Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Day 12: Dublin, Ireland.

Deana, Kathleen and I jumped in the car bright and early to get me to Stansted airport in time for my flight. We took the back roads and enjoyed a leisurely drive. Kathleen surprised me halfway through the trip by handing back a little package.

It was a tiny Toby jug. “I knew you have to be careful of size and weight, but I thought this wouldn’t weigh too much.”

“It’s perfect!” I said. “And it’ll fit in a tin beautifully!”

Of course, in order to bring all my tins home in my small case, I have to pack them with things.

We said our goodbyes and I sped inside. I was very grateful to Scott for booking Priority tickets for me, though it did mean that I was unexpectedly at airport security and I had to drink half a litre of water before they’d let me through.

I could’ve thrown away my water bottle instead, but there was no way I could do that. It’s my pee bottle from Antarctica! It’s been all over the globe with me, though thankfully, it never had to actually be used as a receptacle for urine.

I must’ve been tired, because before the plane even took off, I was asleep. I slept the whole way, and there was James waiting to meet me. Ww jumped into the car and off we went.

Our first thing was to see the statue of Molly Malone. When I was a kid, we had to learn songs and sing along to them every Tuesday afternoon to a radio show for kids on the ABC. I still remember the song lyrics.

Here I am, helping the poor girl.

Here’s James, booking us in to see the most important things in Dublin, which the tour that I’m booked in for doesn’t include.

We went there and booked a tour for 4pm. 

Then we went and grabbed a coffee and a Bakewell tart and found a bench in the quad to catch up.

He’s just as I remember him. So funny and warm and we picked up right where we left off 5 years ago. 

The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript that monks did, way back in the 800’s. it’s very precious to the people of Ireland, and by all accounts they’re lucky to still have it, considering how often English armies were ranging across the place over the centuries.

Here are some educational panels t it, as understandably, with something so old, there were no photos allowed. As you know, I take the odd sneaky snap, but not when the request for no photos is reasonable. 

We walked into a very dimly lit room and there it was. Its pages are of vellum, and sometimes it has notes in the margins by the monks who were copying things. 

“I wish this was finished.”

“I’m so cold.”

“ This is so boring.”

Goes to show that human nature has stayed the same!

The drawings are incredibly intricate. It’s no wonder that they felt the tedium of it at times.

Directly after that we found ourselves in the Long Hall, which is the inspiration for the Harry Potter decor at Hogwarts. It was so beautiful. 

We walked around, looking at the busts and books. They’re currently doing the massive job of digitising and restoring over 200,000 books, so some of the shelves were bare. There was still enough there to give a strong idea of what the place would look like when it was full.

The library was full of busts that immortalised the greatest thinkers of the world. Utterly surprising to no one, the original ones were all of men. Lately though, four busts of exceptional women have been moved in.

Ada Lovelace. Mathematician. Awful haircut.

Look at how cool this bust is.

Rosalind Franklin was the person who actually discovered how DNA works, but her work was stolen by the guys she worked with. She died soon afterwards, so they got away with it for decades until the truth came out.

See the base of her bust? It’s a DNA helix.

Time for some refreshment! We went to an old pub, reknowned for its Guinness.

Yuck. I had a Shiraz. Then we were off again.

By now a light shower was beginning to fall. 

“ You’ve been really lucky with the weather so far,” said James. “ A couple of months ago, it was torrential rain for weeks. It would’ve ruined your holiday.”

Then James took me to see another statue, one I was so excited to see for real.

it’s Oscar Wilde.

Different types of marble were used for the different colours.

It looks fantastic. There are pillars all around with his famous sayings written on them.

Such a brilliant man.

Then it was time for dinner. We went to a way famous burger place called Bunsen. Get it? Bunsen Burger… 

It’s rather specialised… their menu is printed on a business card.

Then we popped into a local gay bar to have a drink. Then it was a walk through the drizzle across the Ha’penny bridge, so called because back in the day you used to have to pay to cross it. There were swans and kayaks on the river. Temple Bar was lit up like a Christmas tree.

It’s a tourist trap. James says the locals don’t have anything to do with it.

We also saw the hotel Bono and The Edge own. James said that every Christmas, Bono chooses a random day to come out to Dublin and busk. Imagine how much fun that would be, both for Bono and anyone who happens to strike him?

Later that night I was deposited at a lovely little boutique hotel in Drogheda, where I messaged David30 to wish him a happy birthday. 

What a lovely first day in Ireland! The forecast is for rain all day tomorrow, which is hardly surprising. Everything is so green here in the Emerald Isle.


  1. Belinda

    Ah brilliant! My birthplace. I just love Dublin and you certainly fit in a lot today. St Stephens Green is lovely and Phoenix Park a must see. Enjoy every minute. I might be biased but I think Irish people are just lovely ????

    • Frogdancer Jones

      I’ve certainly been warmly welcomed!
      I’m having a lovely time.
      As I’m answering this, I’m over the border in Northern Ireland.
      The history of the partition is heartbreaking.

  2. Belinda

    Ah brilliant! My birthplace. I just love Dublin and you certainly fit in a lot today. St Stephens Green is lovely and Phoenix Park a must see. Enjoy every minute. I might be biased but I think Irish people are just lovely ????

  3. sandyg61

    One day I’ll get to the places of my ancestors, but in the mean time I will live through your travels.

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