CIE TOURS - July 12, 2018
July 12, 2018
By Caroline Bartholomew
Dia dhuit! Welcome to my first blog post as a Social Media Concierge for CIE Tours this summer. Dia dhuit, meaning ‘hello,’ is one of the Gaelic phrases we’ve learned so far on our Southern Gems tour. After spending two days in Dublin, we started familiarizing ourselves with the layout and landmarks of Dublin with the help of our very knowledgeable tour guide, Sean.
After meeting at the hotel, our 23-member group headed to the famous Trinity College for a student-guided tour around the campus and a visit to the Book of Kells. We learned about all kinds of traditions that still take place today even though the college was founded in 1592. Inside Trinity’s library, we saw the Book of Kells, which contains hand-written versions of the four Gospels and was made around the year 800 A.D.
The next morning, we drove out into the peaceful countryside to an area called Blessington. There, we took a private tour of Russborough House, a Palladian-style mansion built in the mid-1700s. Russborough House is not your typical old house, though. Its home to an extensive art collection and has been robbed four times since 1974. Some of the stolen paintings, however, were so valuable they could not be sold on the black market and were eventually returned to the property.
In the afternoon, we had free time to take advantage of the hop-on hop-off bus service, which allows visitors to see the entire city and get off at different landmarks around the city. The entire loop took around two hours and took us all the way from Dublin’s docklands out to Phoenix Park, a 1,752-acre park that contains trails, playing fields and the Irish president’s home.
I visited the EPIC: The Museum of Irish Emigration, located in the old customs house of Dublin. Today, the building has been modernized and includes the museum, as well as shops and restaurants. EPIC was one of my favorite experiences in Dublin. The museum was modern, interactive and extremely informative. Through the stories of several real immigrants, I learned people left for more reasons than just the Great Famine on 1845. I wanted to visit because of my Irish heritage, but even if you’re not Irish, it still gives important context to how present-day Ireland has been shaped.
We also had the opportunity to tour the Guinness Factory, another landmark of Dublin. Since 1759, Guinness has been known for its hearty taste and iconic foam on top. The museum is seven floors and includes a bar at the top where you can enjoy panoramic views of Dublin while enjoying a pint of Guinness (which is included with museum admission!). Each floor takes you through a different step of the process and at the end, you can earn a certification for correctly pouring Guinness.
Our second and last evening in Dublin included a trip to Taylors Three Rock Pub for a traditional Irish dance and music show. After eating a bowl of Irish stew, we settled in for some entertainment. Well-known songs like “Irish Rover” had the crowd clapping while “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears” and “Danny Boy” set a more serious but no less entertaining mood.
Spending time in Dublin was a wonderful way to begin our journey around Ireland’s coast. We got a glimpse into modern Ireland by walking through places like Grafton Street and seeing globally-recognized stores, but we also experienced the country’s rich history through visits to EPIC and Trinity College.