Walked down O’Connell Street to find the Hop-on-hop-off bus. There actually are 2 companies offering this service in Dublin. We went with the one with the green buses. Lots of people are confused by the ubiquitous presence of both red and green double decker sight-seeing tour buses. Tourists frequently ask whether they can get on both red and green buses or if they have to stick to one color. Our driver made it clear when he humorously responded, “Green is the color of Ireland and of healthy environments; red stands for danger. Stick to the green buses.”
The bus stop was right by the General Post Office which contains the An Post Museum. So we wandered in to see it. As well as information on how stamps are designed and made and a display of old postage stamps,the museum showcases the role of the post office in history. This particular post office was at the center of the Easter Uprising of April 24, 1916 which eventually led to the founding of The Republic of Ireland.
The bus takes you to too many sites to see in one day, so we chose to see Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the Christchurch Cathedral, and the Guiness Experience. Firststop was St Patricks Cathedral. St Patrick’s is the largest cathedral in Ireland and was built on the site of a sacred well where St Patrick baptized converts back in 890 AD. The current building was erected in 1220 to 1260 AD. Oliver Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels) is interred here.
The Christchurch Cathedral claims to be Dublin’s oldest building, is in the oldest part of the city, and dates back to when Dublin was a Viking city. The Stone cathedral was built in the 12th and 13th century on the site of an earlier wooden church built in 1038. After taking a look at the Cathedral and it’s grounds, we wandered about the neighborhood. A friendly native recognized us as the disoriented, hungry tourists that we were and recommended a nearby tea shop for lunch. We followed her instructions and found ourselves in the most cozy restaurant that you could ever hope to see. It had 2 stories, but each was barely bigger than the bathroom in my condo. You place your order at the counter downstairs, then traipse upstairs where, if you are lucky, you take a seat at one of four tiny tables (barely big enough to hold two sandwich plates) or one of the four bar stools facing the window. However, the sandwiches were quite good and afterwards we felt sufficiently fortified to continue sightseeing.
There were some cruise ships in town, and the Guiness Storehouse is immensely popular so it was quite crowded. The self-guided tour teaches about the beer-making process and the history of Guiness distribution and advertising. At the end of the tour you can go to one of the on-site bars for a pint (included in the price of admission).The rooftop Gravity Bar was packed with tourists, but offered a panoramic, birds eye view of the city.
After that, we just had time for a quick look at the National Gallery before closing time.