24th April 2017

Back into Dublin city today to do a bit more sightseeing. We toyed with buying the Dublin Pass but by my reckoning we wouldn’t be able to get our money’s worth and I was right. It’s 54 euros for a day’s pass for 1 person, but it gets you into everywhere free, so it sounds like it might be a good deal taking into account the prices you can pay to get into some tourist attractions. As it turned out, we only spent 25.50, so we’d have been nearly 30 euros out of pocket. You’d have to start very early and finish very late (impossible because they all start refusing admission from 4.30ish) to actually get the value you paid for. I think the only way you could save with it would be to buy the 5 day pass (104 euros!) and do absolutely everything – at a run! Where’s the fun in that?

Anyway, we started with Dublinia, a history of Dublin from the Vikings, which is in the building that used to be St Michael’s church situated next to Christ Church Cathedral and linked to it by an overhead arch. Christ Church is a beautiful building – we didn’t go in, though. I’m not big on churches and Cathedrals – seen one you’ve seen them all in my opinion – unless it’s a very different one like the Sagrada Familia or Liverpool Catholic Cathedral – and they wanted 14.50 a head to go in, so the outside was fine by me.

The cathedral itself was founded in 1030, so there’s a lot of history in those stones.



In the grounds of Christ Church is a sculpture of Jesus as a homeless person on a park bench. The statue is around 7ft long and depicts a faceless cloaked figure lying on a bench. It is only noticeable that the figure depicts Jesus by the holes in his feet.

The original statue was installed in Toronto, Canada in 2013 and subsequently casts have been erected in cities across North America and Europe.

The sculptor is Timothy P Schmalz.

Jesus sculpture

A little bit of embroidery imspiration from the windows:


The Millenium Child sculpture by John Behan stands opposite Barnardo’s and celebrates children in the new millenium.

Millenium Child

A visit to Teelings Whiskey Distillers was next. I’d never heard of Teelings whiskey until we came here. The company has been started by 2 brothers, Jack and Stephen Teeling, but whiskey has been in their family for a long time. Walter Teeling established his distillery in 1782 on Marrowbone Lane in the Liberties area of Dublin. That distillery, along with all the others (there were 37 at the time) closed as a result of a dramatic drop in whiskey sales. John Teeling, Jack and Stephen’s father established the Cooley whiskey distillery in 1987, which was sold to one of the large conglomerates, so this new distillery is an independent re-establishment of the Teeling name. We are seeing the brand in quite a few of the Dublin bars.

Really interesting to find out how it is made – and of course get a tasting session at the end of the tour:



FermentersThe huge fermenters. The barley was being milled as we were there which made a very loud noise. 3 tons of it….can you imagine?


This is the ‘wash’ that is produced when 15,000 litres of water is added to the 3 tons of milled barley and then it all goes into the fermenters.

NatalieAfter fermenting, the liquid is passed through 3 distilling processes. In Teelings case, the three stills are named after one of the owners’ 3 daughters, Alison, Natalie and Rebecca – so I had to photograph Natalie didn’t I?

Clear whiskeyThis is the liquid produced after the 3rd distilling process. It’s completely clear. The colour comes from the barrel the whiskey matures in. They use barrels that have held all sorts of different drinks previously – the ones we saw were from sherry, cabernet sauvignon and calvados. There was a different smell to each of the whiskeys depending which barrel they came from.

MaturingOnce barrelled, the whiskey is left to mature. This is just an example of maturing barrels – all whiskey has to be matured outside of the city because it is so flammable and the fire it causes cannot be put out with water. In fact water makes it burn more fiercely.

I don’t remember the percentages, but a certain amount of the whiskey is lost because it soaks into the wood of the barrels (the Devil’s share), more is lost to condensation (the Angels’ share) and the longer it is left to mature, the more is lost. Of the whiskeys left to mature the longest 70% can be lost – hence the high price. There is a limit to the number of years it can be left in the barrel to mature because you could end up with an empty barrel.

At the end of the tour we had a taste of a neat Small Batch whiskey and a whiskey cocktail – both very nice! Of course, a little purchase had to be made…

Barrel lightsLoved the lights!

And some whiskey quotes:





Below is the Famine sculpture by Rowan Gillespie. Life size figures that commemorate the Great Famine of the mid 19th century. During the famine approximately 1 million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the island’s population to fall by between 20% and 25%. One of the tour guides told us that the sculptor had a sister who died of anorexia, and this inspired him to create this piece.


The sculpture is located at Custom House Quay in the Dublin Docklands alongside the ‘Jeanie Johnson’ one of the tall ships that took 250 people at a time across the Atlantic to America. It’s hard to believe a boat like this successfully crossed such a large – and dangerous (think Titanic!) body of water. The Jeanie Johnson was one of the safer boats to have travelled on as they didn’t overload and so more people survived the crossing. Several babies were born aboard as well, so the ship was said to have gained lives rather than lost them.

Jeanie Johnson

We’ve been seeing this notice all around the city, but I hadn’t taken the trouble to read it until today:


Not eligible for this jury if you have ever expressed yourself about water charges on social media. I wonder if they managed to scrape together 12 compos mentis people who had restrained themselves from expressing an opinion on social media about something that has clearly been a big issue! Have you ever known anybody who didn’t have an opinion about water charges? I had to laugh. The trial was obviously starting today and the notices were all still up…

Just one more little snippet. I put our empty suitcases in one of the other bedrooms in the house and went in to see if I had left my nail file in one of them. I noticed, on the mantel shelf, a picture of Betty, who owns the house, on what is obviously the dust jacket of a book. I had suspected from what I can see around the house that she may be a writer – seeing this piqued my curiosity so I did a little search on Google. It seems she is quite well known in Ireland as a journalist and radio producer. The book she has written is her memoirs. Below is a link to an interview with her:


The photograph at the top of the interview has been taken in this house with Betty sitting in the chair that I am sitting in right now  writing this. Interesting, hey!!





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