Ireland: Temple Bar and Trinity College

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Highlights from a 10 day visit to Ireland and the UK as recorded during my visit.

From Dublin airport I managed to navigate us to the 16A bus, heading towards the City Center. Our purpose: locating Abigail's, an urban chic modern hostel, located in the heart of the Temple Bar neighborhood. (I'd been informed it was the place to stay, and indeed it was.) The district was a buzz of pubs, bridges, and local color mixed in with a good deal of tourists. At night, the faint street sounds and pulsing music drifted up to the third floor of our hostel windows.

Day two: we started off the morning at Trinity College, arriving so early that we ended up doing a little self-guided tour before our official tour with Jack, a college junior studying law and wearing the most striking Kelley green socks, started. He lead us through the four main squares of the school that started in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth II. (A little ironic, considering women weren't allowed to attend the college until 1904.) I adored how walkable the entire tour was and indeed the entire capital city. We ended our tour at the Book of Kells—a manuscript like none I'd ever seen— known for its exquisite calligraphy and ornate coloring, that mirrored the intricacies of Japanese artwork. As I hovered over the small glass case in a dimly lit room, I tried to imagine handling the vellum of the rebound Gospels, wondering how it would smell, trying to soak in the moment of being in the company of such an extraordinary book.

The tour ended after a visit to the Long Room, where I stood at the entrance struck by the shear awe of the moment (a reoccurring theme throughout my trip). I stood, gazing up at the long barrel ceiling and old folios arranged only by their size. Like the Gods in their heaven, researchers peered down in silence from their upper perch . It was dim. Musty. Marvelous. The perfect amalgamation of the tragedies and triumphs of the Irish people.


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