Arriving in Dublin

Dublin & Northern Ireland 2017 - Itinerary
Dublin Day 2

Our accommodation

We stayed in an Airbnb in Dublin, on Finglas Rd. very near Glasnevin Cemetery. It was a great location – nice & quiet but an easy bus ride straight to the city centre.

Our room was large and very comfortable – except that it was at the top of a couple of very steep & narrow flights of stairs.

We had no view but there was a big skylight (with no curtain or blind). We hadn’t thought about how late the sunset would be – it was light until after 11pm.This photo was taken at 10pm Noeleen was the perfect host – there if we needed anything and happy for a chat but also respectful of our privacy. She laid out a lovely breakfast every morning and we enjoyed sitting in the dining room chatting to start each day.

We enjoyed being in the ‘burbs. The public transport options were excellent, so we never had trouble getting around, and it was a very pleasant neighbourhood, with attractive houses, pretty gardens and some typical Irish pubs serving good food in a great atmosphere.

There was even a canal nearby, complete with swans and a small lock. Booking on Airbnb is always a bit risky but 25 Finglas Rd was an excellent choice – highly recommended. It was the perfect start to our holiday.

Glasnevin Cemetery

A cemetery may seem an odd place to go on our first day in Dublin, but it was right around the corner from our B&B. We felt like stretching our legs after the long flight, so we headed for Glasnevin and then the adjacent Botanic Gardens. We were planning to go back for one of the tours they run so didn’t particularly look out for famous graves, just enjoyed the walk and the serenity. Glasnevin is Ireland’s largest cemetery, stretching for 124 acres. Over 1½ million people are buried there. 

Glasnevin cemetery contains historically notable monuments and the graves of many of Ireland’s most prominent national figures. These include the graves of Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, Brendan Behan, Christy Brown and Luke Kelly of the Dubliners. The cemetery also offers a view of the changing style of death monuments in Ireland over the last 200 years: from the austere, simple, high stone erections of the period up until the 1860s, to the elaborate Celtic crosses of the nationalistic revival from the 1860s to the 1960s, to the plain Italian marble of the late 20th century. The high wall with watch-towers surrounding the main part of the cemetery was built to deter body-snatchers, who were active in Dublin in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The watchmen also had a pack of blood-hounds who roamed the cemetery at night. Prior to the establishment of Glasnevin Cemetery, Irish Catholics had no cemeteries of their own in which to bury their dead, as the repressive Penal Laws of the eighteenth century placed heavy restrictions on the public performance of Catholic services. Daniel O’Connell, champion of Catholic rights, pushed for the opening of a burial ground in which both Irish Catholics and Protestants could give their dead dignified burial. Glasnevin Cemetery was consecrated and opened to the public for the first time on 21 February 1832.

The National Botanic Gardens

The National Botanic Gardens in Dublin were established in 1790, initially to promote a scientific approach to the study of agriculture. By the 1830s, the agricultural purpose of the Gardens had been overtaken by the pursuit of botanical knowledge. This was facilitated by the arrival of plants from around the world and by closer contact with the great gardens in Britain. We walked from the cemetery through to the Botanic Gardens. We were surprised to find they close at 5, even though it’s light until about 11pm in summer. We only had time for a quick look and the glasshouses were closed. It’s a beautiful garden and well worth a longer visit. Next time! There are some lovely sculptures scattered throughout the gardens.

We could only get a peek inside the greenhouses through the windows.

The Great Palm House dates from 1884, and the so-called “Curvilinear Range” from 1843, designed by the same Dublin-born ironmaster who worked on the Palm Houses at Kew Gardens. The Curvilinear Range is considered the most significant wrought and cast iron building in Ireland, and one of the most important surviving 19th century glasshouses in Europe.

One of several reconstructed Viking houses, built using traditional materials and methods.

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