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Dublin with children-Day 2

Dublin with children-Day 2

Dublin is a very family friendly city with lots of ways to see the sights.  Both the Dublin Bus Tour and City Sightseeing offer hop-on-hop-off bus services that narrate the sights and let you get on and off at 24 locations throughout the city.  You can buy the tickets on the bus, online, or at a tourist office and don’t need to start at any particular point.  The Dublin Bus Tour is free for two children for each adult and City Sightseeing offers a family package for the price of two adult tickets.  Officially, the tours are an hour and a half in length, but that assumes you don’t stop at all. The tickets are generally good for 48 hours, so don’t feel as if you have to cram everything in on one day.  Our first hop off was at Dublina, the viking and medieval history center.  Dublina is included in the Dublin pass, but you can also buy tickets individually and you receive a discount if you’re on the hop-on-hop-off tour.   Located in the synod hall of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublina is a hands on multi-media museum starting off on the ground floor with the viking exhibit, working its way through medieval Dublin and ending on the third floor with an archaeology exhibit. During the summer there were re-enactors including Olaf, the Viking coin minter, Peter Higley, the Medieval Merchant, Asa, the Viking housewife, Maggie, the Medieval woman and Walter the sea sick sailor.  There were also plenty of opportunities to dress up, including as a knight.  The Medieval section included a medieval fair, with games to play and the archaeology section includes actual artifacts that have been found in and around Dublin.  The self-guided tours take approximately 55 minutes, but my kids could have spent a lot longer playing some of the games. At the top of Dublina, a bridge connects the Synod Hall to Christ Church cathedral proper, the oldest medieval church in Dublin.  It was established around 1030 and parts of the existing structure still date back to the 1180s.  Entrance fees can be paid separately, in combination with the entrance fees for Dublina or as part of the Dublin Pass. The welcome to Christ Church Cathedral includes a map of the highlights...

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The Barefoot Book of Pirates

The Barefoot Book of Pirates

 The Barefoot Book of Pirates by Richard Walker and illustrated by Olwyn Whelan is a retelling of seven pirate stories from Scandinavia, England, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Scotland and Morocco.  The stories are well illustrated and entertaining while being refreshingly free from gore. The hardcover edition of the book is accompanied by a CD with Richard Hope narrating the seven stories, perfect for long trips! England Everyone associates Robin Hood with Sherwood Forest and Nottingham, but with references dating back to the 13th century and the earliest recorded ballads dating from the 13th and 14th century, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction and whether he was a real person or a conglomeration of many.  The origins of “Robin Hood and the Pirates” date back to 1858 at least and possibly earlier.  In the story, Robin decides to go on vacation and leave Sherwood Forest and Little John suggests a trip to Scarborough.  Today, Scarborough is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire Coast.  In keeping with the pirate theme, there is a treasure hunt in Scarborough which lets you explore the coast, castle and surrounding environs.   After a few days in Scarborough, Robin decides he’s bored and wants to go out on a fishing boat.  You too can go out on a fishing trip with Queensferry Cruises and Skylark Fishing Trips.  While you probably won’t run into pirates on the coast of England on your trip, in this story Robin manages to save the fisherman from the pirates and in true Robin Hood fashion, he shares the plunder with the fishing crew and the good woman who had rented him a room. Ireland Grace O’Malley (Granuaile) or “The Sea Queen of Connaught” is one of the few female pirates in history.  In “Pirate Grace,” she arrives at Howth Castle in Ireland and asks for dinner according to custom.  Lord Howth refuses as he is too busy eating his own dinner and doesn’t want to be disturbed.  In retaliation, Grace kidnaps his heir and holds him hostage on Clare Island.  Her demand for his son’s freedom?  An apology and that the Lord always lay a spare place at the dining table in case anyone should need it. Howth, now a suburb of Dublin, was originally...

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