Day 4 in Dublin was a whirlwind day! We packed up our stuff, and dropped it off at the bus station in lockers, the only place in the city that had them. Then we rushed off to Trinity college to see the book of Kells. We had tried to see it the day before but the line was 3 hours long. We got there right as they opened and only had to wait about 45 minutes. We sure were glad we got there when we did though because shortly after the line was back to 3 hours. The photo of the long line is from there. The Book of Kells did not disappoint, and they had two of the pages open. One is of an illustrated text and one was a cover page, it was great to see both. No cameras allowed though. The guard knew the phrase “no photographs” in every language and we got to hear him chastise at least a dozen people!
Next it was off to a cool geology tour of Dublin put on by a science tour company. We got to learn all about the stones that make up the buildings of Dublin, and see the fossils all around us that we never would have noticed. The photo is of an ancient tropical coral reef that used to be near Ireland! It was fun and we learned a lot, like that most of our early knowledge and terms for measuring and describing earthquakes comes from a Dublin scientist who actually created earthquakes to study them! They were very interested in us and our earthquake stories since they don’t really have earthquakes there.
After a quick rest in St Stephens green, we were off to the real treat of the day- a hurling match at Croke park. Hurling is a Gaelic sport that dates back to 1000 BC. Yep, it has origins dating back 3000 years! It is a very fast paced game and the best we can describe it is a cross between football, field hockey, lacrosse and soccer. Before the game we went to the GAA (Gaelic athletic association) and got to try our hand at hurling. It is much harder than it looks! We also got to see the history of hurling through the years and learn more about the game. Joey picked out a hurley (the stick) as a souvenir. We had purchased our tickets a couple of months ago and somehow managed to get tickets for the all Ireland semi finals where it was Dublin “up the Dubs!” Vs. Cork “go Rebels!” Big all country playoffs basically. We also scored front row sets without knowing it, as we were in row D and they had nets over A-C. It was a fantastic game and by the second half we actually could figure out what was happening. It helped that there were some lovely people around us to explain the game and help us decide who to root for! Joey decided he was a Cork man, and I was up the Dubs. Joey won the bet that day, Cork won by 5.
After the match we joined the throngs of people out of the stadium and back into the city where we collected our luggage at the bus station and took a cab to the train station. It was a bit stressful as any city will have gridlock after a big match and we had only one hour to do all of the moving around, but we managed it with plenty of time.
Leaving Dublin was sad, but the train ride to Waterford was worth it! Before the big match there was a U-18 semi finals between Waterford and another team so the train was full of happy fans returning to Cork and Waterford. It was lively to say the least, and Joey learned some new swear words I’m sure. We made friends with a group of firefighters from Waterford who were, in their own words, “mad Irishmen”. As soon as they found out that Joey had chosen to support Cork, they were his new best friends! They were very kind and even walked us to our hotel once we arrived.
Drunk or sober, I have to say we never met a single rude person in Ireland and had some great conversations with many of them.
We arrived in Waterford late and pretty much headed right to bed, after doing some bathtub laundry.