Cappuccino/a drinkers will know all about this. They are inherently inquisitive, risk-takers, creative and explorative sorts. They tend to investigate all around them, and beyond. Sometimes, they will investigate what’s underneath their feet. The following account is the journey through time that is the Deadly Darlin’ Walking Tour, as provided by Mr. Phil Doyle from Long Stone Walking Tours. Walking around the south side of the River Liffey with our esteemed tour-guide was akin lifting the top-soil on the heritage and ancestral fabric of the Fair City itself.
The tour began outside the front doors of Jury’s Inn on Christ-church. Anecdotally, this very spot was once referred to as Skinners Row, by the locals. You will have to join the tour one day, to find out why! Moving just a step down from the arch of Christ-Church at the top of the hill, and where the traffic was a little muffled we were encouraged, whilst looking down the hill, towards the river to imagine the scene: to remove all the trappings of present-day Dublin and picture the Liffey as essentially a flood-plain. This was the lowest part of the river, just before the mouth to the Irish Sea, and it also provided the optimum position to ‘hurdle’ across the river. It was the perfect location for trading and so it became the Origin of the City.
The first part of the tour encapsulates the period of time; 1,500 years ago when the natives were divided into squabbling, sometimes warring clans; led by kinsmen all vying for the position of High King. Then came the first arrival of the Vikings, their departure, their return and eventually as a result from political and social upheaval in adjacent lands, the ‘Beckoning of the Normans’.
Mr. Doyle guided us through this historical account in a clear and endearing manner, keeping everyone interested by punctuating the story with anecdotes (Path to Hell) and observations from the locality (the flying buttresses, Wood Quay Excavations).
At this juncture, some advice must be given. It’s important to start the walking tour with ‘fuel in the belly’. There is a lot of information to be absorbed and in order to maintain full focus, the pangs of hunger must be abated. If you’re lucky, Phil the Tour-guide may provide some chocolate… but only if you’re on your best behaviour!
Onto Castle Street, Hoey Place, Werburg Street and Ship Street we find a hot-bed of revolutionary activity through the generations, the birthplace of a globally renowned satirist and the most famous chip-shop in Dublin. The chips can wait! The tour continues to educate participants with information, that Dublin natives should, but most won’t know. For instance, have a look at the images below. What do they signify? Answers on a postcard please.
Walking through the grounds of Dublin Castle (the bastion of the ‘ruling classes’), from the Ship Street entrance, passing the remaining City Walls we visit the Chester Beatty Library and then the Veronica Guerin memorial. Two patrons of the City who gave so much. You come to realise that Dublin, being such a city, steeped in history, it’s little wonder they named it twice. Again, you will have to join the Long Stone Walking Tour in order to find out these names, and why the city came to be known by them.
We walk then through Golden Lane and onto the Literary Trail within the grounds of St. Patrick Cathedral. Whilst on the Literary Trail, we come to understand some of motives of the literary geniuses born to this city. Esteemed writers such as Joyce, Shaw, Synge, Swift, Wilde, Yeats, Dillon, Mangan, O’ Casey, Beckett and Clarke are honoured here, though not all of them are ‘Dubs’. However, they all stirred emotion among the masses and they still do to this day.
The tour ends upon leaving the gates of St. Patricks, at the New Street junction. It’s an informative feast. The knowledge received deserves thorough assimilation. There is no better place to digest and discuss the information, than at Two Pups Coffee, Francis Street.
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