Ireland Day 3 – The Golden Mile & Dublin

Today we were headed to Dublin – switching English pounds for Euros. However, I got up early to go for one more walking tour of Belfast. Truth be told, I prefer a walking tour to the coach tour. Sure, we covered more ground, but things go by quickly. I don’t have time to savour the neighbourhood I’m exploring.

The Golden Mile in Belfast is a walking tour you can do on your own. Pickup a guide map at the Visitor Centre at City Hall. I didn’t have time to explore the whole tour. If you get a chance, I highly recommend it. It comprises Dublin Road, Bradbury Place, Great Victoria Street and University Road. It includes pubs like the Crown Liquor Saloon and the Grand Opera House.

I started at the Scottish Mutual Building. The dark red sandstone building was built in 1904. It was being renovated as a hotel but worked stopped in 2020. I really like the turrets. The outside signage tells about The Golden Mile and provides a base map.

Walking along Donegal St. brings me to the back of the Belfast City Hall.

The city has provided information signs to point out interesting facts about the Mile. Another reason why I prefer the walking tour. For example, this sign pointed out the heads of famous people popping out of the wall. They include the Scottish inventor James Watt and William Shakespeare (who needs a dusting). I doubt I would have seen them but for the information sign.

The building, the 4 star 10 Square Hotel, was originally a linen factory – a reminder that the Linen Quarter is part of the Golden Mile tour. It is the central area that was once Belfast’s global linen industry.

And Belfast is serious about keeping the streets clean. There is an 80 pound fine for not picking up after your dog.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen door to door milk delivery.

This Georgian style church has been in continuous use since 1829. The Ionic columns present an impressive street view.

As I head to the River Lagan, I reach the famous St. George’s Market. There has been a market on this site since 1604. Built between 1890 and 1896, there was a multi-million pound refurbishment in 1997.

It is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday so I could not go in. The fish sections has 23 stalls to choose from.

And they are dog friendly.

Reached the River Lagan and Waterfront Hall. Built in 1997, it is located at Lanyon Place – a tribute to the architect Charles Lanyon. It is a conference and entertainment centre. The dome is coated with copper so eventually it will turn green. This will match the dome of the Belfast City Hall. There is a riverfront trail behind the hall.

Heading back in the direction I had come, I pass by a couple of court buildings.

Standing at the gates of the Belfast City Hall, I see the Belfast motto, along with a couple of wee dragons. “Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus” – In return for so much, what shall we give back?

I said my goodbyes to Belfast and we headed down the highway to Dublin. Our step on guide for the city coach tour was somewhat lacking in comparing her to our previous guides. She had a low, soft spoken voice. That, along with her accent, made it difficult to understand her. When she was pointing out something of interest, she was vague about its location so by the time I spotted it, we were driving past and too late to get a photo.

Like Glasgow and Belfast, Dublin is a city with a river running through it – the River Liffey. And, with a river, come bridges. Here is the Samuel Beckett Bridge. Dublin, of course, has quite a few famous writers associated with it. Playwright Samuel Beckett got a beautiful bridge in recognition of his work. He won the Nobel Prize in 1969.

Resembling an Irish harp, it is a rotating bridge, allowing boat traffic to pass. The pylon soars 48 metres above the river.

The Famine Memorial entitled “Famine” is a remembrance of the Irish famine – 1840 – 1845. As our guide pointed out, the population of Ireland before the famine was 8 million. Today it is only 5 million which tells you the loss of life from that disaster. The memorial was created by Roland Gillespie and installed in 1997.

Near the memorial is the Custom House. Built in the 18th Century, it has the Department of Housing and Local Government.

The Daniel O’Connell monument. He was instrumental in the Catholic emancipation in Ireland in early 19th century. This led to the lifting of restrictions on Catholics imposed by the British.

Evidence of bullet holes in the breast area from the unrest between 1916-1922. It is locally known as “The Angels” as a meeting spot. I had to be quick to get a photo of the angel.

We entered the area of Trinity College. Lots of tourist activity. My plan, once we got off the bus, was to see both the Trinity College Library and also tour the Guinness Brewery.

The famous statue of Oscar Wilde. Unveiled in 1997 by Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland. It was made by sculpture Danny Osbourne. The material is from 3 continents: the torso is jade from British Columbia, pink thulite from Norway. The legs are Norwegian Blue Perl granite. The shoes are black Indian charnokite with bronze lace tips.

We passed the Croppies’ Acre Memorial Park. It is a memorial to those who died in the 1798 rebellion. The rebellion was the result of the ideas stemming from the French and American revolution. The rebels were known as Croppies due to their short cropped hair.

Our last siting before our leisure time was the statue commissioned for the Dublin’s Millennium year in 1988. It was inspired by Irish writer James Joyce’s character – Anne Livia in “Finnegan’s Wake”. Originally located as part of a fountain, she was the target of vandalism. Laundry detergent would be poured into the fountain creating suds all around her. This gave her the nickname “The Floozie in the Jacuzzi” However, she was removed in 2001 and put away in a crate.

10 years later she was brought back out and placed at the Croppies’ Acre Memorial Park. In Finnegan’s Wake she is personified as the River Liffey, flowing through Dublin. In 2010, she was floated down the River Liffey for all to see to reach her new home.

In the next post, I’ll tell you about the Guinness tour.

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