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Monday, December 5, 2016

My Dublin Diary - Day 3: The Irish National Museum of Archaeology

Day three of my Dublin adventure saw me utilizing my three day Dublin Bus Freedom Pass for the first time. I hadn't had to touch it since my LEAP card got me everywhere I was going on Day 1 and Day 2, so it would have been a bit of a money-waster if I'd paid full price. Luckily, they ran a Black Friday special online and I got it for half-price, so it worked out splendidly.

The pass granted me 72 hours of access to any bus in the Dublin area, including (and this is the important one) the hop-on, hop-off bus that loops all the tourist attractions in Dublin. There's a guide driving the bus, and you have your choice of taking the pre-recorded tour (great if you don't speak English as they give you headphones and there are alternate language channels at each seat) or you can opt for the live guided tour. My bus driver was Sean and he was the sauce from which awesome is made. He sang, he joked, he told us all about everything and he made the tour five times as fun.

My first stop on my way to the museum was the Oscar Wilde statue in Merrion Park, a lovely little spot of green and the statue is wonderfully whimsical, flagged by pillars bearing great quotes from the master.

You definitely want to click this to embiggen.

After paying homage (and a quick trip into the Irish Writer's Center), I made my way over to the Irish National Museum: Archaeology, part of the museum complex near Merrion Square that also includes the Museum of Natural History, or as locals refer to it, "The Dead Museum." I knew I'd probably only have time for one, and since I'm actively researching my next book, I opted for the archaeology museum.

And oh, I was not disappointed. From hordes of gold dating back to the stone age to precious relics from medieval times and the renaissance, this museum is an honest-to-god treasure trove of beautiful things. I'm just going to do a massive picture dump here, and it must be said that the pictures cannot do this justice. This is something you need to see for yourself.

This stone was on the tomb of a medieval knight.

These pieces of jewelry in gold and amber date back to the iron age.

This was a relic box that housed St. Patrick's tooth

The Mass book of the great Irish king, Brian Boru
These next two deserve bigger pics, especially since they're the crowning glory of the treasury room. The first is the Tara Brooch, an exquisite piece of jewelry, and the next a silver chalice, both dating back to the 8th century, A.D.

Every single thing was so amazing, and my crap phone camera could hardly capture the workmanship and the beauty. For a closer look at some of the treasures (and for shots taken with the right light and camera) click here for the official website tour.

Along with all the beauty and the artwork, also came a fascinating touch of the macabre. They have entire exhibit of "bog bodies," men who were ritually sacrificed back in the iron age.

This is the reconstruction of the guy above
Read what happened to this guy below

They really were fascinating.

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