Circling Eyjafjallajokul - Late Summer 2010 travel blog

Georgian homes

classic door

city tour

city tour

city tour

city tour

convention center

Irish harp bridge

papal cross park

We returned to Dublin on a rainy, gray day. While not unexpected, such weather puts a damper on things and we were glad that we had planned a river trip on an enclosed boat and a bus tour of the city. Since Ireland played a neutral role in World War II, the city was not bombed as London and other English cities were, so it has a beautiful, old downtown area that features original English architecture, especially from Georgian times. But I struggled to do it justice photographically, shooting through rain spotted windows.

The Liffey River flows from the city out to where our ship is docked. Its banks used to be full of warehouses and docks, but they are much too small for today’s container ships and lay virtually deserted until EU funds began to flow into Ireland, in an effort to bring the country up to par with the rest of the EU countries. All the old stuff has been removed, but it has been replaced with a hodge podge of modern buildings. They are functional, but don’t provide an aesthetically pleasing whole as the central city does. One interesting building there is the almost finished Convention Center, which the locals call the Guinness Can. The Guinness family and the product they produced had a huge effect on the city. For many years it was the main employer here and it took a paternalistic approach to the workers, building them affordable housing and providing medical services. They even sent nutritionists to visit young mothers to check if they were feeding their families properly. That low cost employee housing is high priced central city flats today.

Dublin has a huge central park, supposedly the largest in Europe and the locals were out enjoying it no matter the weather. We passed a huge green area with a large cross where over 100,000 of them gathered for a mass with Pope John XXIII. We were surprised that the two most prominent buildings - St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College were both Protestant in this most Catholic of countries. These gave a hint as to the domination of the British approach to life over the many years when Britain was in charge here.

It’s clear that there is much more in Dublin to see and do. Cruises are great for giving you a taste of an area, and now that we’ve tasted, Dublin goes back on the bucket list for a return visit.

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