Of course, then we arrived and checked out the available time slots...of which there were very few remaining. Those that were left were later in the day and we didn't want to have to come back, nor did we want to plan the remainder of our day around the time slots, so we opted to just look around outside.
There was plenty to see because there was some sort of art(istic) exhibit going on. Sand sculptures filled the courtyard in front of the castle. And when I say filled. I do mean it:
I mean those are some big feet! And not on the attractive side, either. Nope, the sculptor went for realism here, folks:
Huge toes. Mmm...
At this point, Rocket Man and I had visited a few places. London, Austria, Barcelona, and many places in Southern Spain. We had seen a few palaces, cathedrals, as well as castles or fortresses. This is the only section of any castle we had yet seen that looked like we all believe castles to look:
Everything else we'd seen was without turrets and not of stones, etc. So, basically, they didn't live up to my fairy-tale-esque expectations, which isn't to say that they weren't appropriately amazing, just not what I would have liked to see. Just once. For a photo or 500.
We walked around the exterior of the castle, past the entrance to the chapel where we saw heads sticking out:
They are supposed to be someone, and I read it while we were there and was all "Ooohhh", but now I can't remember, nor can I find the notebook with my ramblings, so you get nothing. Nada. Just a photo of a stone head sticking out.
We walked around the chapel and towards what is the best museum we've been to in all of our travels, the Chester Beatty Library. From the library entrance, we could see the castle's main building, the one castle-looking tower, and the chapel all connected:
Do ya think maybe they were built at different times? Maybe?
Anyway, back to the best part of our trip, more or less, the
This library contains manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and some decorative arts from all over the world, including Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The main focus is a combination of culture and religion, and as those two are to intricately intertwined, it makes perfect sense.
Now, if you don't like reading, old stuff, manuscripts, and seeing where something comes from (and by that I mean old, original-ish versions of texts...not just location), then this place isn't for you. Also, if different cultures and what makes them tick doesn't interest you, then move right along, cause Dublin and Ireland has way more to offer.
If you like these things I've mentioned in the least, then this place is worth a glance at a minimum. Plus, the museum is free, although they take donations to help keep up with the preservation of the manuscripts.
We saw early Egyptian papyrus texts, Greek Biblical texts, illuminated manuscripts, Islamic manuscripts, and Asian texts and art, including some from China and Japan.
Rocket Man and I are Christians, so most interesting to us was the Western Collection, which contained, among other things, the Books of Daniel and Revelation, the Gospels according to Mark and Luke as well as the Letters of Paul.
The library contains beautiful works of art/culture from all over the world, and the website has a great image gallery (of which, if you followed any of the links above, you are well aware). Go on over and take a look at everything Chester Beatty has to offer.
Once we had our fill at the Library, we walked north to the Writer's Museum. This is another great place in Dublin, though I suggest doing the two museums on two different days as it was a lot to ingest in one day. Since I went on and on about the Beatty collections, I'll just leave you with a link to the Dublin Writer's Museum. If you're a fan of literature, you should check out the site.
We went back to our hotel to rest after the Writer's Museum and then ate dinner in the city. We then took a walk around town at night. We went through Temple Bar, which reminded me a bit of Bourbon Street; we were glad we didn't stay down there and that we ate there prior to the craziness beginning. I wanted to take a look at Christchurch at night, so we headed in that direction.
I was able to get a couple of shots of the cathedral, and here is one of them:
Tomorrow I'll post some photos of the stained-glass windows in Saint Patrick's and the bridge connecting Synod House and Christchurch.