Our last partial day in Ireland. Our flight out is for just before 4pm from the Dublin Airport, but that means the morning is free. So after breakfast at the hotel, we set out for just a little more sightseeing. Our first stop was Christ Church Cathedral, the other major cathedral in Dublin. It is near Temple Bar, and we had passed it earlier on our way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Now we purchased tickets to go inside. It has gone through several restorations over the years, and when we were there they had an excavation going in the courtyard. This church has the tomb of Strongbow, an Anglo-Norman knight who began the centuries of English incursions into Ireland. But the hidden treasures were down in the Crypt. It had the oldest known secular carvings in Ireland, a pair of statues that had stood outside City Hall at one time. It also had the Cat and the Rat, two mummified animals that were found inside an organ pipe in the 1850s. Finally, there were costumes from the BBC series The Tudors, which was filmed in Ireland.
From there we moved to the Dublinia museum, which is attached to the Cathedral via a bridge that crosses over the street outside. Dublinia tells the story of Dublin over the years from its beginnings as a Viking settlement, through the wars between the Vikings and the Irish, then the coming of the English. But a lot of the focus is on the lives of the ordinary people: how they worked, what they ate, what kinds of clothes they wore, and so on. It was quite nice, and we had bought tickets to cover both Dublinia and the Cathedral as a package. We spent about 3 hours there, then walked back to the hotel through the Temple Bar area. Just enough time left for lunch, then it was off to the Dublin Airport. One neat thing we discovered is that because there is so much traffic between the countries, we could actually clear US Customs in the Dublin Airport, which made it easier for us when we hit New York.
The flight was uneventful, the best kind, and we landed just before 7pm. Cheryl and I had a reservation at the Comfort Inn at JFK Airport, so we dropped our bags at the hotel and got dinner, than back to go to sleep since our bodies thought it was the wee hours of the morning.
Up in the morning, and caught our flight back to Detroit. Getting the hotel room at the airport was the right choice. We were still tired and jet-lagged when we got up, but the idea of trying to connect to another flight after arriving at JFK, and maybe landing in Detroit at 10 or 11pm, and then driving to our home, was just crazy. It was a fantastic trip, and we would recommend Great Value Vacations to anyone who wants an inexpensive trip. It was not the kind of trip where a tour guide shepherds you from stop to stop, so if you want that kind of trip look elsewhere. We did book a tour guide twice, and with Derek Smith in Dublin we definitely hit the jackpot. But otherwise we could go as we pleased and choose the places we wanted to go. And the price couldn’t be beat. This definitely re-awakened the travel bug for us, and there will be more trips in our future.