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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Ireland, Day 3

March 26th had us heading north to Downpatrick to Down Cathedral where we saw the graves of St. Patrick, St. Columba, and St. Brigid. And oddly enough, it isn't a Catholic church but is a Church of Ireland.

The High Cross

This is the grave of St. Patrick.

The Cathedral was built in the 1100s.  St. Patrick died in 461.  The granite stone covering the grave was placed in 1900 and looks very nondescript and plain other than the flowers that had been placed there.

After leaving Downpatrick, we headed to Trim Castle. Trim Castle is a Norman castle on the south bank of the River Boyne in Trim, County Meath, Ireland. It is the largest Norman castle in Ireland. It was built by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter in the 1100s.  We took a tour of this castle with a tour guide and we even got to go up to the very top of the castle (the keep).

This is the lower floor of the castle where they have three models showing how the castle looked in the beginning and then as it was expanded and renovated in the 1200s and 1300s.

One on of the upper floors of the caste.

Peter on the top of the castle!

Parts of the movie Braveheart were filmed here.

We left Trim Castle and headed to Dublin to Trinity College.  Trinity College is the location of the Book of Kells.  The Book of Kells  is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament. It was created in a Columban monastery in Ireland or may have had contributions from various Columban institutions from both Britain and Ireland. It is believed to have been created c. 800. 

We went back and forth on whether to go here or not but Peter was adamant that we see it and Dan and I had never seen it so we decided to go.  We warned Peter though that it would probably be like when we went to the National Archives in DC to see the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights - kind of boring. (Luckily when we went to see them in DC there were zero lines and we walked right in so that was a bonus!)

I got on the old smart phone to order tickets. A family pass was $22 Euro but you could pay $28 Euro and get in on a fast pass...which meant we could go in front of the long line of people and walk right into the exhibit.  I highly recommend this!  It was totally worth 6 extra Euro!
This is a picture of the outside of the library at Trinity College and do you see that long line of tiny people?  We go to pass them all!  Also, it had just been pouring rain a few minutes earlier so they got wet.  But do you notice how the sun is shining in this picture and the skies are clear?  That's Ireland for you!

Once inside there was a big exhibit before you actually got to the room that contained the Book of Kells.  The exhibit gave history of the book adn showed pictures of the actually book and many of the beautiful drawings from the book.  So it was a bit of a let down when we finally got to see the actual book and it was turned to just a regular page with no real illustrations.  Apparently they turn the pages on a regular basis and you get what you get. 

Upstairs from the Book of Kells is the Long Room.  The Long Room is 210 feet long and contains over 200,000 books.  It was built in the early 1700s.  The library was given the right to a copy of every book printed in Britain and England and the roof was raised in 1850. 

The room was breathtaking and smelled like old books. 

My pictures don't do the room justice!  Also contained in this room is Brian Boru's Harp which dates back to the 14th or 15th centuries and was used as a model for the Coat of Arms of Ireland.  You might recognize better from the Guiness Can!

We drove around Dublin for a bit and tried to take the kids by the General Post Office which was the site where the Easter Rising occurred in 1916.  However, they had the roads blocked in preparation for huge parade they were having the next day to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising! 

We headed to Oranmore where we spent the night at a hotel which was not nearly as fancy as the Slieve Donnard but it was clean and each of the kids had their own bed so it was perfect for us.  There was a great little  Italian restaurant downstairs and we enjoyed a delicious dinner before heading to bed.  We did a lot of driving this day in order to see the Book of Kells so even though it was a long day, I don't have many pictures to show for it.  But Peter was very excited to see the Book of Kells and Dan and I had never seen it either so it was worth it.


Madeline said...

Bummer that you missed the general post office. Though it isn't a whole bunch to look at. I loved the Book of Kells! Bummer you got an not illustrated page! That castle has me all moony eyed and making me look at tickets to Ireland.

Mari said...

I love the castles and the churches, and then that library is just awesome!