Ireland Tour 2014
Dublin & Belfast
June 21st - 30th, 2014


June 23rd
Our guide Kate met us this morning to take us on a short tour of the city. It’s mostly an 18th century city of 1 million. Full of Georgian squares and townhouses. Space and symmetry are the hallmarks of the Georgian Mile, where everything matches and is the same height. It was very fashionable to live in this area and a family of four could have 20 servants! Christchurch with its flying buttresses was a beauty to see, part of medieval Dublin along with the Castle. The 18th century walled garden that we visited is run now by volunteers and students. All the food goes to the restaurant. St. Patricks Cathedral built in 1189 is beautiful and across the road is a red brick building where the little boys practice choir. Guinness of course is huge here and each worker still gets to this day 2 pints per worker per day. Beautiful Phoenix Park is 1170 acres and called the lungs of Dublin (that is also where the Victorian Walled Garden is). There are said to be about 400 deer in the park and the zoo here is the 4th oldest in the world and did you know that the MGM lion was from here?

Then it was on to the National Botanic Gardens Dublin for our guided tour…so many beautiful glasshouses filled with all manner of plant material. There is a lovely potager walled garden filled with yummy veggies too. The Palm House, designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, had the two wings added in 1840 by Richard Turner then he went on to build the Great Glass House at Kew. There are vast numbers of beds with colourful plants in them, a charming rose garden, alpine garden, rock garden, arboretum, tropical ravine. It is a beautiful place to just sit, as I did, on a large stone. Looking down the hill to the fields of tiny flowers coming up through the grass was just so peaceful.

We had a break for lunch in the city center so I used the time to walk around and discover…

Finally a visit to the Garden of Helen Dillon, except that she was off filming something with Diarmud Gavin for BBC so we ended up being entertained by her husband Val. This garden just explodes in colour…what a pleasure to visit. I have seen it at least 3 or 4 times now and I have to admit, it was just looking so perfect for our visit.

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