<Originally posted by Ashlyn Keil, an English major at CSU currently studying abroad in Galway, Ireland. Visit her blog page at https://ashlynabroadblog.wordpress.com>
I went to Dublin as part of the first CEA Study Abroad Program Excursion, and here are all the fun places we visited, along with as many pictures as I could take!
Guinness Brewery Tour
This was the first stop on the tour — and I mean literally. We got off the bus and it was straight to the huge Guinness signs.
And the tour was impressive.
There were 7 floors of information and exhibits — all the way from what the ingredients that are used and the whole process of making Guinness, its entire history (marketing, transports, the famous horse, etc), to a Guinness Academy where you can learn how to pour Guinness properly and receive a certificate.
Oh, and the best views of Dublin that you can get on Floor 7 – the Gravity Bar, which is a circular room lined with windows where ticket holders can get a free pint (or soda, but who would do that on the Guinness tour?) and check out the city from above.
The favorite part of the tour for me (not being a beer lover) was, of course, the cooking section, where I snagged two recipes for Guinness Chocolate Truffles and Guinness Chocolate Mousse.
All in all this was an impressive tour that increased my appreciation for how much care and thought and effort is put into making every barrel of Guinness, even if I won’t be the one consuming it.
National Leprechaun Museum
This was a fantastically entertaining visit that was right near the center of the city on our first day — how we could not go the National Leprechaun Museum?
Our tour guide was the best I’ve ever had in terms of knowledge, confidence, and all-around enthusiasm.
She yelled, danced, told creepy Changleing stories, and took us through multiple rooms in the museum that depicted different Leprechaun-themed places. If she hadn’t been so great it wouldn’t have been half as fun of a tour.
She taught us about how the stereotypical, international green-clad Leprechaun came out (apparently viewers of the “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” film didn’t remember that the king of the Leprechaun’s was dressed differently than the traditional ones that followed him, and Lucky Charms followed suit, and the image hasn’t changed since).
Dublin Castle (or the remaining part of it anyways) was pretty nice, especially in the morning sunlight — our Program Coordinator let us know a little of the history and told us that there are still government offices in use today in parts of it (and the new parts that were built attached to it).
According to the official Dublin Castle website, the remaining south-east Record Tower “functioned as a high security prison and held native Irish hostages and priests in Tudor times” (dublincastle.ie).
I was thinking how long it would have taken to build such a perfect circular turret by hand (the castle was completed by 1230).
Viking Splash Tour
This was also one of my favorite experiences this past weekend, even though it was quite chilly in wintertime, cloudy Dublin.
This was a new experience for me: I’d never heard of or even seen a DUKW, which is basically a boat and 4×4 truck developed by General Motors for use by soliders in WWII. The one we rode in was quite old (I forget the date exactly at the moment) but it was in fantastic shape for how old it was.
Go check out their website for all the history on these fascinating contraptions: http://vikingsplash.com/about-viking-splash/history-of-dukws/
I, sadly, don’t have any pictures for this particular event, since my hands were covered in two pairs of gloves and I didn’t really want to freeze my fingers off taking them off to take a picture with my phone. But that’s what Google Images is for, right?
Our tour guide was fantastic! Hilarious and very well-versed in every site he had taken us to see. He had obviously been doing the tours for some time.
And the best part of this was the Viking yell we had to do (with fists up and a nice, terrifying roar) to each of the “kinds of Celts” that we would encounter while on the road:
- the Lost Celts (tourists looking at maps)
- the Unsuspecting Celts (people walking along with their backs to us, not paying any attention)
- the Cappuccino Celts (people sitting outside enjoying coffee/tea)
- the Competition Celts (those on the the other tour buses going around Dublin)
Needless to say this was a fun time for us and for the laughing pedestrians that looked up to see us (a lot in cheesy, plastic Vikings caps) “roaring” at them. Best part: we actually scared a young girl, who laughed and held her hand to her chest as she watched us go by.
This is where the “Perserved Bog Bodies” comes in: our Program Leader decided that we couldn’t not go see the National Musuem’s exhibit on them.
It was pretty amazing: actual preserved bodies that had all been murdered in some kind of nasty way (axes, decapitation, you name it) and thrown into bogs only to be found and now put on display.
Visit http://www.museum.ie/Archaeology/Exhibitions/Current-Exhibitions/Kingship-and-Sacrifice for mrore fascinating info!
Overall it was a great, busy weekend full of fun experiences, and I hope to return to focus on a couple specific places and spend even more time in Ireland’s capital.