Photo of Oriana sailing into Dublin courtesy of Liffey River cruises.
We were up for breakfast in the Conservatory Restaurant fairly early as we had booked ourselves on a river and coach tour of Dublin due to leave at 08:30am.
We docked in the port of Dublin just after 08:00am. The weather was bright and sunny and relatively warm. A good day for touring Dublin.
We left the ship via the gangplank on deck 4 which was only slightly sloped so was easily accessible by disabled passengers. Your on-board pass was checked as you departed for security and emergency procedure precautions. Passports were not required only your ships pass card.
We boarded the coach that would take us to our first part of the tour that of a river tour up the Liffey through the centre of Dublin.
Our river cruise was provided by 'Liffey River Cruises'. The boats tour guide was very informative and his information seemed accurate and it was laced with plenty of humour. The Liffey is the name of the river that flows through the centre of Dublin. The name Dublin is derived from 'Dubh Linn' in Irish which translated means Black pool. So as our river guide said we were not in Dublin but rather Blackpool. The river cruise was very low to the water a big difference from the height of the Oriana. We were soon to realise this was necessary due to the number of bridges we would be passing under on our trip up the Liffey.
There are 24 bridges across the river in Dublin one of them is the spectacular Samuel Beckett Bridge or as the Dubliners call it the harp bridge. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and it was built in Rotterdam by Hollandia (who also did the steel work for the London Eye) and shipped whole by barge across to Dublin.
The picture above shows a recurrent theme around Dublin that of harp. This one is on the side of the Loopline railway bridge (Liffey Viaduct). The harp is the emblem of Ireland and is portrayed in many forms around the capital.
The next leg of our tour was by coach. Our tour guide was a lady called Sheila who obviously knew her subject matter and was able to give plenty of detail to the route as we went around Dublin.
We were taken past Trinity College the oldest university in Ireland. It was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592. Examples of distinguished alumni of the University are Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Oliver Goldsmith and Samuel Beckett.
Dublin's St Patrick's Cathedral (shown above) was built on the site of the original church of 1181. It was built on the site of the holy well used by St Patrick to baptise converts in the 5th Century. The cathedral pictured above was dedicated in 1254.
We proceeded from central Dublin into Phoenix Park one of the largest enclosed parks in Europe. It is bigger than all of London's city parks combined and more than twice that of New York's Central Park.
It is also home to Ireland's Presidential residence Aras an Uachtarain pictured above.
The cross pictured above was erected for the visit of Pope John Paul II to Phoenix park in 1978 when he conducted an open air mass attended by over a million people.
The Papal throne used at that time is still on display in the parks visitors centre.
The mornings tour was rounded off by Ashtown castle where we were given time to have a wonder around the visitors centre and a quick drink and cake from the cafe.
The chocolate crispy cakes on offer where some of the largest I've come across and very delicious.
It was then back to the ship for a late lunch in the Conservatory restaurant followed by a well earned time spent relaxing by the pool.
We chose to go to the Conservatory restaurant for our evening meal as they were offering a full Indian buffet. The food was good though nothing out of the ordinary except for a very delicious lassi drink, a blend of yoghurt, milk and Indian spices. Mel liked the lassi drink so much, she kept going back for more.
The early evening was spent up in the Crows Nest watching as the ship departed Dublin followed by a concert by a classical guitarist in the Pacific Lounge.
It was all rounded off my coffee in the Crows Nest listening to Tritones.
Photo of Oriana in Dublin courtesy of Liffey River cruises.
A very memorable and enjoyable day spent in Dublin.