Dublin Accommodations

Written by James Bruce
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On a recent tour of Ireland, a guide said this to me: "I'll tell you what, I love the English. But I hate the British." He of course said this in jest, but it does really speak a lot about what matters in Ireland. Ireland has held on dearly to cultural identity and a very independent spirit, which has famously come into conflict with Britain.

Welcome To Dublin

The land you are walking on in Dublin is land once trod upon and dominated by Vikings. King Olaf Cuaran was a major Viking leader in Dublin's history. At times he was allied with neighboring Irish kingdoms, and at times he was at war, because at this point in Irish history (around 941 A.D.), conflict was the rule of the day. It was in these days, when the future of Ireland as a united nation was in question, that Irish identity was being created.

There were a lot of factors that led to the eventual fall of Viking dominance, but probably one of the biggest was religion. In the early part of the century, pagan beliefs were deeply entrenched in the people, and black Thor was certainly a big focus of worship. Thor worship was about living the life of the warrior, and the followers of this faith were not only good at battle, they lived for it. Then came the Catholic religion, and things changed drastically, in a surprisingly short amount of time.

The Catholic faith made a difference because now a competing faith had followers just as passionate, with little tolerance for competing theologies. In Dublin today you can still visit churches and temples that existed in these early days of Christianity in Ireland. Indeed, one can't reasonably look at Irish history without considering the impact of faith on this green country.

Where To Go?

There are a lot of historic castles you can visit when you get to Dublin, and some great tours you can take. Dalkey castle is just one of them, but it bears mentioning, because it was the scene of extreme conflict in ancient times, and because it has been maintained so well. It is so significant to the history of Dublin that it has become a big part of a lot of literature, including the second chapter of Ulysses.

One of the things a person can admire about Ireland is that their history doesn't get a glossy coat, because the Irish aren't ashamed of their past. They recognize that the moments of insanity, such as the crusades, are facts that inform the present. So much of our shared history as people begins in places like Ireland, Egypt, and indeed a lot of Africa. Looking at it with our own eyes is in a very real sense a way to look at ourselves.

Unlike a lot of immigrants, the Irish who came to the United States didn't hate the land they were leaving, it was just a bad time. The famines and bloodshed of the day caused them to seek fortune somewhere else, and many of them were lucky enough to find America. But even as the generations pass, people like myself feel a sentimental kinship with the land my grandfather called home.

When you visit Dublin, there are a lot of fun things to do, and certainly you will probably visit a pub or two for a pint. You'll meet a sturdy breed of people who still work very hard, and laugh very loud. If you pay attention, with an open heart and curious mind, you'll find things here you will carry the rest of your life.

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