Castles, Distilleries & Pubs Cruise
Wednesday August 1 to Thursday August 2, 2012

Two days in the Irish capital

Our arrival into Dublin was scheduled for 4:30pm, so we had a fairly relaxed start to the day. The sea was quite rough through the night and continued through the day as Azamara Journey travelled towards Dublin. We could really feel the ship move about in the 2 metre swells. The captain's advice was to "keep wide and low" when walking about the ship. It didn't look particularly elegant, but it got the job done.

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    We were in no particular hurry for that start of the day and it was after 10:00am before we made it to Windows Cafe for breakfast. We clearly weren't the only ones doing that - the cafe was quite busy and there was no signs of them closing down any of the food stations. There was no doubt that the ship’s staff were expecting a late start for most people with the scheduled time of our arrival in Dublin. Following breakfast we stopped in to listen to a presentation of upcoming cruise itineraries at the Cabaret Lounge and then we returned to our stateroom for a bit of email writing and relaxation. Was good to avoid walking anywhere on what felt a bit like a rollercoaster with the ship’s movement on the rough Irish Sea.

    The weather did clear more and more as we approached Dublin and with the sea began to calm a bit as well. Not calm, just calmer. There was an officer’s barbecue in the main Discoveries Restaurant at 1:00pm - we took a look at it, but it seemed very crowded and we made the choice to skip it and had back to Windows Cafe for lunch instead. Following lunch we went to Mosaic Cafe for coffee before heading back to our room prior to the ship’s arrival in Dublin.

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  • Wednesday August 1, 2012

    St Stephen's Green, Trinity College and dinner at L’Gueuleton

    As soon as Azamara Journey was docked we made our way off the ship to catch one of the shuttle buses into town. It was a convenient service that Azamara had arranged and drop off location was conveniently central in Dublin.

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      We walked for a bit to explore the city and get our bearings as we made our way to St Stephen's Green - a nice park in the city centre. The current configuration of the park was opened for public use in 1880 but the site has been used as a park going back all the way to 1663. We next went to the Trinity College grounds to have a look around. Our plan was to head here on Thursday morning to got to see the Book of Kells but for this first visit for this university that was established in 1592 it was just a tour of this beautiful and historic campus. We also checked out the shopping district on Grafton Street.

      By this point we needed to consider what to do for dinner. We didn’t want to head back to the ship, so we looked around to find a restaurant we’d consider. While in Dublin you’d think you’d be able to locate a nice Irish restaurant - but not in the area of the city we were looking. Irish restaurant seemed to mean “pub” as far as we could see so we instead settled for a French restaurant called L’Gueuleton for dinner and it was a good choice. The food and atmosphere of the restaurant was quite good indeed.

      After dinner we did a bit more wandering around the city including the bustling Temple Bar area and the Spire of Dublin. When we were done our evening tour of the city we made our way back to the location to pick up the shuttle bus that would take us back to Azamara Journey. We weren’t quite ready to head to our stateroom when we made it back to the ship, so we headed to the Looking Glass lounge for some drinks and to take in some of the evening’s entertainment to close out or first day in Dublin.

  • Thursday August 2, 2012

    Book of Kells, Dublin Castle and the Guiness Storehouse

    We were up and ready early for our second day in Dublin to maximize our touring day in the Irish capital. The day was bright and warm with a breeze so we decided to have our breakfast outside on the Sunset Bar area of Azamara Journey.

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      The early start gave us the opportunity to make the first scheduled shuttle to the city centre. First on the day's agenda was to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. We actually made it there before its scheduled opening time so we found a cafe on the campus to get espresso and even with that we were in the first few people lined up to enter. The display of the lavishly decorated Gospels written in Latin that originated in about the year 800 is impressive and the pages are somewhat memorizing. The exact origin of these elaborate versions of the Gospels is unknown, but the name of them comes from the location that they were located for centuries until 1650: the Abbey of Kells (about 60km north of Dublin). The have been at Trinity College ever since 1661. Visiting the exhibit of the Book of Kells is one of those must do things while in Dublin in our opinion. When we left the exhibit we saw a massively long line up waiting to get in to see the Book of Kells. We were so very glad we had made the effort to arrive early.

      Our self-directed tour took us on a route to view Dublin Castle, Dublin City Hall, St Patrick's Cathedral, St Audoen's Church on the way to reach the home of Guinness at the St James's Gate Brewery. Located at the Guinness Brewery is an attraction called the Guinness Storehouse to highlight the history of Guinness at this location since 1759. A copy of the 9,000 year lease for £45/year signed by Arthur Guinness on December 31, 1759 is displayed in a case embedded in the ground floor of the Guinness Storehouse. They don't make mention that the lease is longer valid - Guinness long ago expanded beyond the original 4 acres of land covered in the lease and purchased all of the land outright. We had nice lunch at one of the restaurants located in the Guinness Storehouse and then continued our walking tour of Dublin after that.

      The weather was nice so it made for a pleasant stroll slowly and meanderingly back to the area we’d need to be to pick up the shuttle to head back to Azamara Journey. The ship wasn’t leaving until the evening, so we were in no rush. Near Custom House - an impressive building located along the River Liffey is a haunting sculptural memorial to the Great Famine. The sculpture shows a number of emaciated people as if they are preparing to board a ship that will take them to the New World to escape the famine. The famine claimed the lives of about 1.1 million people with about another 1 million people leaving Ireland: about 70% of them going to the USA, 28% going to Canada and 2% going to Australia. The location of the memorial is significant as well, for it was from here that at least one of the ships did leave Ireland. We took in as much of the city as we could before catching the shuttle bad to Azamara Journey at about 7:00pm. We freshened up and then went to the main Discoveries dining room for dinner. Following dinner we returned to our stateroom to relax - it had been a long and quite enjoyable day of touring around the Irish capital.

Dublin Image Gallery

North Bull Lighthouse at the entrance to Dublin Port
Samuel Beckett Bridge over the River Liffey
Fusiliers' Arch, erected 1907
Stephen's Green Shopping Centre
Arnaldo Pomodoro's Sphere Within Sphere sculpture at Trinity College
Our dinner spot for the first evening in Dublin - L'Gueuleton
River Liffey viewed from the Ha'penny Bridge
Temple Bar area, Dublin
St Patrick's Cathedral, founded 1191
Synod Hall of Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral, founded 1030
Arch over the road between Christ Church Cathedral & Synod Hall
Vathouse No 4 of the Guinness St James's Brewery
Looking down on the copy of the (now obsolete) 9000 year Guinness lease
View from the Gravity Bar at the top of the Guinness Storehouse
Statue of the likely fictional but loved Molly Malone in Dublin
Inside Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe, Dublin
River Liffey, Dublin
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WHITEonline is the digital home of Gary & Linda White. We’ve been married since 1980 and live just outside Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Linda was born and raised in Toronto while Gary was born in London, England and moved to Canada at the age of 11. We enjoy travelling and taking photos while we travel. WHITEonline provides the opportunity to share some of our photos & experiences.

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