May 15: Dublin

May 15

Dublin and County Meath

We started the morning meeting up with a small group of people. We had booked a private tour that would take us to the Boyne Valley outside of Dublin. The first part of our tour was around Dublin and to the see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. Traffic, however, was not with us! Both our driver, Tony, and our guide, Colum, agreed that this was the worst they had seen in a while. On the way, we drove past a famine ship and a group of statues that commemorate the famine refugees.

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The line at Trinity was long and what we really wanted to do was head to the Boyne Valley. So, we meandered our way through the streets, pass the Irish Parliament where we saw Gerry Adams being interviewed, through the Georgian section and several squares and parks and, of course, the Guinness Factory before finally making our way to the Hill of Tara (and I saw the infamous “Viking Tour”).

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Before embarking on our tour, we had some lunch at the little restaurant that is next to the site. The home-made brown bread was delicious! It was actually warm enough for us to have our lunch outside, where we were serenaded by a murder of crows “getting busy” in the trees around us.

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After lunch, it was time to see the Hill of Tara site. Our guide was very knowledgeable and also directed us to feel the energy of the place to get a sense of what it was really “like.” It was really nice to have someone understand that there can be an energy to a site like Tara. There was even a tree that had many ribbons tied to the branches – magical offerings! I loved the site and the time we took to see the different areas such as the Hill of the Hostages and, of course, the Lia Fail.

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Because it took so long to get out of Dublin, our driver gave us some bad news – we would not be able to get into Newgrange. But he and Colum had a few other places lined up for us. These included an Abbey, Trim Castle and the village of Kells to see some Celtic Crosses.  While on the surface, this does not seem to make up for missing a trip to Newgrange, these sites were really nice – again being able to sense the energy and even look for a ghost or two at Trim Castle. At Trim Castle, we had another guide that took us through the castle. He has spent some time in Toronto, so we had lots to share while walking up the narrow, circular staircases.

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The village of Kells has another monastery and graveyard, which is where there is a collection of Celtic crosses. There were some interesting buildings as well, including a separate spire and a tower. While we were there, a man was out walking his dog through the graveyard. When I first saw the dog, I thought he was a typical black lab – then he stood up. He legs were only about 3 inches long, yet his body was the size of an overweight lab! He was very friendly and didn’t mind me laughing at him, as long as I also starched his ears!

We then headed back to the ship, getting back with thirty minutes to spare. After a quick stop at our room, where I discovered that my room key was de-magnetized again, we went to dinner. We sat at a table with three women from Florida. Dinner included shrimp cocktail, roasted garlic soup, braised short ribs, a frozen chocolate praline torte and an Irish coffee.

This marks the end of a long day with lots of walking!

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