Monday, June 22, 2009

Pick a Cathedral, Any Cathedral

With only three days in the Dublin area, and one of them consumed with a trip to Newgrange, we knew that we couldn't see or do everything, most things, or even a fraction of the sites worth visiting in the area. So we decided to only visit one of the two cathedrals within blocks of each other in Dublin. Christ Church Cathedral won the coin toss, so to speak, and just getting to see the mummified cat and rat made me very happy.

The theory is that a cat chased a rat into the pipes of the organ, got stuck, and nature did the rest. James Joyce did his bit too with regards to immortalizing the mummified pair in a simile in Finnegan's Wake: as stuck as that cat to that mouse in that tube of that christchurch organ...

I loved the floors and the ceilings and the windows too, but the crypt was enchanting. First one I've ever been in. Brought Romeo and Juliet to mind, with the monuments and dim passageways.

According to the pamphlet that came with the self-guided audio tour (of which I am a huge fan...when there isn't a live tour guide, I always go the audio route), these are the foundations of the earliest cathedral built on the site circa 1030 A.D.

After finishing the audio, we made our way to a different part of the Cathedral that is hosting Dublinia, a sort of elementary school age exhibit on Dublin since the time of the Vikings. All I can think of to compare it to is the History of Starrs Hollow diorama that Taylor puts together in The Gilmore Girls. It was so lame that it was fun. Sarah and I were practically the only people there over the age of 10, not counting the teachers who were herding uniform-clad kids from room to room. We did enjoy chatting with this "Viking"--he turned out to be the only live exhibit. Every other exhibit consisted of Macy's mannequins dressed up in furs.

Here, he's imprinting silver coins with a dye on a hammer, and we actually learned a lot about early money as he snipped coins into half-pennies and quarter-pennies before our very eyes!

A big part of the fun of visiting a new place for me is not just seeing the sites, but seeing how "real" people (i.e., non-tourists) live. Sarah and I visited a couple of corner markets and browsed the aisles looking for the familiar and the unfamiliar, and invariably purchased new and interesting snackage items, including the ever popular Roast Chicken crisps, Prawn Cocktail crisps, Mars Planets (which we learned about from the dozen or more episodes of Friends we watched--Friends is sponsered by Mars Planets), and Galaxy chocolate bars (yum!).

We also daily stopped for ice-cream on our walk back to the hotel at the St. Stephens Green Shopping Center, which we both loved for inexpensive clothing stores (it was so warm we had to buy something other than jeans to wear), prom dress stores (Sarah found an awesome gold/black/white dress that was gorgeous but really pricey), phone stores (which we haunted while I was trying to get my iphone to work), and a decent food court.

Last photo for today:

One of my favorite songs that I sang to our kids when they were young was Molly Malone. I always sang:
In London's fair city,
where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

"Alive, alive, oh,
Alive, alive, oh",
Crying "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh".

But, but...the Molly Malone statue is in Dublin. Good thing we have the Internet and Wikipedia.

Next posting...the musical pub crawl.

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