With the last couple days in Dublin and not being much of a city person, it created some challenges to entertain myself. Thankfully I found a huge protest on water charges!
I started off the day with the “hop-on, hop-off” bus tour. They operate in a few major cities around the world and it’s a great way to see the sights. You’re welcome to get on and off the bus as many times as you want through the duration of your pass (day pass to week long) as it stops at all the common attractions.
One of the most beautifully put together buildings along the route was Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. It is a reasonably well guided option depending on which guide you seem to have on the bus. The first guide I had was phenomenal. Learned an immense amount everything we drove by whereas a later bus I got on mostly made a few corny jokes and didn't go over a whole lot in detail.
One of the interesting stops was a series of lamp post in Phoenix Park. They are the last remaining gas street lamps. While now automatically lit, in the 1800’s and early 1900’s there was a gas lamplighter that walked to each lamp and had to light it up so people could see at night.
If you take the bus, my suggestion would be to do a full loop first. You get to take in everything without rushing to make stops and once you have a good idea where everything is you can disembark pretty easily knowing whereabouts you are in Dublin and what you don't need to rush to see.
The Famine memorial is just off of the River Liffey in the Dublin Docklands. It’s a reminder to the more than one million people that died in Ireland during the blight that ravaged potato crops throughout Europe in the 1840s.
Organizers of the Right2Water campaign said over 15,000 people attended the protest while Garda stated it was less than 10,000. Either way, a very large group of people are not happy with the way the Irish government is handling their water. The protest is calling for the abolition of water charges in Ireland.
Prior to this, the Irish did not have to pay directly for water usage but as most mentioned, it was still in a roundabout way paid through their taxes. Considering Ireland is an island and it frequently rains, many believe it shouldn’t be charged and clean water is a human right. The trouble resides in not only appeasing the population, but also the European Union. As Ireland already signed the water framework directive, they could face gins if they abolish the water charges.
A large inflated black apple in the shape of the Apple logo had 13 Billion imprinted on it. This is for the 13 billion euros that Apple owes in back taxes to Ireland as part of a ruling by the European Union. It’s said that Apple paid a measly 50 euro in tax for every million euro in profit in 2014.
The billing of domestic water charges was put on a nine month suspension which will come to an end in March of 2017. It is not clear exactly what will happen on this hot subject.
With the protests wrapping up, I headed over to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. St. Patrick’s was founded in 1191 and is actually the tallest church in Ireland, coincidently, also the largest.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral suffered numerous floods through the 18th to 20th century. This is due to the water table being only about 2.3 meters below the floor. Unlike other cathedrals, it’s said St. Patricks does not have a crypt for this reason.
The cathedral has taken its popularity to heart. You have to pay admission to enter and they have a large corner of the cathedral setup as a gift shop so you can get all your St. Patrick memorabilia. While I can understand the admission to keep a place of this size in good condition, the large blatant gift shop resembles more of a park attraction instead of a place of worship.
Like a lot of European cities, Dublin is very pedestrian friendly. Comparing to our North American counter parts, you don’t feel like you need a car just to get around. The tram, bus, and walking routes are substantially easier to navigate through.
The great thing about Ireland is that everyone will boot you if you overstay your welcome, unless you’re the one being booted. You have to pay in order to remove the boot so it’s not as simple as throwing your parking ticket on the ground in anger, driving off, and hoping you never have to pay it.
With the day coming to a close it was time to head home and regretabbly start packing up everything for the long trip home tomorrow.
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