As soon as I woke up this morning I knew it would be a day for aimless wandering, which as it turns out is not such a bad thing to do in Dublin. I started at the one thousand foot high steel pole know as the Spire. From there I walked south across the River Liffey on a bridge that is wide enough to accommodate eight lanes of traffic but is only about a dozen car lengths long. I am not very familiar with the south side of town so it made sense to go there if I was to wander aimlessly.

I was only a few steps into the south side when I saw what I knew must be some rather important buildings. Both were made of thickset stone and demanded respect from their viewers. The one nearest me was the old Parliament House. A series of arches stretched all the way around the building, nearly reaching the top at their peak. Between the arches were stone columns that were set into the stone facade. Above the main entrance was a relief sculpture that resembled the seal of the Bank of Ireland, which is what this ex-Parliament House now serves as. On top of the relief were stone-sculpted human figures that looked down on the bustling square. The further building was the famous Trinity College of Dublin. Before I leave I intend to take a tour of the university and its library so I will save that description for another day.

While I stood in the square in the shadow of the Old Parliament building I listened to an Irish woman play dream-like songs on her harp. Then I took a moment to admire the art of a nearby painter who was selling his work. He had a six foot painting of a woman surrounded by vibrant red, purple, and blue geometric patterns taped to the sidewalk. Around it he had similar, but smaller, paintings that were his sellable wares. I complimented the man on his work and started out down the red brick road.

The road was wide enough for four lanes of traffic but these roads were for pedestrians. Along the side of the road were well attended shops. At each intersection were outdoor markets selling flowers, fruit, and Irish novelties, like foot-long green lighters and rugby jerseys. When I reached an intersection that sat empty I looked down it to see what made this one special. At the end of the block I could see an old stone church with bright red wooden doors. I moved towards it to get a better look. This was the Anglican Church of Ireland and it had been established three hundred years ago. The church was plain but imposing. The tall red doors, one in the center and one on each side, were only decorated with a few diamonds that were carved into them. The only window was a circular pane of stained glass that was partially covered by stone spokes pushing out from the center. Atop the Church was a stone cross that the gulls took turns using as a perch.
I had now been diverted from the main road but as I look to the south I saw a promising sight.

At the end of the road was a black iron fence holding back rows of towering shrubs. I walked to the fence but still the greenery was too thick to see through. I had to get inside so I looked both ways down the iron balustrades for an entrance. Not far from where I stood was a small open gate. I entered and immediately wondered how I had missed this on a map. From my spot just inside the little entrance I could see two ponds, endless green grass, and paths that wound through them as far as I could see.

I started out to the left and before long I found a sign that had a map and a little information about my present position, a place known to the world as Saint Stephen’s Green. I studied the map and admired the layout of the park. At each of the four corners were monuments and memorials. All the paths eventually led to the central garden and its sparkling fountain. I started my round around the Green at the Famine Memorial. From there I followed the paths that wove around the park in a generally clockwise direction. I passed a giant white dog with brown patches around its right eye. I couldn’t help but stare as the beast tottered by me. I was nearly assaulted by a group of pigeons who had a peculiar pension for water. They whizzed by my head and landed in the pond among the ducks, swimming about as if they were all of the same breed. When I reached the central garden I took a moment to sit and watch the flowing canals, blooming flowers, and bursting fountain.

As I exited the park, content with a good day’s wandering, I spotted the “Saint Stephen’s Green Act of 1877” posted on a bulletin. The Act was mostly a list of rules for the park and though I had not seen them until I was on my way out I did not break any of them during my visit. That is of course, unless I was unwittingly an annoyance to someone, which was against park regulations. And I couldn’t help but wonder about the last time someone broke the “no catapults” rule. What a sight that would have been.

I came out of the park at a different spot than I came in but it was not to tough to find my way back. All I needed to do was follow the red brick road (I was going to make a bad joke about forgetting my ruby slippers but I will refrain). I crossed the river back to the north side and a few minutes later I was once again standing in front of The Spire.
Well, that was my little excursion for today. I hope you enjoyed following me to the south side of Dublin and I look forward to hearing from you all soon.

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