Rick, Dublin, Henry Rotten discussed on Rick Steves Britain & Ireland Audio Tours
The bank of ireland the former parliament house though today. It's the bank. This building stands as a symbol of the long fight for irish self rule. It was here in the seventeen. Hundreds irish men like henri gratin previously spoke out against their british overlords appropriately at the top of the building sits a statue of lady ireland extending the olive branch of peace. Let's go inside the bank to see a remnant of its days as parliament house. It's free and open during banking hours. So start making your way there across the street once on the other side follow signs to the tourist entrance. It's slightly to the right of lady ireland as you go. Let rick set the scene. The fight for irish independence took many many generations. As far back as the twelfth century ireland was dominated by the english. English nobles ruled vast plantations with the poor irish farmers as their virtual serfs. Ireland was split between the natives mostly catholic and gaelic speaking and their protestant english speaking landowners. Occasionally the feisty. Irish would rise up in rebellion but time and time again. The revolts were brutally crushed when you reach the parliament house entrance. Go inside make your way into the main site inside the irish house of lords chamber. Dublin was always right in the thick of ireland's fight for independence on the one hand. Dublin was the center of the english protestant presence on the other as ireland's biggest and most educated city. This is where common irish identity was born and it was here at parliament. House that the struggle for independence switched from the battlefield to the political arena. By now you should be inside. Parliament house in the big house of lords chamber browse around the displays. Well rick tells us more. The room is decorated much as it looked back in the seventeen. Hundreds there are tapestries on the walls and a fireplace carved with irish oak. The apps like area at the end is where the speaker presided on. Display is a huge silver ceremonial mace. This was what the sergeant-at-arms wielded when he called the chamber to order it was a symbol of the ever. Present oversight of the british monarch the bust on display here of british kings and admirals also proclaimed british authority in this building brave politicians rose up to denounce the british king and advocate for self rule. Well to be fair. Most of the rabble-rousing took place down the hall. The house of commons chamber here in the house of lords things were more pro english crew. Most of the lord's were rich. Protestant leaps who leaned british. The tapestries here attest to that. They depict british victories over irish rebels in the tapestry on the right wall. British forces gathered lay siege to the irish town of dairy or as the brits insisted on calling it londonderry the british took the town routing this rebel stronghold the tapestry on the left wall shows what came next it depict the british king william of orange riding in to finish the rebels off. This was at the landmark battle of the boyne. Just a few miles from here. But despite those defeats on the battlefield there was a gathering. hope that the parliamentarians who met here could convince the british to grant ireland independence peacefully our old friend. Henry rotten famously said i found ireland. Her knees i watched over her. I traced her progress from arms to liberty. Ireland is now a nation. It looked like independence was just around the corner. That's when the british co opted the rebellion. Exactly they convinced the irish parliament mostly through bribes to sign the landmark act of union of eighteen hundred on the one hand that legislation granted ireland nation status on the other it became part of the larger united kingdom so the irish parliament moved from dublin. To london to become part of the british the movement for true irish independence got tabled and here in dublin. Parliament house was left empty. Which is why it's a bank today. Let's move on while. Rick tells us the rest of the story. Start making your way back out to the street with parliament gone. This impressive building was handed over to the bank of ireland. A conservative institution aligned with britain's corporate interests. The house of commons was converted into offices and the irish freedom movement went into hibernation. Nevertheless this building remain potent symbol of irish self government. It would inspire the next generation of brave souls that would soon rise up and demand change. That sounds like a teaser. But we'll have to save that story for our next tour dublin city. Walk part two.