While visiting regular tourist attractions wherever we have traveled, provides a certain level of enjoyment, what we really love to do is wander about with no particular destination in mind, just to see what we can encounter. We have found more hidden gems this way than we can count. Presented here are some of the things we found during our walk-about in Dublin.
"Audoen's Church" - named after St. Ouen (or Audoen) of Rouen, Normandy, this is the oldest parish church in Dublin, and it is still active. It was built in 1190 by the Anglo-Normans, under the auspices of the St. Anne's Guild. In its heyday, the church was closely connected with the majority of the guilds of Dublin. However, because of declining funds, the church had fallen into a decrepit state by 1630. Various fund raising plans over the succeeding centuries have kept the church vibrant. Within a rear transept is a "Lucky Stone" that has been kept here since 1309. Merchants and traders reportedly would rub it for luck because of its supposed "...strange properties." The stone had been stolen a number of times over the years, but "somehow" it always returned. One legend states that thieves tried to smash it to bits but the stone "..moaned and groaned" as they hit it. So they ran away. The Irish say that they never let the truth get in the way of a good story, so we leave it up to you to believe what you will about this legend.
"St. Augustine and St. John the Baptist Church" - popularly known as John's Lane church, because of its location, this church was built by the Augustinians on the site of Dublin's first hospital, St.John's (circa 1182). The current church actually dates from 1874. It's 200 foot steeple is the highest in Dublin and is unusual in that it is retangular in shape rather than square.
"Guinness Storehouse" - Churches were not the only things we found on this walk-about. The Guinness Storehouse is a seven floor structure built around a glass atrium in the shape of a pint of Guinness. The building was first constructed in 1902 as the fermentation plant for the St. James Brewery. This brewery closed in 1988. Then in 1997, Guinness purchased it and began converting it into a museum dedicated to the history of its founder. Arthur Guinness, as well as a history of its advertising. The actual Guinness brewery is just across the street from the Storehouse.
During this walk around Dublin, we happened to meet three young lads from Detroit, Michigan who had just arrived and were doing their own walk-about.