dublin, where my grandfather was born. It was beautiful and sunny and we could see St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the distance. It was a beautiful sight to see the city spread out in front of us. In the near foreground was what we assumed was a soccer stadium (verified by our guide later). We had booked an afternoon city tour, so it was nice to just relax this morning and not have to rush. We slept in, then went down mid morning to have a decent sized brunch. We were off on our tour at 1130. A lot of history and our guide was very good at pointing out and explaining historic sites and buildings. After about a half hour driving around our first stop was the Cathedral – St. Patrick’s. There were lots of buses around but once we got inside we had about 45 minutes to wander around. It didn’t really seem all that crowded. Beautifully restored stained glass windows and lots of plaques and statues in honor of various people. Jonathan Swift was Dean of the Cathedral at one time and is buried there. Every cathedral we have seen has been interesting and beautiful, and yet different. We are enjoying them all. We then passed the huge Guiness plant (60 acres) and learned how influential the company has been in the history of Dublin, and particularly in benefits and rights offered to workers. Continuing through downtown we saw many sites and statues that were reminders of the potato famine and heard about the millions who died and millions more who fled to the United States, Canada, Australia, and other places. We saw the bronze statue of Molly Malone and one of Wellington as well. Then we stopped at Trinity College and got off the bus and walked around the grounds a bit. We had an opportunity to go in to see the Book of Kells – we were late in the day and there was no long line – but decided not to for a fee of 18 pounds. We have seen excellent reproductions online and in print and it wasn’t like we were going to see more than a couple of pages of the actual book anyway. So we spent our time in the bookstore and Dan got a book and some postcards. Then we went across the main street where we looked in some shops and had coffee and shortbread. Everyone was amazingly back on the bus on time and we were one of six buses that got back to the ship at the last minute. Once everyone got back on board we were underway quickly. We ate an early dinner in the buffet and came back to the cabin. Belfast tomorrow.

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