Today was a day where we were ‘at leisure’ in and around Dublin, effectively able to explore (or not), to go out (or not), to do whatever (or not).
So after a leisurely breakfast, Mum and I decided to head into the city centre of Dublin to visit Dublin Castle, the historic centre of administration both of Dublin and Ireland. The chance to join a guided tour – expertly given by Claire – brought to life the history of the site on which the Castle sits, from the original Viking settlement until the present day. The complex is still a working government building, but the historical setting is profound and poignant.
Standing at the heart of the original city of Dublin – at least metaphorically – the Castle is a place where the English occupation of Ireland was centred upon the Viceroy and the Viceregal Court. The grandeur of the current Castle, modelled on the Georgian palace as opposed to the original castle built during the Anglo-Norman settlement (the late 1100s) made it clear to anyone who entered that place where the true power on the island of Ireland lay.
And so the handing over of the Castle upon Irish independence was a significant event, notwithstanding the probably mythical account of what Michael Collins said to the last Viceroy of Ireland at the time.
The visit to the Castle was well worth the effort, particularly given its connection to the history of Irish independence that’s attracted my attention.
In the afternoon I had arranged to attend the Guinness Storehouse, if only because it was the home of that iconic drink that I like so much. I was underwhelmed by the whole experience, to the point where there will be no further comment here.
And so our last night in Dublin featured dinner in the hotel restaurant and then retiring to the room in order to pack and prepare for the next stage of our journey that begins very very early tomorrow.