This week was jam packed with tours of various places throughout the city of Dublin. Monday started with a tour to Kilmainham Gaol, followed by a Tuesday tour of the Tenement Museum and finally a Thursday executive tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Each tour was incredibly unique but all were incredibly interesting and fulfilling, I feel so grateful to see such historical and impressive sights.
In chronological order I will begin with my trip to Kilmainham Gaol. Back home I am a sociology major with an emphasis in law, criminology, and deviance. Therefore, jails and the idea of punishment are ideas which I have discussed extensively in my course work. That being said, it was really interesting to see a jail structure from a different culture. I have visited different jails in the US both historical and current and I enjoyed being able to compare both experiences. For the most part it was exactly what one would expect from a historic jail. Thick walls, simple rooms, and minimal lighting just to name a few characteristics. One area which I found particularly interesting was the “new jail” which was built about 60 years after the opening of the original structure. This area was built in panopticon architecture allowing one person to stand in the center and see into each cell. This type of architecture for prisons has been heavily debated in life but more specifically in my classes making it so interesting to finally see in person.
Moving on to my trip to the Tenement Museum, another place which really opened my eyes to the history of Dublin city. The tour itself was very informative telling the history of Dublin’s Georgian homes, from incredibly wealthy places to barely livable tenements housing ten or more people in a room which had previously been suited for one. As interesting as the history was, the most incredible part of the tour was the guide’s emotional connection to the story. She was incredible adding personal anecdotes into very dense historical points. I felt grateful to have experienced such a place being led by someone who cares so much for it.
Finally, I was lucky enough to go with the other interns at my job to the VIP tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The tour included learning how to ring the bells, lots of historical information, and best of all a trip to the top of the Cathedral roof where I was able to witness the most incredible view of Dublin city to date. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to go on such a tour that is usually reserved for those with close ties to cathedral higher-ups. The views alone were worth more than I can express but coupled with another thoughtful guide made it truly a day to remember.
If it’s not clear each day I feel so grateful to be here in Dublin, I hope to keep experiencing all the city has to offer.