I recently returned from a long weekend in Dublin. On the first day, we took the tourist bus around the city. We visited Kilmainham Gaol, Phoenix Park, Jameson's Whiskey museum, Dublina Museum and Christ Church Cathedral. We finished the day by having a traditional Irish meal with music and folklore. It was a great start to our trip in Dublin, and I really recommend the Gaol as it was one of the highlights.
Kilmainham Gaol (jail) was our first 'stop', and the tours are all guided. There was a queue, so we had to wait approximately thirty minutes in the queue but managed to just make the next tour. The location was used in several films, including The Italian Job. The jail was designed for the interests of rehabilitating the prisoners, and it has been used as a model in building other jails since. We were shown around various areas of the jail and told its history and key events of Irish History in relation to the jail and the activities that took place inside. Many of the stories were sad ones.
Lamp on the front of the arched entrance. Public hangings used to take place above the door.
Kilmainham Goal - interior of the newer part of the jail to increase visibility and efficiency
To lighten our moods after the jail, we got back on the bus and had a ride through Phoenix Park on the way to Jameson's Whiskey museum. The park was lovely, and unfortunately, we did not get time to go back and explore this later. We saw deer, a monument that looked like Washington Monument, and the president's house (which looks very much like the White House). The American ambassador also has a house here.
At Jameson's, we had to wait for the next tour, but we each had a whiskey-based cocktail at the bar. We were then given the tour of the museum, which was the location of the distillery. We learned how they make the whiskey and had a free tasting. (As the bloke prefers whiskey, he and a small group of others had their own whiskey taste session to compare this Irish whiskey with a Scottish whiskey and an American whiskey.)
Whiskey-based cocktail at Jameson's
Distillery copper tanks
After Jameson's, we got back onto the tour bus and got off at Ha' Penny Bridge (Half Penny Bridge). The bridge is named this because it used to be the only bridge across the river, and the toll was a half-penny. From the bridge, we walked into the touristy pub area of Temple Bar.
A pub named 'Temple Bar' in the Temple Bar area
We eventually found ourselves at our destination, Dublina and Christ Church. We had a look around the museum, which is mainly for children as it has many interactive displays, and then we walked across the bridge to Christ Church. Christ Church looks impressive, and the crypt had many interesting items from the church's treasury and props from a popular television series. We also saw the mummified cat and mouse, which are nicknamed "Tom and Jerry". Workmen found the cat and mouse in the pipe organ's pipes; it is thought that the cat chased the mouse in and they both got stuck.
Interior and exterior of Christ Church
After our exploration of the church, we eventually found our way to 'The Brazen Head' pub, which is possibly the oldest pub in Dublin. This area (including the location of Christ Church) is the oldest area of Dublin as many remains of ancient buildings have been found. The modern day 'Brazen Head' pub is also thought to be built on an older pub and that there was a pub here in ancient times. We had a traditional Irish meal and listened to Irish folklore stories and singing and music. It was a fun night. We were able to admire Dublin in the dark on the walk back to where we were staying.
A green glow under the bridge