Our final day in Dublin; we checked out of our hotel in the morning, and headed to Dublin Castle, in order to add a cultural balance to the sampling of Irish nightlife!
We learned that Dublin Castle could be dated back to the time of the Vikings, having been in continuous occupation since 1204 AD. Remnants of the original castle foundation walls were to be found underground in a viewing chamber, underneath the existing courtyard. We were also shown the remains of the original moat, which still contains water, and a stone archway, which would have allowed passage around the moat surrounding the Castle. The guide informed us that during archaeological excavations of the moat, many artefacts were discovered, having been preserved by the water, including; coins, weapons, and many skulls, as a result of heads being presented on spikes above the castle entrance, and eventually decomposing, falling into the moat below.
Inside the modern day castle, we were shown around the Drawing Room, in which portraits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were displayed at the far end of the room. The guide informed us that this was for the purpose of a visit by Her Majesty The Queen, and that they would undoubtedly be soon placed back into storage. It was in this room that we were also told about the origins of certain phrases, such as ‘saving face’, and ‘wallflower.’ Many modern expressions and phrases are in modern use, due to Drawing Room etiquette of times past. ‘Saving face’ originated when ladies would use a wax-like substance as a make-up to coat their face, in order to give them a pale complexion, and standing too close to the fires in the Drawing Room, would cause the wax to being to melt, and subsequently, they would ‘lose face.’ The reference to ‘wallflower’ originated from the Drawing Room during grand balls, when women would line up along the walls of the room, with the highest ranking lady at one end, ranging to the lowest rank at the far end of the room. Gentlemen would then enter the Drawing Room, and select the lady with whom he wished to dance. Following the dance, the lady would then return to her space on the wall, and the women subsequently became known as wallflowers.
After our visit to the Drawing Room, we looked around the throne room, where we learned that during the reign of Queen Victoria, who was a very short woman, the throne had to have the legs sawn off at various points, in order for it to be lowered. This was as a result of the immense size of the throne previously in order to be able to sit King George IV, who, we were told, was a rather large man, at 6’1, and clinically obese. He in fact was noted to have dined on 12 loaves of bread each morning for breakfast!
Following our educational visit to the castle, we did a little souvenir shopping around Dublin, and finally got our shuttle bus back to the airport to fly home.
Unfortunately, the adventure didn’t end there; as we flew home, we were informed ‘ten minutes to landing’, by the pilot, and after about twenty minutes when we were still in the air, we realised that something was wrong. We encountered terrible turbulence, and needless to say, the three of us were slightly concerned! The pilot then informed us that as he made an attempt to land, we hit a thunderstorm, which we had to subsequently be navigated around, in order to make a second landing attempt. Eventually, we landed safely, with Lexi stating how she had been about to compose her farewell voicemail to her parents in case we were to crash!