Thoughts on fitness, health, good nutrition ... and running.

Welcome to Bald Man Running, a blog launched by Frank Murphy on January 1, 2015.

In March, 2013 I was selected as a contestant for the sixth season of Fort Wayne's Smallest Winner. Through this amazing program, I learned about good nutrition, sound exercise and accountability. By October, I would lose over 88 pounds (almost 37% of my original weight)! One of the many things I acquired through FWSW was a love for running. You can retrace my weight loss journey and discover how I became a runner by reading those entries labeled "fwsw" ...

Note: Many of the blog entries on this website predate 1/1/2015. Prior to launching BMR, I had written articles for various projects, and I have imported many of them into this blog (labeled "retro").

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Ireland Day 7

Full photo album - https://photos.app.goo.gl/niEvs16kWZR7YdQb9

Highlights: Hill of Tara, Phoenix Park, downtown Dublin

Almost every day started off with breakfast like this. I'm not much for big breakfasts, but this allowed me to wait until 2:00+ before having lunch. 

Hill of Tara - This was one of my "must see" locations. This area was at one time the seat of the High King in Ireland and it is home to the Lia Fáil, aka the Stone of Destiny. It's one of the relics brought by the Tuatha Dé Danann from the city of Falias (which might be in Tír na nÓg ???).

What really impressed me about the site is that's not really very commercialized. There's a parking lot with a small cafe and gift shop, but the property is wide open and not much has been done to it. While I walked around the property, I was amazed at how many people were running. I talked to a few locals about it, and they said that it was a popular training site for local runners and other athletes. 

I was floored ... there are people who do hill repeats on the Hill of Tara. That's a real thing. They're running up and down *the* Hill of Tara. 

On the grounds is a hawthorn tree called the Wishing Tree. People leave little notes and such attached to it. It's not really a pagan ritual. I'm not sure how to describe it ... perhaps more like a actualization or affirmation kind of thing.

As I continued talking to a local couple, they said that the real stone was no longer on the hill. It has been vandalized a lot, so they put a replica out instead. Some jerks even chiseled pieces off at one point.

They told me about the last major act of vandalism was someone painting the word "FAKE" on it. I stood there looking first at this young couple and then at the stone and then back at the couple and then back to the stone ... and I said, "but there is that tradition where the real one is returned to it's rightful place for a couple hours in the morning of one day per year, right?"

The husband chuckled and said, "yessir, and you just happened to come on that day. What you're looking at now is the original ... it's over 5,000 years old. I bet you're glad you came today instead of yesterday!"


For the most part, I was extremely well-prepared for this trip. Each day had a selection of "must see" locations, and I was able to meet (and exceed) my expectations for the day. Spoiler alert: I feel like today was my least satisfying day of the trip ... not because of what I did, but because it was harder to navigate Dublin on foot. 

My plan was to park on the far-west edge of Phoenix Park (where it was free) and avoid driving around Dublin. It's an easy enough town to walk, but many of the things on my list were further away from each other than I anticipated.

Phoenix Park is huge. I knew it was big, but it is huge. I had to walk over three miles to get from the west end of the park to the east end of the park, which would bring into the edge of Dublin's downtown area.

As I arrived, they were just wrapping up a 10k that ran through the park. I missed it. Granted, I'd ran a 20 miler the day before, but it would have been fun to run a 10k in Dublin. Maybe next time ...


Kilmainham Gaol - This was another one of my bucket list locations. BTW, gaol is not an Irish word, but an old English spelling for jail.

One of the reasons this jail is so well-known is because leaders of the Easter Rising were imprisoned here in 1916. 12 of these leaders were executed. At first, many of the people of Ireland weren't too sure about the bid for independence, but these executions turned many folks against the Crown. Imagine if Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, etc. had been executed on July 9, 1776?

While the Easter Rising might be considered a failure because independence was not achieved at that time, Ireland wouldn't have won their independence without it. Independence would follow in 1920.

Those executed were: Patrick Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, Thomas Clarke, Joseph Plunkett, William Pearse, Edward Daly, Michael O'Hanrahan, John MacBride, Éamonn Ceannt, Michael Mallin, Seán Heuston, Con Colbert, James Connolly and Seán Mac Diarmada.



The jail was abandoned and left derelict for several years. It was eventually restored and turned into a museum. Visiting is a chilling experience. I can't say that I enjoyed the visit, but I am thankful for the opporunity.

One of the executed revolutionaries was Joseph Plunkett. He was engaged to Grace Gifford at the time of the Rising. He was permitted to marry his bride in the jail's chapel. He was executed shortly thereafter. Grace would later be incarcerated as well. She decorated her cell with paintings, and while I couldn't go into her cell, I did snap a pic through the hole in the door.

The Dubliners have a very beautiful song about Joseph and Grace.

Many of the cells have tags that have been affixed to the doorways so you can who was where. It's amazing to think of the things that happened on these grounds.

I worked my way over to St Stephen's Green, another park in Dublin. Much smaller than Phoenix Park. It's beautiful. 


If you'd like to know more about an Irish patriot and hero, check out the story of Constance Markievicz.


On to Grafton Street, where buskers were in full swing. I have actually watched quite of this performer's YouTube videos ... nice to see Allie Sherlock live and in person!

A few other random landmarks included the Spire of Dublin (which I think is sticking out Daniel O'Connell's head in my pic) and Ha'penny Bridge.

Overall, I had a wonderful day. The Hill of Tara made me really happy and Kilmainham was sobering. Both were greatly appreciated.

As far as "Dublin in a day" goes, that's not a feasible plan. I knew I couldn't get everything on my list, but the major impediment was my parking plan. I wound up spending walking over six miles through Phoenix park. That was a significant time investment. I should have paid for a parking spot closer to the city center (centre?) and I could have spent more time exploring. I'm not upset with my mistake, but I am mildly disappointed.

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