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What we really did today (by David)

by on July 12, 2015

Alex is very committed to blogging every night, and the rest of us are usually quite happy to let him do it… so we can be lazy and read (or watch) whatever it is we’re reading (or watching) on our iDevices.  But last night Alex must have been pretty tired, so he didn’t do justice to the day.

Our bus tour took us to the most important prehistoric sites near Dublin.  First was Newgrange, which is essentially the Great Pyramid of Ireland.  It is a combination burial mound/ceremonial site/temple-to-the-sun that was built about 500 years before Stonehenge and the pyramids.  Most amazing is that the tour took us all the way into the mound, to the very center of the temple, and we stood in a 30-foot-high chamber that was hand-built 5000 years ago by stacking flat rocks on top of each other and is still completely intact, and watched a simulation of the sun’s rays that only make it all the way down the passageway on every Winter Solstice.   We couldn’t take pictures inside, darn.



Then we went to Tara, the most sacred place to the ancient Celtic tribes.  The stone on top of the highest hill, surrounded by large man-made stylistic berms, was the coronation site for 143 generations of Celtic kings.  If you touched the stone you became the king…. but it didn’t seem to work for us.

It was a nice little trip.  We’ve gotten a bit wary of the bus trips out of town, because a day on twisty roads in a big bus is good for making us all feel a little queasy. But this trip was shorter than the others, and mostly on freeways, so it was all good.

We capped the day with Riverdance. Yes, Alex: calling it “another Irish dancing show” is accurate, but it is the Irish dancing show that started the whole movement (and also is the show that turned Cousin Hannah on to Irish dancing 14 years ago). They’re doing a fresh revival in Dublin for the 20th anniversary with some of the best dancers in the world, and it was very exciting.  Rachel-the-dancer especially appreciated the quality of the dancing.


The day before, Alex also somewhat understated our visit to Kilmainham Gaol (Jail). Sure, it was just a big, old, rundown, rocky, depressing, and cold prison from the 1800s.  But it played quite an important role in Ireland’s independence from Britain in 1916, and visiting it was a good way to learn about that history.  (Did any of that history sink in to the kids?  Dunno).  One positive…  unlike Alcatraz, you didn’t have to take a boat to get there!


Today (Sunday) is the last day of Act One of the trip… Rachel flies home tomorrow, and we fly to Berlin and begin to tour Central Europe. We’re not quite at the halfway mark of the trip…. that will be on Wednesday.  Yes, we’re a little tired, and we’re allowing ourselves a little more downtime and a little less touring time on some days.  Our friend Virginia (“Aunt Ginny”) from California had some free time so she’s coming to join us for the visit to Berlin and Warsaw, and once her jet lag wears off she’ll surely bring us a fresh burst of energy.

Today, I think I’ll skip the touring and watch the Wimbledon final!   Yeay, Serena, and go go go Roger!


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One Comment
  1. Donna permalink

    Greetings from Venice – we arrived today and have voted it our new favorite city (bumping Paris to #2). Is that Tara you visited the inspiration for the ‘Gone with the Wind’ Tara? Enjoy Central Europe – eat a schnitzel for us.
    Tell Ale ‘Nein Bonjourno’ from Aunt Donna.

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