07 April, 2012

Bit of Culture

As the house is being rendered shite to live in at the moment we're off out and about and doing touristy things.  On Wednesday we were in the City Centre by 9am and raring to go.  First port of call was The Dublin Tourism Board to get leaflets of what's on and how to get there and, more importantly, how much.
We learnt about the Leprechaun museum and the Viking Splash and Dublinia and . . . so far, have done none of them.
What we did do, and none of it was planned, was go to visit Leinster House (the Dail) and Dublin Castle.  Oh but wow, what great places to visit.  
I was muttering and spluttering going into Leinster House, home of some of the greatest con men in Irish History - my opinion.  I was blown away by the history of the place.  Would have loved if the Usher giving the tour could have told us some of the tales I'm sure he knows.  The kids were fascinated too.  My favourite room in the entire place was The Senate Room.  It's beautiful and peaceful and made to look like a Wedgwood plate.  So peaceful is it that I managed to choke down the roar I was about to let at No. 1 for putting his chair on my foot.  Ouch.  
Himself's father works there and, thanks to him, we got an extended tour of the place and lunch.  The day sparked an interest in Irish Political history for me . . didn't do history in school you see. I stopped doing history when I left primary school, going on to do SESP (Social, Environmental, Studies Project??) in Secondary School.  When it came to the Leaving I chose subjects other than History and Geography.  So, last time I did Geography Russia was called the U.S.S.R!!!!  As for History . . can't remember.
The Father-in-law insisted we go to Dublin Castle later and do the Glasnevin Cemetery Tour the next day.  
Dublin Castle is great.  I loved the stories of the throne having the feet removed so Queen Victoria could comfortably perch upon it (previously she had to be hoisted up there by her ladies in waiting - hardly dignified).  Should you visit you'll also learn about the Whistling Corridor . . . staff delivering food to the Dining Room had to whistle or sing the entire time they were carrying a tray as it meant they weren't eating any of what they were carrying.  Then there is the story of 'Justice', she was erected by the British Authorities in, I think, 1751, and she's not like any of the other 'Justice' statues out there.  Our one isn't blindfolded.  She's meant to be blindfolded, blind to discrimination etc.  And her scales??  This really made me laugh.  They're meant to be balanced but I guess the British forgot how much it rains here so the scales never balanced, they were always tipped to one side or the other.  At least they were until some wise chap drilled a hole in each saucer so the water could drain out.  
Her sword is lying casually in her arm and not pointing downwards as in most other statues.  She's also smiling!
The best bit is, she's facing into the Courtyard of the Castle with her back to the Public - in most cases she would be facing out, looking at those she judges.  So, here, she is looking towards the Castle and judging those within.  Rightly so too.  She's still judging those within . . . The Revenue!
While I think of it, there is a gorgeous garden out back.  (There is another hidden garden where myself and Himself used to go years ago but I can't remember how to find it.)  It's a walled garden and it's beautiful.  A perfect place to go and relax and enjoy being in Dublin without listening to the noise of Dublin.  Beautiful memorial to Gardai who have died in the line of duty.  

Yesterday we went to Glasnevin Cemetary.  This is where I discovered I REALLY need to know more about Irish History.  I could have stayed there all day.  Myself and Himself are going to go back without the kids and spend more time in the Museum itself.  We did the tour with the kids and yes, they freaked out, when we went into Daniel O'Connell's crypt and we saw the coffins of his family - sealed and bodies perfect inside, but possibly teeming with all sorts of 19th century diseases?!  Saw the Cholera Pit and found out that there are more people in the ground in Glasnevin than out walking above it.  1.5million in and 1.3 above.  Mindblowing, huh?
There are also 800,000 people unnamed in the graveyard.  The walls are as high as they are to prevent grave robbing and, if you can name them, . . chances are they're buried here.  It's a who's who of Irish Wonderfulness.  
Go there and enjoy.  Pick a sunny day and bring lunch with you.  It's a Victorian Garden Cemetery don't ya know which means it's a great one for walking around.  Not great for walking around if, like me, you have an overactive imagination and you'd recently watched the Dr.Who episode titled 'Blink'.  Aaaaaaaaagh.

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