Ireland day 0265. Monday 20 June 2022- Zoo

Ireland day 0265. Monday 20 June 2022- Zoo
Today’s summary Went into Dublin to visit the Zoo.   A nice place, even though I’m not really an animal-lover.   Very well laid out and lots of interesting things to look at.   Helped no doubt by the weather which, for once, was actually quite pleasant
Today’s weather Bright, sunny and dry all day.   Very light wind.   Up to 21C.
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Zoo walk Dublin

For the first time since we came to Ireland 265 days ago, the weather today didn’t feel cold.   It was warm and sunny and actually we were quite comfortable in T-shirts and shorts most of the day.   To celebrate this remarkable occurrence, we decided to spend the day somewhere which required a long period outside properly to appreciate it.  So after a lot of deliberating, we went to the Zoo.

First thing, though, Val had to drop into work for a quick training exercise.   So while she was away I spent the morning gainfully registering for the Irish Revenue online tax portal (tremendous fun, I can assure you) and preparing the packed lunches.  Once our domestic and financial obligations were discharged, we pulled our things together and headed down to the DART.   (By the way – although we do like going into Dublin by bus, the DART is quite a lot quicker and I have discovered it is the same price as the bus anyway.   €2 each way, which I think is pretty good).

The Zoo is carved out of the eastern end of Phoenix Park and was established in 1830.  The first visitors were admitted a year later and the original 118 residents were donated by London Zoo.   I am not really an animal lover I have to admit, and some zoos do make me feel a bit uneasy.   Generally, I’d far rather see animals in their natural habitat but as there isn’t much chance of coming across gorillas in the mountains of Wicklow (although there are wallabies on Lambay Island), I guess the zoo is the next best thing.   Plus the fact that I’d heard good things about the Zoo in Dublin so we had had in mind that as local residents, we really ought to go pay it a visit one day.

There were lots of reasons for choosing today to make our visit, but the main one was the excellent weather forecast.  Long sunny periods were in the offing, and the thermometer was predicted to hit 21C.   So it would make an ideal day for our outing – especially as most schools haven’t broken up for the summer yet, and we thought as a result that it would be a bit less mobbed.

In the end, it turned out that we had chosen well.   The zoo was actually looking lovely – it’s well laid out, interesting, and mostly pretty clean.   The animals seem to have plenty of space and to be quite content – though I’m not a zoologist so I couldn’t really tell for sure.  But I was stuck by the fact that most of the animals we saw today were either asleep or blobbing around in a barely-awake sort of stupor.   Perhaps it’s just us human beings that feel this perpetual need to rush around all the time.   And those that were actually awake seemed to be either eating or fighting.   Absolutely fascinating to watch – and I particularly enjoyed trying to work out who was “top dog” in each group.

The pecking order was spectacularly obvious in the gorilla pen – when the gigantic male ambled in, all the other animals in the pen looked up started, immediately dropped what they were doing, and ran away to cower in the corners.   They only resumed their eating and squabbling once he had gone back into his den.   After this bit of simian anthropology, we moved on and quickly cantered through the Orangutan forest, the African Savannah and the chimpanzee island, then paused at the sea lion cove for lunch.

The sea lions, it seemed, were in an irascible mood.   One particularly grumpy individual was bellowing loudly all the time for no obvious reason and was clearly annoying the hell out of the others in his raft (a raft, as I discovered today, is the collective noun for a group of sea-lions).   They were head-butting him and generally trying to get him to shut up, but he wasn’t having any of it.   He was still making a racket when we left and, as far as I know, might still be doing so now.   I say “he” by the way but he might have been a “she”.   I haven’t been on the online sea lion sexing-course yet.

After lunch, we checked out the rhinoceroses and elephants, and then on our way back to the exit, we dawdled through the lovely Roberts House to have a look at Stan, the magnificent Tyrannosaurus rex fossil skeleton that dominates the main hallway.   He is a cast from an original fossil found in South Dakota, but nevertheless is pretty impressive.   I think he would probably be pretty unfazed by most of the inhabitants of today’s zoo – and I suspect his appearance might persuade even the giant gorilla to retreat into his den.  Although I think he might eventually find the sea lions tedious.   I’m pretty sure the racket would be enough to drive away even the most fearsome of predators – so perhaps that’s what it is: a survival strategy.   Mind you , he might well have been tempted to swallow the noisy one whole, just to shut it up.   NB I’m no good at dinosaur-sexing either so as far as I know, Stan might equally well have been Stanislava.

Well that just about concluded our visit.   The zoo is quite extensive and although we walked around relatively quickly, we still didn’t really have enough time to see it all.   It would be nice to think that we could pay a return visit one day – but it was €42 for the two of us to get in, so we might have to wait a while first.   We made do by retreating back out into Phoenix Park and then enjoyed the luxury of being able to sit in the sun for a few minutes without needing weatherproof protection while doing so.   I might even have very briefly fallen asleep.   Perhaps I need to keep that bellowing sea lion to hand to keep me awake and prevent this perilously ageing trait from becoming a regular habit.


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

A giraffe.   It was quite nice to see an animal that wasn’t either asleep or eating.   The brown and cream mottled coat supposedly helps them to blend in to the landscape of the African Savannah.   Which probably explains why they are so easy to spot in Dublin These things are simply huge.   And amazingly nimble as well – capable of charging at 35 km/h / 22mph.   You wouldn’t want to catch him on a bad day
You could spend hours just watching the marvellous dexterity of these pachyderms’ prehensile trunks At last.   Now I know what the brown bin is really for
In the rather lovely Roberts House – opened in 1902.   Originally it was the Lion House: Dublin Zoo was renowned for breeding some of the biggest and strongest lions, which were highly sought after the world over – and they were housed here.   One inhabitant  – ruggedly named Stephen – auditioned for the MGM logo but sadly failed his screentest.   Today, it’s a really nice exhibition hall and reptile house.
This particular species of reptile came to a sticky end 65 million years ago, courtesy of an errant asteroid
Homo Sapiens  Just two million years from the African Plains
When Bengui the gorilla showed up this afternoon, the rest of the gorillas scarpered.   It was really impressive to watch.   Their reaction was just like when the boss walks in and is on the verge of discovering you aimlessly scrolling through FaceBook
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 7161 m
Max elevation: 43 m
Min elevation: 2 m
Total climbing: 102 m
Total descent: -101 m
Total time: 05:15:29
Download file: Zoo compressed corrected.gpx

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