- Christ Church Cathedral -- Beyond a doubt, it's my favorite cathedral I've ever been inside. I visited in the evening, while their choir rehearsed, lending the most lovely and perfect ambiance to the experience. I gazed up at the stunning, larger-than-life architecture, marveled at the beautiful stained glass windows, read the inscriptions on all the tombs, and was quite fascinated by the crypts underneath. When I had explored to my heart's content, I sat down and let the choir move me to tears with their singing. I had actually been a bit emotional that entire day -- being in the midst of so much beauty and so many interesting things made me even more grateful for the success of my eye surgery.
- The Book of Kells at Trinity College -- I have long been enchanted by illuminated manuscripts, so for years now it has been a dream of mine to see the real Book of Kells in person. It did not disappoint. Even though you only get to glimpse just a few pages of this priceless masterpiece, the entire exhibit on rare manuscripts was riveting. I also really enjoyed getting to see the exhibit on the preservation of rare books at the Old Library, which, I have now decided, is absolutely my dream library.
- St. Patrick's Cathedral -- It has long been a desire of mine to attend a choral Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral. In fact, that was one of three reasons that I settled on Ireland for my summer vacation. Unfortunately, jet lag chose to strike on Sunday morning. The service at Christ Church starts promptly at 11:00 . . . and by that time, I had taken a wrong turn and wound up at St. Patrick's. Sadly, I had to give up on my dream. But, then I noticed that St. Patrick's does a choral Eucharist, featuring their excellent Men and Boy's Choir, at 11:15! I hurried in, found a good seat, and tried not to feel too disappointed at not getting my first choice. When the service began, I was shocked to learn that I had accidentally stumbled in on the perfect Sunday - it was the 300th anniversary of the first Sunday that Jonathan Swift preached there! In the end, I was very happy with my "second choice".
- Street performers in Temple Bar -- The Temple Bar area encompasses loads of restaurants, shops, bars, and markets. It's a busy, bustling, excited, energetic place to walk. Although I enjoyed browsing through shops and markets and feasting on some very nice gelato, the real highlight for me was all of the street performers. I saw folk dancers, acrobats, and various musicians. My favorite was a group who played traditional Irish folk music.
- The fantastic bakery in Rathgar -- In the interest of saving money, I stayed in a B&B (Abrae Court Guesthouse, heartily recommended) in the charming little village of Rathgar, about 15 minutes from Dublin's city center. There was a little bakery in the village that had really friendly employees and the most delicious veggie paninis I have ever tasted. For two nights in a row, that was dinner!
All in all, I was a little sorry to leave Dublin, as I had quite a wonderful time there. But, I couldn't be too solemn about leaving - I was on my way to see neolithic passage tombs!