July 8th, David left home to begin a new project in Saudi Arabia. It is the second phase of the copper mine that he was working on in 2013-2014. Most of the same people are working on the second phase, so it is all very familiar. As with the previous assignment, he works 4 weeks and has 2 weeks off. Due to US tax laws, David has to stay out of the country for 330 days to establish his ex-patriot status.
Currently, I am taking care of my brother’s dog, Jack and am unable/unwilling to leave the US to live closer to Saudi until I no longer have that responsibility. As you can imagine after looking at Jack’s adorable picture, I am in no hurry to give him back to my brother! In the meantime, David and I will meet every month for his 2 week break, somewhere in the world. For his first break, we decided on Dublin. Last Sunday, August 7, I met David at the Dublin Airport. He arrived from Saudi Arabia and I arrived from Boston, MA.
Our first week in Dublin was pretty uneventful. Unfortunately, David had excruciating pain in his hip and leg area. Fortunately, our practitioner in the states, was able to find an Osteopathic Doctor (DO) who leans more towards homeopathic remedies rather than traditional medicine.
Dr Robert Feeney has been wonderful in treating David. David actually went to the emergency room in Medina, Saudi Arabia where he was told that his pelvis bone had worn out due to “old” age. He was told that the nerves in the pelvis region were rubbing against the rough bone causing the pain. They wanted to operate and smooth the bone. According to Dr Feeney, there is no structural issues that is causing David’s pain but the problem is parasites. Last week, he had 3 treatments and is scheduled for another the first of this week. David is slowly healing, which means we are able to play tourist now.
Yesterday, we did a tour of Dublin on the “Hop On, Hop Off” bus tours that are so popular in most cities. I was surprised to see that Dublin can support three of these bus tours. For convenience sake, we went on the Cityscape Tour. They all appeared to offer the same stops and routes. We usually do a tour like this when we first land in a city to get orientated and learn a little of the history.
One of the things our tour guide explained was how Gaelic (or as the Irish call it – the Irish language) is translated into various words today. For example, Dublin is actually a combination of two Gaelic words – Dubh which means black and Linn which means pool. This reference to the “black pool” is the dark water where the River Poodle met the River Liffey, at the rear of the Dublin Castle near the garden area. I believe that the River Poodle no longer meets the River Liffey as Dublin has expanded. For most of the tour, our guide mentioned the various areas that we were passing through had formerly been marsh but as the city grew, the marshes/bogs were filled in and built upon.
Another example of Gaelic names was the Phoenix Park where the Dublin Zoo is located. In the early days, when Gaelic was the primary language the park area was called Fionn Uisce which translates to Clear Water after a natural spring found on the land. In 1611, Sir Edward Fisher leased the land and built a country residence. It was called the Phoenix house as that was closest sounding to Fionn Uisce. In 1662, the land became a deer park for King Charles II. Today, one can still see deer in this park. In 1745, the land was opened as a park to the public by Lord Chesterfield. It covers over 1,750 acres which would be the equivalent of 2 New York City’s Central Park. An interesting side-note that I discovered while researching about Phoenix Park, listed among the rules, one must have special permission to play frisbee from the park superintendent. I wonder if that is really enforced?
Just inside the gate is the Wellington Monument. Standing at 205 ft, it is tallest obelisk monument in Ireland and Europe and the second tallest in the world. The tallest
is the Washington Monument, which is 555 ft tall, in Washington DC. This monument was built to commemorate the accomplishments of Dublin native, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.
These are the buildings along Fitzwilliam Street, also known as the Georgian Mile. These buildings, of Georgian architecture, were built in the late 18th century. Georgian architecture is very symmetrical and has very little or no ornamentation on the outside.
During the 18th and 19th century, a window tax was imposed. Home owners were taxed for the windows and their size they had in their homes. It created the term that is still used today “daylight robbery” which means something is ridiculously expensive. To avoid paying high taxes, some homeowners had smaller windows installed on the top floors where the servants resided or they would totally block the window with bricks. Now that I know what the bricked up windows, represent, they are more noticeable throughout the city.
Merrion Square Park is at the end of Fitzwilliam Street and has a monument honoring Oscar Wilde, the famous Irish playwright, poet and author. He had quite the wit and many of his expressions are still used today. “Marriage is grand, divorce is about ten grand,” “I can resist everything except temptation,” “Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them as much!” Can you imagine Mae West and Oscar Wilde carrying on a conversation?
Just before leaving the park, I noticed this chair with the inscription “Dermot Morgan,1952-1998” hat was relatively recent so I was curious. Who was Dermot Morgan. Turns out he was an actor who played Father Ted in a sitcom of the same title. I believe I have seen a few episodes. Dermot died the day after the last taping of Father Ted. This “Joker’s Chair” is his memorial. Do you think Oscar Wilde influenced the “powers that be” when they were discussing a proper memorial for Dermot Morgan?
Of course, we went by the Guinness’ Brewery! It wouldn’t be a tour of Dublin without a stop there! The interesting fact about the brewery, is in 1759, Arthur Guinness who was 34 at the time, signed a 9,000 year lease on a four acre, dilapidated brewery at the St James Gate. Today, that small brewery has expanded to 64 acres. Two years after his arrival to Dublin, Arthur married Olivia Whitmore. They had 21 children, 10 of those survived. Since I am not a Guinness fan, I think I will pass on doing the Guinness Tour.
This is only one fraction of Christ Church Cathedral in the heart of Dublin. Sometime, after King Sitric Silkenbeard, the Hiberno-Norse king of Dublin made a pilgrimage to Rome, in 1028 a church has been on this site. It is located in what was considered the heart of medieval Dublin. It is a definite “must visit” on my tour list.
So, there you have a brief look of Dublin. I will continue to write and share my adventures with you as time permits. When I am back in the states, I plan to commit time daily to share everyone wonderful thing about Dublin and the beautiful country of Ireland that I have experienced.