Yesterday, my sisters and I had an outing we've long been promising ourselves. They travelled to Dublin from Limerick by train, and I headed across the country by bus to meet them and spend the day as tourists in the capital city. We realised we spend time travelling in other countries together, visiting museums, gardens, etc. and we have hardly seen a fraction of what our own country has to offer, so the plan was to see what we could in a day.
A day like that has to start with coffee. Good coffee. It did! Fortified, we set off on the Luas
A stroll down the quays, across the river and we arrived at Christ Church Cathedral.
Of the three of us, only one had previously visited. So in we went. An absolutely beautiful, history-steeped place, with an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. I lit candles for any of you who need healing and peace of heart and mind.
From there, a gentle stroll, and we found ourselves in Dublin Castle, but the Castle itself wasn't our true goal. We were ready for lunch, and I knew the secret of the Chester Beatty Library (Well... one of the secrets!). It has an amazing restaurant - the Silk road Cafe, where excellent Mediterranean and middle-eastern food is available at very reasonable prices. So, we had a wonderful lunch, and then we proceeded to explore the library. If you ever visit Dublin, you MUST, MUST see this. Last year, one of the highlights of my trip to San Francisco was a visit to the Asian Art Museum there. Well, on a smaller scale, here is a gem to compare with that.
Quoting from their website
: "The Library's exhibitions open a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world. Its rich collection from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe offers visitors a visual feast. Chester Beatty Library was named Irish Museum of the year in 2000 and was awarded the title European Museum of the Year in 2002.
" Follow the link to the website. Browse. See some of what enthralled us.
Their roof-garden is a treasure. Their cakes are treasures. Their gift-shop contains postcards, even wrapping-paper that are treasures!
Did I mention that the Chester Beatty library has to be seen??? (And, while you're welcome to make a contribution to upkeep, entrance is free!)
After perusing the treasures of the galleries, we had cake and coffee, and set off on the next part of our adventure. A bus-hop to Glasnevin, where the National Botanic Gardens
lie. Being still relatively early in spring, we didn't expect to find much in flower, but we were delighted, as we got off the bus, to be greeted with a waft of the most delicious scent. Outside the gates, beds had been planted with Stocks, one of our mother's all-time favourite flowers. What a welcome! It is indubitably true that a visit in summer would offer a whole lot more in the way of colour and flower, but we didn't have crowds to contend with, and there are beautiful beds of primulas, some of the plum trees are flowering, we could admire the layout of the gardens, and we spent plenty of time in the wonderful glasshouses - cactus house, tropical plant house, tender plant house, and we saw plenty of wonderful plants.
By the time we'd made our way back to the city, we were ready for just a little retail therapy. Bookshop for two of us, while the other went in search of beachtowels and sarongs for her upcoming sun holiday.
We finished the day at another national institution. Burdocks Fish and Chip shop - the best Chips in Dublin!
Aaah! Satisfaction at a great day. We parted on Jervis Street. Two heading north to the train station, me heading south to the bus-station.
Is there a city near you that you could visit in a day that might have treasures you haven't yet explored? I'm really glad we gave a day to this outing, and it is set to be an annual event from now on!