Day Fifteen: Ireland 2018

In Dublin’s fair city, there is so much to do! I can’t say that I first met sweet Molly Malone, or really anyone else for that matter, but I had plenty of time walking around town to see a whole heck of a lot in this bustling cultural town.

Our Airbnb for our stay in Dublin is right in the city center. We are being hosted by two wonderful gentlemen, Felipe and Danny, and they have been very welcoming to us, as well as very detailed on house rules and wishes, and making sure we have everything we need during our stay with them. There have also been a few other people staying with them (they rent out three of the rooms in their house) so I guess you could say we have actually met some people. A few have been american’s just staying for a night or two during their travels. The more exciting one we met came last night. Her name is Jena, and she is from Glasgow in Scotland, and listening to her talk is quite entertaining. It is honestly kind of hard to understand her when she speaks quickly, as her accent is very think and not quite the same as the televised Scottish accents you might hear in movies or on tv shows. We ended up sitting in the kitchen for a while last night at the table, swapping stories and backgrounds as we ate dinner. Shes a few years younger than me, but was very personable and fun to talk to. I hope we’ll see a bit more of her before we leave.

Being in the city center has some perks, such as being able to leave our car parked in front of the house and simple walk wherever we want to go in town. Our main goal for today was to visit Trinity College and see the book of Kells. We set off in the morning since we knew it would take about twenty minutes to walk there from where we were. Our experience over the last few days specifically has taught us that we should try to be places as early as possible if we want to be guaranteed tickets, otherwise they might be sold out later in the afternoon. Tip for people planning on coming to Ireland and the UK: A lot of historical sites and tourist attractions (Trinity College, Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Bridge, Cliffs of Moher, etc.) are by guided tour only, or may have self led tours that will only allow you to see bits and pieces, but not have the whole experience. So if you are wanting to go to these sorts of places, be sure to allow 5-15 euro for each one, unless you are able to purchase a pass, or become a member of the World Heritage Sites. When we got to Trinity, we participated in a student led tour. She took us to a few different locations on campus, pointing out important buildings, telling us the history of each, details about important events and people from campus, and so on. She definitely knew what she was talking about, and threw in bits of humor to liven things up. It took me back to my days as a student ambassador during my undergrad days at Heidelberg, where I would meet with prospective students and guests, showing them around campus and talking about all the different programs and activities we had to offer. I really enjoyed listening to her. I learned a lot more about Trinity than I had expected.

At the end of our tour, we were set free to see the rest of the public buildings on campus, and then check out the Book of Kells exhibit. The first building we went into was part of the Geology department. The building was phenomenal. The main columns inside were each from the main quarries in Ireland with marble from Cork to Connemara. It was simple gorgeous. The oustide was rimmed in flora from the surrounding areas, chiseled directly into the stone by the artist who worked on the building. Another breathtaking part of this building was the fact that it had two skeletons of wild stags called Megaloceros Giganteus that used to roam Ireland before they became extinct….11,000 years ago. Just let that sink in. Eleven thousand years ago. How crazy is that?! And they had two, one male and one female. Remains such have those have been found in the bog lands that cover a large portion of Ireland. The chemical and biological make-up of bogs make them very successful at preserving rare artifacts such as these skeletons. If you are interested at all in geology, architecture, or archaeology then you should definitely visit this building if you find yourself near Trinity College in Dublin.

Next: The Book of Kells! I have to say, I was expecting it to be a lot bigger. That being said, the book is still very thick, and would have been a lot to handle when creating a thousand years ago. The colors are still very bright which was shocking to me. I think bout how many books and pieces of art I have seen and how much they’ve faced in a much shorter period of time. It was very nice to be able to go through the exhibit to see blown up versions of the pages in the book, learn about the alphabet they used to write at the time, how the artwork fit with the text, and so much more. We did get there a little later in the morning, so it was very busy by the time we made it into the exhibit. Maybe it was just me being moody, but I found other people very rude, pushing to get close to the books and displays, standing in front for extended periods of time rather than moving to the side so others could see. I glimpsed at a few pages for a while, but with all the people bumping into me from all sides, I soon got frustrated and went upstairs to see what I’d come for: The Long Room.

This is one of the places on this second half of the trip I was most looking forward to. When I was younger, I was obsessed with reading. I would rather read than watch tv. I could finish a dozen books a week (depending on my amount of free time). So growing up, scenes like “the Library Scene” in Beauty and the Beast, my heart would race. I love literature! As I got older, my tastes have changed some, and I do love a good novel most of the time rather than an autobiography or non-fiction book. And I do watch a lot of Netflix these day. But what a room. The Long Room is by far one of the largest single collections of books I have ever seen. Some of the books in that room are hundreds of years old, if not close to a thousand years old. I was so in awe. The high ceilings, the colorful bindings, the rows and rows of books. It was amazing.

After leaving the library, I was pretty tired. I started not feeling good partway through the night, and it was getting worse as the day progressed, and my knee was not cooperating either. So I opted to split off from Mom and Dad. They were planning on going to the Jameson Distillery and I really had no interest in that. Instead, I walked through the Temple Bar section of town, treating myself to a gelato along the way, and then strolled along the river as I looped back to the house to settle in for the night with a hot cup of tea and some Netflix. Hopefully, i will have a bit more healthy outlook tomorrow after some rest and Advil Cold and Sinus.

~Kelly

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