On Kongo’s final full day in Ireland, the little monkey troop headed out for some more culture and sightseeing. First stop was St. Patrick’s Cathedral, just a brief walk from the hotel.
This amazing structure dates its beginnings to 1220. It is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, an Anglican Communion. While it sees hundreds of visitors every day, daily worship services are also held there.
Jonathan Swift – yes, THAT Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels – is buried beneath the floor. He was the most famous dean of the cathedral and was known for his sermons that sometimes ran as long as four hours.
Incredibly, the gift shop in the cathedral is wedged in between several former luminaries who are buried in the walls of the church. There’s actually over 600 people buried in the church or its adjacent grounds. Now, this was quite the inspiration for Mrs. Kongo. Imagine being buried in a gift shop!
From St. Patrick’s we headed for Dublinia, a converted castle adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral made over to be an interactive “Vikings in Dublin” museum. Not sure how to put this, but Dublinia may be the worst exhibit the monkey has seen in some years. It wasn’t just touristy. It was beyond touristy. We need a whole new word to describe it. There is a Viking army of mannequins scattered throughout the several stories of this museum depicting various aspects of Viking life such as carrying off children as slaves, weaving, sailing, fighting, and even how Vikings tended to their most basic bodily functions and what they used for toilet paper (moss). Incredibly, this scatological exhibit was accompanied by realistic sound effects. So, the monkey is probably jaded about these things. There were lots of children in the museum (primary and middle school age) who were lapping all this up. And museums, after all, should be places where visitors can interact on a variety of levels.
Needless to say, the monkeys didn’t linger at Dublinia. As we were exiting, we were confronted by the museum manager who was concerned that we might not have seen everything. She kept trying to get us to come back in and offered to call down the lift for us so we could explore the upper story chambers (the oldest part of the castle) in peace and quiet. We assured her we were “fine” but thanks so much for offering. Really, we’re fine. We must go now. She would have been a good Viking lass.
Then we were off for one of Mrs. Kongo’s death marches across Dublin to visit a shop recommended by daughter-in-law #2. It was supposed to have really nice Irish goods. In fact, it did have some nice stuff, but Mrs. Kongo didn’t find just the right thing that struck her fancy, so the death march was in vain. That is until she found another nearby store that sold sweaters she liked and was able to satisfy her shopping cravings. Kongo stood on the street and chatted with another husband (from Victoria, Canada) who also had a missing spouse shopping for good Irish stuff.
Along the way we passed Ha’Penny bridge, a pedestrian bridge over the River Liffey, from 1816 that used to charge half a penny to go from one side of the river to the other. The official name of the Ha’Penny bridge is the Wellington Bridge named after the famous Duke of Wellington who was born in Ireland, defeated Napoleon at Waterloo and bestowed “Wellington or Wellie” boots to the fashion world. He was also a prime minister.
We also met Molly Malone, subject of the unofficial Irish anthem, where she pauses “in Dublin’s fair city, the girls are so pretty,” to sell cockles and mussels from her cart. Molly is also reputed to have sold a lot more from her cart and tourists can’t help themselves from polishing her inviting bosom. (Just for the record, Kongo didn’t polish anything on Molly Malone.)
On Friday, the monkeys set sail for the next leg of their adventure.
Travel safe. Have fun.