Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ireland, Day 17: Dublin - North of the Liffey

Our ventures took us north of the River Liffey (An Life) today. After lunch, we went on the Jameson Distillery Tour, in which we learned a bit of the history of the distillery and how Jameson is made. At the end of the tour we took part in a whiskey tasting. We were given a tablespoon or two of three different types of whiskey (a Scottish whisky, Johnnie Walker Black Label, on the left; Jameson in the middle; and an American whiskey, Jack Daniels, on the right). The tour guide was able to point out tasting notes, which was helpful at least for me, since I believe this was the first time I've ever had straight whiskey.

From Ireland (2015)

At the end of the tour, we were given a choice of a free cocktail with ginger ale and lime, or simply some whiskey itself. (Although the whiskey itself was pretty good, I preferred the cocktail.) And of course, I achieved the status of official Jameson Irish Whiskey taster.

From Ireland (2015)

After our tour of the Distillery, we went to St. Michan's Church. The first Christian chapel was built on the site of an early Danish chapel in 1095 and is said to have been consecrated on May 14th, 1096, but nothing remains of this old structure. The dedication "Michan"is of unknown origin; he might have been an Irish martyr and confessor who was a native of Dublin. His name is listed in the "Martyrology" of Christ Church, a register of Christian saints and martyrs dating from the 13th century.

The cemetery is wonderfully old; several grave sites have sunk, with tombstones buried quite deeply; others are small mausoleums that are covered with individual rocks.

From Ireland (2015)

The inside of the church was very simple; it was quite different than the cathedrals we had seen yesterday. Apparently at the time it was built, and for some time after, it was the only church north of the Liffey, and was considered a poorer area.

Underneath the church are five long burial vaults containing mummified remains. The exact date of construction is unknown though in their present form they may well date from the rebuilding of the church in 1685. The constant dry atmosphere is what caused the mummification and the preservation of the coffins.

The tour of the crypts was worth taking part of (although unfortunately I was unable to take pictures). There were two sections, one in which we saw four mummies; the other were unopened, since it is apparently against Irish law to open coffins. The original occupants of the crypts would have been only those associated with the church, such as priests and nuns; when the population of the city started expanding outward, the wealthier were soon permitted to be buried under the church as well. The price of burial here would have cost several years' salary, but this would have given the right of descendants to be buried in the crypts as well.

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