Okay, the day dawned and it was overcast but no rain. The wind is a bit nippy, but it is much better than some previous days. I did not find my ear-ring. Ray has lost his watch, one of the ladies left a new pair of shoes in her hotel room, but another lady has recovered her lost bracelet.
The ferry was running 45 minutes late by the time it left the wharf. The crossing was uneventful. We all made it safely to the lounge area and either went to sleep in our chairs (Russ), played cards or filled in the diary or post cards. By the time we docked in Dublin we were well behind schedule as Dinner before the Cabaret was due to begin at 7:30pm. Ian had advised us to dress up as much as possible because it is an International show and people make it a good night out – especially as it was Saturday.
The meal was very good – standard fare of either salmon or beef after the soup course, and cheesecake for desert. This is followed by Irish Coffee whilst the show is being performed.
The Cabaret was absolutely top notch. The Fury’s played Irish songs whilst we ate. These guys have performed all over the world, and are now getting older. The actual Cabaret is made up of singers (really good voices), dancers – in the style of Riverdance, and awesome in their enthusiasm and skill – a violinist and a comedian (Joe Cuddy).
The show started with an Introduction – a very good place to start – and moved along at a cracking pace from there. The routine mixed song with dance with jokes and all were very entertaining. Joe Cuddy would have had people rolling in the aisles except that there was not enough room in the aisles. Instead the audience spent the time wiping tears from their eyes, and holding their aching sides.
It all came to a close at 10:30pm and we had been entertained for a majority of that time. The cast of the show made themselves available to talk with the audience and to have photos taken if the audience desired to that they do so.
The audience was made up of several coach loads from Globus, Brendan, Insight and Cosmos. The tables sat 50 – 60 people and there were ten tables across the room. Not a bad size crowd for a cabaret. Also take into account that this cabaret performs 7 nights a week.
After breakfast (a late one, thank heavens!) we made our way to the coach for our tour of the sights of Dublin. Ireland has joined the European Market and as such, it is the fastest growing economy in the EU at 9% per annum. Old Georgian houses that you couldn’t sell for love nor money before the joining now retail at 2 and 3 million euros.
As one of the poorest nations in the EU the richer nations like Britain and Germany fund most of these improvements. Ian commented that there had been parts of Dublin that you would not have ventured to in a coach just 12 months ago. All these places are in the process of refurbishment now.
Dublin is the home of Trinity College, and many of the successful authors and playwrights from past years – people like James Joyce and George Bernard Shaw, to name but two.
It is also the home of the Book of Kells. Over 1000 years ago, when the book of Kells was written, Ireland had a population of less than a half a million people living in fortified homesteads along its coasts and inland waterways.
The Book of Kells contains a lavishly decorated copy, in Latin, of the four gospels. It has long since been associated with St Colum Cille (c 521 -597 AD) who founded his principal monastery on the island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland in about 561. The Book of Kells was probably produced early in the 9th century by the monks of Iona, working wholly or partially at Iona itself or at Kells, county Meath, where they moved after Iona was attacked by the Vikings in 806 AD in a raid which left 68 monks dead.
The Book of Kells had the bejewelled, gold front and back covers stolen by the Vikings thinking it was the treasure being protected, and the actual book was thrown away into a muddy field where it was later retrieved.
It was sent to Dublin around 1653 for reasons of security during the Cromwellian period and came to Trinity College through the agency of Henry Jones, after he became bishop of Meath in 1661.
The book is made up of pages of vellum, painstakingly stretched over a frame until is has been prepared and dried, and then one page (both sides) has been illuminated and the next page (both sides) is written upon. The inks used were made from a variety of substances with many differing properties so some are in better condition than others.
The book was separated into its four different gospels for safety as it is totally irreplaceable, even in this day and age. Two of the books are displayed in a very tightly controlled environment within the Library at Trinity whilst the other books are available to travel to exhibitions around the world. (The cost of insurance must be prohibitive.)
After that Russ and I got lost – his error for a change – but finally found ourselves at Insomnia (because of the coffee served) which coincidentally was a BT Openzone. We downloaded our messages and then updated the diary to late yesterday afternoon, grabbed some lunch whilst we were doing this, checked the scores (Go Pies!!) and then wandered back to the hotel and collapsed.
We found dinner at an Italian restaurant just up the road from the Hotel. Russ enjoyed his seafood linguine, and I enjoyed my chicken and spinach cannelloni.
Whilst on the coach tour Ian mentioned the windows in the old building which were covered in by stone. The government of the time decided that if you were wealthy enough to have more than 5 windows, then you had enough money to pay a tax for each of those extra windows. The people bricked their windows in so they would not be subject to a tax, hence the term ‘daylight robbery’. It is no wonder that conditions were rife for such diseases as tuberculosis.
Tomorrow we journey to Killarney. It is definitely time to repack my suitcase – two days in the one place tends to do this to you – and then prepare for bed. Russ, Mum and I are still fighting scratchy throats and dry coughs. It is leaving us just a bit more tired than usual.