St. Patrick’s, the Church of Ireland’s national cathedral, was closed by the time we arrived from the airport yesterday. We’ll return today, but still enjoyed reading about it on a plaque in the lovely park across the way from it. According to tradition, a church was originally erected in the location to commemorate St. Patrick’s baptizing of believers in the river that still runs underground on the property.
Heading back to our hotel, we passed The Swan Bar, a Victorian Heritage Pub established in 1661. Descended from a medieval inn, it housed the Irish Volunteers during Easter Week 1916, a period of rebellion against Great Britain, the centennial of which is being observed this month.
Years later, in 1937, John Lynch acquired the premises. His son, Sean, whose bronze bust is prominently displayed, became an international rugby star. Framed jerseys and historic photos line the walls of the pub, whose interior features beveled glass, mosaic floors, granite bars, and hand-carved woodwork. It also features delightful barkeeps.
When asked for a recommendation for dinner, the front desk manager at our hotel recommended The Bank on College Green. Just a few blocks away from us, and only a couple of hundred meters from the ancient Viking Parliament, the building was once the site of the Irish House of Commons and then The Belfast Bank. It’s a magnificent example of Victorian architecture, its high ceilings filled with marble pillars, stained glass, and mosaics. A row of bronze busts of heroes of the revolution in 1916 line one corner of the lower floor, which also houses a beautifully-appointed room for private parties.
Tomorrow: The National Museum of Ireland–Archaeology and Trinity College (The Book of Kells).