Sunday, May 1, 2016

Arrival in Dublin and A Little History Lesson

We are now international travelers! Our long, somewhat sleepless overnight flight brought us to Dublin and we hit the ground running. We had a Sunday brunch at a local cafe, including Irish soda bread, omelettes, breakfast sandwiches with an Irish touch, and one big bowl of porridge.

Following our meal, we stumbled upon the Little Museum of Dublin, where we had a half an hour history lesson on Dublin in the 20th century. 

Beginning in 1900, our tour guide, Phillip, told us about Queen Victoria's visit to Ireland. She was considered the "shortest, but longest queen" because she was petite in stature, but until recently, her reign was the longest. While the Irish were discontented by the overpowering English rule, they flocked to the streets, much like they would with any celebrity.

During the first World War, priests would carry portable altars to minister to the Irish sailors. The museum has one on display, containing the text of the mass in an extremely large font for the priests with poor eyesight. Glasses were very expensive at the time, so books were printed large enough that even those without proper prescriptions could celebrate the mass. Here is a picture of our tour guide, Phillip, and the portable altar described.

Eamon de Valera in uniform, head and shoulders oval portrait, c. 1915.

Next, Phillip told us about how the Irish fought for their independence, due to the poor living conditions they were subject to in tenements. Without proper representation in the government, their grievances were not heard. Beginning with Easter Rising, we learned that Eamon de Valera was one of the leaders who encouraged the Irish to take control of various British government buildings and insist that Ireland was a republic until England gave in.

Lastly, we looked at many documents and pictures of Irish life in from the 1960's to the 1980's. In this room was the "temporary podium" that the Irish provided for JFK when he visited. This podium was actually a simple antique music stand pictured below. Apparently Irish politicians do not always use note-cards or speak from behind a podium, so this was their quick fix.

We explored the streets, stopping into the Shelbourne, where every US president that has visited Dublin has stayed. We quickly examined the little museum that contains their guest books and a draft of the Irish Constitution, which was created in one of their historic drafting rooms, now dubbed the Constitution Suite.

Shelbourne Hotel Dublin   

After taking some time to get unpacked and settled, we had some Irish specialties at a local pub. We enjoyed lamb shanks, stew, corned beef and cabbage, beef and Guinness pies, and Grafton Burgers.


To get us further acclimated to the city, we continued exploring and saw some of Dublin's shopping district.


Today was Amelia's day, so we asked her what she's liked most about Dublin thus far. She said: "I think my favorite part was the tour that we had at the little museum of Dublin. I enjoyed learning about the history and having visuals to go along with it."

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