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Sunday May 16, 2010.  We arrived to Dublin by plane and were met at the airport  by our guide for the next 12 days, an Irishman with a very thick brogue, named Ken Begley. He would also drive our chariot, a comfortable bus.


Going through Dublin, we drove along the river Liffey, which is crossed by a very modern bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava. It evokes the image of a harp lying on its side.


We saw a couple of very interesting buildings, such as the office and financial centers on St. George's Quay, a very modern structure erected in 2007, and the Customs House on the banks of the Liffey.

A visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral followed. It's Ireland's largest church, founded next to a sacred well where St. Patrick is said to have baptized converts. Inside we found many interesting statues and beautiful, ornate choir lofts attesting to the importance of worship music.



The second photo, above,  shows the statue of Reverend James Whiteside, Lord Chief of Justice,1804-1876. The next picture is of the images of Gerald Fitzgibbon, Lord Justice of Appeal, 1837-1909, & George Grenville Nugent Temple, 1753-1813, First Marquis of Buckingham. Then there is a depiction of Rev. Henry Richard Dawson, Dean of the Cathedral for 12 years in the mid-19th Century. And outside, on the gardens, a statue of Sir Benjamin Guinness,1798-1868, who restored St. Patrick's in the 1860s. He was a grandson of the founder of the famous Guinness brewery in 1759.



Next stop was Trinity College, founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1952. In its library it's found the Book of Kells, a richly decorated copy of the four gospels in a Latin text based on the Vulgate edition completed by St. Jerome in 384 A.D. In all there are 340 folios, 680 pages. They contain the prefaces, summaries of gospel narratives, and concordances compiled in the 4th century by Eusebius of Cesarea. Photographs were not allowed.




After perusing the wonders of the library, we again boarded the bus for the trip to Belfast. We stopped along the way at the Malahide Castle for our first experience with Irish scones and tea. The castle dates from the 12th Century, and for 791 years was the home of the Talbot family. They served us a delicious repast of scones with butter, jam, cream and tea.



Along the way to Belfast we were treated to some beautiful scenes of verdant splendor. The different shades of green were dotted by the ubiquitous gorse, a flowering plant.



We arrived at the Europa Hotel, a famous 4 star hotel in the heart of Belfast. Its wonderful lobby welcomed us and the rooms were very comfortable. Arrived just in time for dinner. We had a very nice Irish breakfast the following morning, the first of many.



We went out for a walk and wound up in an Irish pub, of course,The Crown Liquor Saloon. We had our first experience with pounds, pennies, and sixpence. The pub was very typical, very pretty inside, with super friendly people. We had our first taste of the local brews. I decided Guinness rules!



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