I honestly do not know where we ate dinner the night after we left Newgrange, but it was immensely delish. I also do not know what B&B we stayed in, despite the fact that I stole a jug of orange juice from them. In my defense, they put out like a dozen jugs, and nobody was drinking any of it, so I doubt they noticed, and the only other breakfast food was cereal, and this was before I discovered that Irish cows are magical and I can actually drink small portions of their milk.
Overall, the B&B was great, despite sharing a bathroom with eight other girls. The rooms were large enough that no one was cramped, and I suppose I could say my first adult group sleepover was a success. Also, I became highly popular due to the fact that I had brought along a charger that could connect up to four USB cables at once. We soon discovered that if we plugged in more than three it would cycle through charging each device instead of charging them all simultaneously, but between that and some brave soul getting up and switching out devices halfway through the night, everyone was able to fully charge their phone.
The next morning, however, we discovered that we might have been some of the only people to sleep well. While all of us had gone down to a bar for some trad music the Back Bus Peoples had chosen to stay on after the rest of us had gone home to sleep. Ah, the joys of being 18 and in Europe.
The downside of being 18 and in Europe: they had no idea how to drink and be socially presentable the next morning.
It was hilarious.
Not to dwell on their (well deserved) pain, let us move on, to Dublin, which was the next stop in our run around the country. Oh Dublin. What can one say? We started out at the Viking Village, which is now basically paved over (an early indiscretion of Irish government, I think, as the government is usually one of the more active in properly preserving history). The Vikings are an interesting lot, and while modern Dublin looks nothing like a Viking Village, it does owe its start to these seafarers. In an effort to not wax poetic about their impact on Irish society, I will settle for this one little tidbit: The Vikings in Dublin would build a house, then, when it got old and started falling apart, would basically make it collapse in on itself, and then build their new house directly on top of it. So, if you’re ever wondering if stratification has anything real application to archaeology, remember the Vikings (stratigraphy is also great for figuring out how old stuff is in general, since you can make a good estimate for artefacts based on what else is found in the strata above and below it).
After talking about Dublin’s history and yelling at a boatload of Vikings as they rode by, we then set off to walk to Christchurch. About this time I began to realize that I might have a small problem. Remember those new shoes I bought? Yeah…well…if you’ve ever worn brand new shoes for an extended period of time, you probably have an idea of what was happening. Still, I decided to suck it up, because it was still very early in the morning, and Christchurch was beautiful. As an upside, if you ever go there, they often sell tea and biscuits on the lawn outside, which, if I had not still been full from my ill-gotten orange juice, I would have gladly sat down. My feet probably would have thanked me.
The interior of Christchurch is stunning. The floors are tiled with beautiful designs (mind you, these are old tiles, so they were done by hand) and the stained glass windows all tell stories, whether biblical or referencing the lives of the saints. The church also functions as a bit of a museum, with a large variety of old books, tombs, and permanent coffins throughout. There is also a basement that is supposed to hold interesting things, but we were shooed out and on to our next destination.
The rushing from place to place thing is why I generally despise group tours.
Our final destination was a place I later came to know and love through repeated visits, but was not quite able to enjoy this time around due to my beleaguered feet: the National Museum of Ireland. The Museum is located next to Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) and is actually one of four locations: this arm of the museum focuses specifically on archaeological points of interest. In this lightening visit, we basically stopped at the Viking section, then left for lunch. Boring, right? I didn’t even get to go in and see the Bog Bodies exhibit. I should sue.