We began our last full day in Ireland with a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a number of people had recommended it. They were right. It manages to be both a national shrine and a vital community center.
|The cover of St. Patrick's well from which he baptized folk. The well is said to have been near here|
|In many ways the cathedral is a monument to Dean Swift, who saved it from ruin.|
|A modern sculpture of St Patrick. They ask you not to photograph the other two.|
|Sir Richard Guinness, sitting on the grounds, restored the cathedral in the 1860s.|
After that, Sharon decided to go back to the hotel, still suffering from what now had become bronchitis, and I decided to wander the town one last time, making my way, circuitously, from the cathedral through several neighborhoods to the shopping precinct around Grafton Street, which I remember wandering happily through the last time we were here. I spent no money, sigh, but had a nice look-see before heading back to the hotel. And that was it.
|The superintendent's lodge in St Stephen's green. Also the site of battle in the Easter Rising.|
|Throughout the green are statues and memorials to Ireland's patriot-martyrs.|
|Finally, Grafton Street|
Some final impressions: all the love for Ireland that we developed over two previous visits was reconfirmed this time. As we learned more of everyday Irish lives and the tragic history of this joyous nation our respect deepened. When we first visited in 2003Ireland was the “Celtic Tiger.” Education, technology were all transforming the country. Then in 2009 we saw the nation at its low point when it was derisively labeled one of the EU, “PIIGs” Talking with one of our cabdrivers (they are the philosophers of the nation), I opined that this time the nation seemed to be about 70% back to its 2003 form and he said he thought I was about right.
Our second hotel in Dublin was The Clayton at the new South Docklands development and we were opposite this familiar icon.
Their world headquarters are no more than ten miles from our home in the US.