DUBLIN – The sights of London are long gone, but we are now off to explore a new city with a completely different style than the former cities we have been at.
The first difference was the coffee at breakfast. At every hotel so far the serve sludge coffee with a bit of grits as an added bonus, however, the coffee here is really good.
Since we had gone to Trinity College a day early, we had a slower start.
It was a slower day for us overall, as I was still sick, and we did not have to leave the hotel until 10:15 a.m. for our tour of the Dublin Castle just down the road.
When we arrived, we got a tour of the complex and went down into the area in which the River Liffey used to flow through the castle walls about 20 feet from the current street elevation.
We came back up and traveled across a cobblestone street to the Chapel Royal and saw the amazing woodwork and old organ that has not worked since the 1990s.
Afterward, we then made our way into the main hall which is still used by the government for state functions and rather impressive occasions.
The rooms were decorated with paintings from various individuals in the British royal family, to more modern-day royalty.
Everything was ornately decorated with crystal chandeliers and paintings on the ceilings of many rooms depicting positive events in Ireland’s past. There was no mention of a potato famine.
Once finished we had lunch at a small Turkish café and saw the Chester Beatty Library.
Leroy Coffman, University of Central Oklahoma alumnus and I headed off to see pieces of the bible which had been written around 500 A.D. in Egypt.
It was amazing to see that the fragments had survived all of these years with text from the books of Genesis, Acts and some of the Gospels.
As made our way through other sections we came upon an exhibit in which they were showing a collection of a prayer book throughout the room.
A security guard who was bored out of his mind came over and began discussing some of the paintings and how ornate they are. He was very helpful and passionate about it.
Each page had a short message on it with a drawing of a scene out of the Bible including the crucifixion to the stoning of Stephen. It was probably my favorite portion of the museum.
Afterward, Coffman and I went back to the hotel as it was time for his nap and at the same time I got one to help me survive the day. I was really under the weather and it helped me out.
After a short 45-minute nap I headed back to find the group at Jeanie Johnston which was a ship that transported Irish immigrants to the United States.
It was an interesting tour of the underside of the ship and the living conditions of the people who would have been on it. I could have never made the one-month voyage to a land I had never seen before.
Once we finished we headed back towards the hotel and after cleaning up we went to dinner at a steak restaurant around the corner for an early dinner. But, luckily, they had an early bird special which a few members of the group enjoyed.
It was rather early when we got back and I wanted some dessert, so as I was getting some laundry back I asked if they had any cookies.
The guy at the counter said that they usually do and went to check on them. At this point, I was kind of excited, but he would return with no luck. The kitchen had run out of ingredients.
So, the manager, who I had become great friends with after breaking some shades, was there and I asked her why they did not have any.
I said any fine establishment would have cookies. However, her abrasive personality would come back to bite as she had to give me a hard time about breaking the shades.
After she went to check the kitchen for ingredients, she came back and said I did not deserve them. Luckily when I went to the bar, she was there getting something, and I told her the least she could do was give me a free dessert.
Luckily it worked and Coffman and I shared a lemon cheesecake with a raspberry sorbet.
The evening was drawing to an end everybody was tired so we went to bed at a decent hour for our last day in Dublin.
Students go to jail, day twenty-three
The final day of sightseeing and running across the world was here and everybody seemed excited about it. By the looks of it, they were tired because the normal early crowd at breakfast was a little late.
It could have been because of their late night on the town, but it is all up for speculation.
After our final English/Irish/whatever breakfast we left to go on a tour of the prison called Kilmainham Gaol.
This was no place that I would ever want to be held as you walked up the high walls of the 20th-century prison towered over you and you knew it was no place you would want to even be around.
The prison was where many of Ireland’s political prisoners were kept and even tortured before being hanged or shot by a firing squad.
Parts of the prison were much like anyone you would see in the United States, however, one portion which had been built earlier than the rest was where any person could easily be tortured just by staying there.
The place was cold, the walls were covered in years of grime and the cells were no bigger than a walk-in closet, a true torture device just being there.
Many of the prisoners were there due to protesting the government during the Irish Revolution and those who begged during the potato famine.
The guided tour was nice and it gave me an interesting perspective on the history of Ireland and its early struggles when becoming a free nation from British rule.
After the tour, I headed back to the hotel and picked up Coffman and we went to lunch with Randel Ice, interim dean of the University of Central Oklahoma’s College of Business, at a place called Catch-22.
When ordering food in Ireland, expect there to be some sort of potato with the dish.
I ordered some salmon cakes, but they were pretty much potato cakes. Everybody else got either potato bread or French fries with their meals.
It was a good lunch overall, just lacking the fish I was wanting from a fish restaurant.
In the afternoon we went to the Christ Church Cathedral, which I can see from my bedroom window across the street.
The cathedral which has been around since 1030, had withstood the test of time and the many church revolutions that have occurred here in Ireland. It is currently a part of the Anglican Church.
While there we went up to the bell tower and the students were able to ring the bells (for a price) and see how it all worked. We then went down to the crypt and saw the church’s artifacts.
I found the churches in England to be more impressive, but there has been less strife in the church over there. Either they are Catholic or Church of England.
The tour ended around 3:30 in the afternoon, giving me plenty of time for a quick nap before dinner. My sickness was still lingering around.
For dinner Coffman, Ice, UCO professor David Chapman and I went off to dinner at Toscana City Centre, a local Italian restaurant.
It was a lot of food, but well worth it because we once again got an early bird special. I guess going to dinner with the older folks saves you money.
Afterward, we wobbled back to the hotel because we were all so full and everybody went to bed, but I cannot go to bed at 7:30 p.m. as I have not gotten that old yet.
Tomorrow will be a full day as we leave our hotel at 6 in the morning and head back to Oklahoma with a pit stop in Chicago.
This is my final blog and thank you all for reading along throughout my travels.
Featured photo: Nicole Mousavizadegan, UCO student, takes a picture through a hole in a door at the Kilmainham Gaol.