Settling In Near Dublin IrelandAfter a week of life on the road touring around Ireland as purely tourists, we have settled into our next temporary home for our latest house sit. Located just a short commute from Dublin Ireland sits the sleepy little fishing village of Howth (hoe-th, not how). Our views from just about every window in the house is that of the tranquil Irish Sea. We can sit and watch ships, ferry boats an fisherman passing by in the distance. Add to that the shamrock green garden and pasture that lies before us which comes alive with plants, flowers and grazing horses. A pure paradise to the eyes that truly fills the senses with an overload of beauty.
Back of the house
Ship from the back yard
Ship from the Back Yard
Our job during this sit is to take care of two laid-back dogs and one cat while the owners are away on holiday. We literally have a wing of the house to ourselves in our own, "granny flat." Along with a bedroom and bath it comes complete with our own kitchen, living room, home gym, laundry and dining room.
Isla loves her ball!
Laid Back Kobe
Yesterday we parked our car near the train station and took the DART train (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) into the city center. First we explored Dublin Castle which served as the seat of the United Kingdom government in Ireland until 1922. The original castle was destroyed in a fire and later rebuilt as a palace that now serves as a major government complex. Our tour included a glimpse into the Medieval section, the Chapel Royal and State apartments.
Tower next to Dublin Chapel
Entry into the Palace
Dublin Castle once had a clerk working there by the name of Bram Stalker. A writer in his spare time and best known for his 1897 gothic novel, Dracula. During his lifetime he also worked as personal assistant to actor Henry Irving who gave him inspiration for the Dracula character. The city of Dublin today has several tourist attractions based on Dracula as an entertainment venue. Next we headed over to another must-see in Dublin, St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Saint Patrick's Cathedral
Legend has it that somewhere near where the cathedral sits now is where St. Patrick himself first baptized early settlers to the area into Christianity. Although the records are a bit fuzzy, it is believed that St. Patrick passed through Dublin in the 5th-century converting many that he met along the way. Today St. Patrick's Cathedral is an Anglican church, Church of Ireland denomination with a small congregation of just 125 people.
An interesting fact about the shamrock or clover, the official symbol of Ireland, is it is used to represent the Trinity in churches.
One of the former preachers of St. Patrick's Cathedral is Jonathan Swift who also served as dean of the cathedral. Known to the rest of the world for his writings such as: Gulliver's Travels, A Tale Of A Tub, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, and A Modest Proposal just to name a few. Our guide explained how Swift would preach for three to four hours at times using it as his platform to vent about various issues. He even had wheels added to the pulpit so he could be wheeled around the church keeping people awake and listening to what he had to say. While some considered him to be a madman he left a notable mark on Ireland and the world. He is buried in the cathedral next to his wife who died first.
Jonathan Swift's Grave
One of Jonathan Swift's Books
Music is a big part of St. Patrick's Cathedral and even has its own Choir School. Our guide explained a bit about the school to us. A select group of just 25 students from third through sixth grade, spend much of their day singing choir songs preparing for two performances per day. Along with a strong focus on music the children are taught a regular school curriculum by a staff of only two teachers in a mixed age classroom. One teacher has 3rd an 4th graders while the other has 5th and 6th. While hundreds of students each year apply for entrance to the prestigious school, just ONE out of every HUNDRED makes the cut and is accepted into the school. The choir performs TWO services per day at the cathedral along with performances at other venues around Ireland and throughout the world. A note about schooling in Ireland is that Irish is the FIRST language taught to all children here. It begins at home and extends into their first years of school. We were told by some locals me met along the way that English is NOT taught until children are about 5 or 6 years of age. Some areas of Ireland still use the language among themselves although all speak English as well. Signs everywhere are in Irish FIRST and then English is written beneath.
Ha' Penny Bridge Built in 1816
Our fascinating travels are giving us much knowledge of other cultures and what life is like there. Today we are taking it easy to catch up on much needed chores like laundry and grocery shopping besides taking long walks with the dogs. Tomorrow surely we will be out exploring this beautiful country once again as we take in all that Ireland has to offer.....along the gringo trail.
Terry and Clyde are able to "Travel The World House Sitting" and so can you! We have created a website to help people who want to learn about house sitting. Information for both the prospective house sitter and for someone who needs a house sitter. The New Website --> CLICK HERE
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