Monday, March 16, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Treasure Hunt 2015

Even though we'll be ducking out of town for the melee that is Paddy's Day in downtown Dublin this year, we couldn't miss out on what was our favorite St. Patrick's Festival activity last year: the annual treasure hunt.

Festival Treasure Hunt 2014

With free admission to several normally pricey Dublin attractions and a free goodie bag, who could say no? On Saturday morning, we were primed and ready.

We didn't know the route for this year's hunt until we showed up at Trinity to register. Much to our surprise (and delight!) there were several stops that we had yet to visit for one reason or another. Ok, let's be frank, the reason was money.

We made a point to don our cheap headgear for a photo stop at each checkpoint on the hunt. First up, the Lurgan Longboat at the National Museum: Archaeology. We knew exactly where this hard-to-miss exhibit was on display. It spans the whole width of the ground floor gallery, after all.

Lurgan Longboat—National Museum: Archaeology
Lurgan Longboat—National Museum: Archaeology

Just around the corner, we had to check out a huge tapestry in the main atrium of the National Gallery, Ireland's fine (and free to visit!) collection of art by Irish and European masters.

Atrium Mural—National Gallery
Atrium Mural—National Gallery

Fighting through the crowds of hungover partiers out for some hair of the dog, we took a lesser-known route to the northside to count the number of antique wooden post boxes at Ireland's General Post Office, where the Irish Proclamation (their Declaration of Independence) was first shouted by Patrick Pearse back in 1916.

Wooden Post Box—General Post Office
Wooden Post Box—General Post Office

Then it was on to D8, Dublin's Viking Quarter and Liberties. We had to stop at Christ Church Cathedral, and here we slowed down our pace. Christ Church charges admission—a strongly-encouraged donation, technically—to its sanctuary. Therefore, neither Sara nor I had ever actually set foot inside the main church. We flashed our treasure hunt sheet at the ticket-takers and strolled right on in. After finding our target (the tomb of Norman leader Strongbow, now the namesake of a popular brand of hard apple cider), we took our time exploring the rest of the sanctuary and the museum in the underground crypt. I simply couldn't miss a chance to see the church's most famous post-life residents (maybe even more famous than Strongbow), the mummified cat and rat discovered in an old organ pipe.

Strongbow's Tomb—Christ Church Cathedral
Strongbow's Tomb—Christ Church Cathedral

Mummified Cat and Rat—Christ Church Cathedral
Mummified Cat and Rat—Christ Church Cathedral

Down the hill from Christ Church, we also had to visit St. Patrick's Cathedral, also a former Catholic church seized (and never returned) by the Church of England during the Reformation. It is also another church that, ahem, asks for a financial consideration for entry. Again, we bypassed the long ticket line and strolled right in.

Cory and Sara at St. Patrick's Cathedral
St. Patrick's Cathedral

Around the corner from St. Patrick's is Marsh's Library. I'd seen it on maps, but knew very little about it, except that it normally charges admission for entry. Not so today! Inside, it's a bit like a Trinity-Long-Room-Lite. Shelves of important-looking leatherbound books stretch from floor to ceiling. Yer Man himself, James Joyce, used to read and study among the books and busts of this small library. No photos allowed inside, so we posed at the door.

Marsh's Library, Dublin
Marsh's Library

Our last stop was at the National Archives. We were a bit tired, so we didn't hang around to look at the rest of the documents on display.

National Archives — Dublin, Ireland
National Archives

Our sheet stamped and our stomachs ready for lunch, we returned our completed treasure hunt sheet, got our timestamp (probably not breaking any records), and enjoyed some of the finest tourist watching in Europe while we ate our picnic lunch and admired the goodies in our gift bag.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Wherever you are, celebrate safely.


  1. That seems like such a cool thing to do!! I hope they keep on doing it over the years as I plan to bring the kids when they are a bit older and ready to walk all over Dublin ;-)

    1. I hope so, too. It was a great time. Happy St. Patrick's Day!


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