Dublin city – Ireland
DAY 8 – There is a lot to do and see in Dublin and the guide took us through a cracking pace. Our first site was Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest enclosed city park. Phoenix Park originated in 1662 when the Duke of Ormond turned land into a deer park. The Irish President’s home is also set in Phoenix Park.
We were guided through Dublin’s elegant Georgian squares and the equally impressive castle. We also saw the famous O’Connell Street and the historic Customs House. This afternoon there was spare time to shop in elegant Grafton Street, but we chose to continue exploring the city. At the junction of Grafton and Nassau Streets, we came across the statue of Molly Malone as “She wheeled her wheelbarrow through the streets broad and narrow, crying cockles and mussels, alive alive-oh..”. Apparently, apart from being a fishmonger, Molly also worked as a part-time hooker, hence her nickname the ‘tart with the cart’. She died in one of the outbreaks of cholera that regularly swept the city of Dublin.
O’Connell Street was in the throes of development so taking shots of the statue of James Larkin was a challenge. James Larkin was leader of the Dublin general strike in 1913. In O’Connell Street you’ll also see The Spire of Dublin, a 120 metre high landmark in the heart of Dublin City which was unveiled in 2002.
This huge, needle-like monument stands in the middle of O’Connell Street just across from the famous General Post Office. I believe locals have a less-endearing nickname for the the structure. The Spire marked the beginning of the reconstruction of a new public domain for O’Connell Street which saw the creation of a new plaza at the General Post Office, a new tree lined boulevard and kiosks along the street.
At the northern end of Earl Street is the statue of James Joyce. We then walked along the Liffey. It was a brilliantly sunny day and these Dubliners were making the best of the warm weather. Further on is Ha’penny Bridge – so named because of the halfpenny toll that was levied. The Ha’penny Bridge is Dublin’s oldest pedestrian crossing over the River Liffey. Erected in 1816 as the Wellington Bridge, it later acquired its better known nickname from the halfpenny toll that was levied on users of the bridge up to 1919.
There was just too much to cover in a day and we decided to continue with the exploration tomorrow.