Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ireland: Dublin and Wicklow county

We flew from LAX to Dublin, Ireland, on Monday for a 3 night stay before continuing to London. Our first day in Dublin we visited Christchurch Cathedral, which was founded by Vikings in 1038. Today's building was originally built in 1172, but seems to have been reconstructed piece by piece over the years, so very little of the current structure actually dates this far back. After our visit, we went back to our hostel to nap around 3:00 PM and ended up sleeping until about 6:00 AM the next day. That's one way to cure jet lag!

Our second and fourth days were spent visiting several museums. At the Beatty Library we saw fragments of the New Testament from as old as 150 AD and several intricately illuminated copies of the Koran. The National Museum of Archeology was full of old treasures.

Our third day we took a driving tour of Wicklow county, which brought us to to Glendalough, a monastery founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin. The buildings which survive date from the 8th and 12th centuries and include a cathedral, stone churches, and a round tower which is 34m (130 ft)high and 16m (52 ft) in circumference at the base. Especially interesting is that the entire site has been turned into a graveyard which is still used for burials today.

Tim and I have found the wealth of history in Europe amazing. This part of the world had so many more technological advances than in the Americas during the same time period. It is also very interesting to us that certain cities have been continuously inhabited for 1000's of years. It seems that ancestral heritage in this part of the world is much more important than it is in the "melting pot" of the United States. Of course this has its drawbacks as well as advantages-it seems to make old wounds a little harder to heal.

Christ Church Cathedral

Tiled floor in the cathedral

A bit of Irish countryside

Glendalough monastery

Of course, we spent some time in a few pubs listening to live Irish music and drinking Guinness. (We had one for you too, Mike)

A few street scenes in Dublin

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