Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

Bus tour, Dublin, 3.10.10

Posted by Lisa Hill on October 4, 2010

Whenever we visit a city entirely new to us, we like to take one of the Hop-on-hop-off bus tours that whiz around the city showing the most popular tourist attractions.  It doesn’t take very long and it helps Tim (our navigator) to orientate himself to the city and then we can find our own way around (mostly) without getting lost.

So we started our day in Dublin with The Bus Tour.  Photos, of course, were taken from the bus, but sometimes one can get a better shot from the top of the bus than down at ground level, and this was certainly the case with Christ Church…

It was not quite the case with the Wellington monument, seen here listing somewhat like the Leaning Tower of Pisa – but that was because the bus took off again just as I pressed the shutter!  It’s interesting that there are still so many ‘British’ aspects to Dublin because I had assumed that many of their artefacts might have been razed with independence, but not so.  This monument (which dwarfs the Phoenix monument see at left) commemorates Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon, and it is still there in Dublin’s splendid Phoenix Park – a huge park – the biggest of its kind in Europe.  It was originally the king’s private hunting grounds but was ‘given to the people’ some time in the 19th century (I think).  It’s bisected by a long, long avenue with open park and woodland on one side (which the guide assured us still had deer in it) and the zoo and the president’s palace on the other.

As you’d expect, the guide was more enthusiastic about the Guinness Storehouse – which, he told us was the most popular attraction in Dublin – than he was about Dublin’s literary history, but he did point out the James Joyce Bridge (which didn’t seem especially Joycean to me), and he noted Trinity College’s literary alumni, about whom more in a later post.

I got the biggest thrill out of our drive down O’Connell Street, where I saw the monument to ‘the liberator’ that I had identified in Chapter 6 of Ulysses. Here it is, ‘the hugecloaked Liberator’s form’  where Leopold Bloom sauntered along his way!

The Martello Tower is closed at this time of the year (sigh) but the Writers’ Museum is open and so there is plenty more to see tomorrow…

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