The second day began early as we both awoke at 3:00 am from jetlag. I was happy to have at least slept 7 hours since we had gone to bed the previous night at 8:00, but was wishing I could get a little more sleep. Well, I got my wish. About an hour later, I conked out and slept like the dead until 10:00 am. Unfortunately, this will probably hurt my chances of getting over jetlag since that second round of sleep was when I would have normally been sleeping at home.
Today was museum day, and we were both feeling the pain of hard walking and running yesterday combined with jetlag and cobblestone streets beneath our feet. Museums may not seem like hard work, but you do a lot of walking and standing. But, after an early lunch of Burger King (we had to), we were ready to hit up Dublin's museums. Let's hit the highlights!
1. A 5000 year old boat carved out of a log that is still in remarkably good shape at the National Museum of Archaeology and History. It was crazy to think that someone was using that boat before Abraham.
2. The oldest page of a Bible anywhere. It is from Numbers and is written on papyrus. There were also the oldest copies of the letters from Paul which were written in the second century. This guy Chester Beatty had probably the best private collection of rare and old books in the world. He had upwards of 20 incunables (books from before the printing press) which I know from Pawn Stars are worth like $10,000 on the low end. He donated the collection to be opened as a free museum, which is now one of the best sites in Dublin. (Actually saw this yesterday, but my foggy mind prevented me from writing about it then)
3. An excellent Caravaggio painting. If you've read my past travel blogs, you know that Caravaggio was my first experience with European art, and he is still my favorite artist. Each time we come back to Europe, I search out his paintings, so I was excited to visit the National Gallery in Dublin, which I knew had his "Betrayal of Christ in the Garden". It was everything I love about Caravaggio: his use of light, action and movement, detailed faces with emotion. (Google it now, but I probably got the title wrong)There was also a Picasso in the museum, and I must say that I didn't get it. I tried hard. Really I did, but it was a still life of a ukulele, a basket of fruit and a bottle of wine, and I could only make out the ukulele. I promise to try Picasso again in Paris, but for now, I am not a fan.
4. The excellent tour guide at Dublin Castle, Siobhan. Even though most of what is still standing at Dublin Castle is from Georgian times, she brought all of Dublin history to life. We went down below the castle to the old city walls, and I learned what they mean by the Irish "gift of gab". We were hanging on her every word. She made a mediocre site really great and worth it!
5. One more thing from yesterday: costumes from The Tudors in the crypt of Christchurch! I really love historical drama, and the show, The Tudors, is one of my faves in this genre. Apparently since many of the actors are Irish and they filmed often in Dublin, they gave some costumes to the church. Not historic at all, and a little silly, but I loved it. The detail on the fabric was amazing, and I felt like a total fan girl.
After the museums, we strolled the Temple Bar area which is like a really super nice, clean, Bourbon Street. There were street musicians and music pouring out of the bars. Picturesque facades line the street with brightly colored pubs, and beautiful dark wood bars inside. Unfortunately, the pints and food were too rich for our blood, so we retired back to our neighborhood pub for bangers and mash and steak and Guinness pie. (Very Irish, I know.) it was a perfect end to a perfect day in Ireland. I am glad we will be back in a few weeks.
Stay tuned for our first day in Paris tomorrow!