Dublin is a wonderful tourist destination. Dublin knows that it is a wonderful tourist destination. And, there is nothing wrong with that!
My wife and I were a couple of the tourists from around the world when we visited Dublin just a few weeks ago.
Our great hosts, Terri and Aylish were former neighbours from Canada who had moved back ‘home’ to Dublin.
For my wife and I, it was a triple pleasure: we visited a great city, re-connected with great friends, and we walked in the footsteps of our ancestors.
We used the Dublin ‘Hop On Hop Off’ bus tour (2-day package) as our means of getting around the city and seeing the sights. There are two routes used by the tour buses and we enjoyed both. The longer tour, about two hours in length, covers the city proper while the second shorter tour, about 45 minutes in length, covers the docklands.
The great advantage of these bus tours is that your ticket allows to to ‘hop off’ the bus at any stop to explore the various museums, sights, or shopping districts at your leisure and then ‘hop on’ a subsequent bus to continue the tour. Buses come by each stop at ten to fifteen minutes intervals so waiting isn’t really an issue. Each of the bus drivers follows the same basic tour script but each also infuses their own form of Irish wit and humour along the way.
Many of the sights were related to the 1916 Easter Rising (or Easter Rebellion) which lead eventually to Irish independence from Great Britain. I was particularly fascinated by the bullet holes still visible in some statues along O’Connell Street left from that time. Certainly, next year there will be many commemorations and events marking the centennial of the uprising.
The Spire of Dublin, also known as the Monument of Light, is pin-like monument rising almost 400 feet above downtown Dublin. The monument was built of stainless steel as a millennial project and our tour bus driver noted that it wasn’t completed, in true Irish fashion, until 2003. The stainless steel was to ensure low cost maintenance but quipped our guide, the government spends about 40,000 euros every two years to clean the monument now locally known as the world’s largest stiletto heel.
Knowing that not every visitor to Dublin will be from countries with driving on the left side of the road, the Irish have painted signs at pedestrian crosswalks informing people of which way to look for oncoming traffic. It must have worked as neither my wife nor I had any problems safely crossing the streets.
The Dublin Convention Centre opened in 2010 and is now known locally as the ‘Tube in the Cube.’
As a genealogist, I was dismayed at the condition of some of the cemeteries I observed in Dublin during our tour. Although the cemetery above is well enclosed by stone walls, you can see the deterioration of many gravestones and general lack of maintenance of the grounds.
Benjamin Lee Guinness (1798-1868) was a Dublin native who became Mayor of Dublin and also served in the House of Commons as the Dublin representative. He was also known for his philanthropy, oh, and for brewing a beverage that bears his name!
This photo was taken as we passed by the Ancestry.com office in Dublin. A good reminder of my love for all things genealogy!