Tag Archives: Book of Kells

Tuesday at Trinity

Today we stuck close to our Trinity College “home” after a weekend of traveling around the Irish country- and seaside. We slept well and took the morning fairly easy. I stocked up on some provisions at the little shop on campus, and then I did three loads of laundry simultaneously at the launderette (for €15 or about $20!). Mom and dad kept me company, and Reed showed up to help tote the clean piles of clothes back to our apartment. Small, yet large, blessings indeed.

Then we ventured out to Temple Bar for lunch, returning to The Quay (say “key”). This is where we ate our first meal in Dublin. We again were quite pleased with our food, the atmosphere, and the cheerful staff. Abbie had bangers and mash and Jackson had cottage pie, so they are becoming good Irish kids. I enjoyed my mushy peas with my fish and chips, so I’m right there with them. Reed had (another) burger. :) My folks shared salmon, and dad tried a “Guinness Black.” This is where black currant syrup is added to the Guinness, resulting in a sweeter pint. He liked it better than normal Guinness, but I just don’t think it’s his drink. He will likely stick to Coke from here on out. [Sidebar… I neglected to mention yesterday that our bus driver told me how Guinness is very good for pregnant women due to the iron. The saying “Guinness is good for you” is wholeheartedly endorsed over here!]

Back to our day… When we returned to campus, we went to the Old Library to go (wait in line to) see the Book of Kells. This is Ireland’s most treasured possession, so it is a true must-see (even though we had seen it before). It is a beautifully decorated, illuminated Biblical manuscript dating from around AD 800. After you read about the book, how it was made (it took 185 calves to make the vellum pages!), and see some other ancient manuscripts, you go into a dimly lit room and there it is, in a big glass case under soft lights. There are four volumes but only two are on display at any one time. We saw an open page in the gospels of John and Luke. It truly is beautiful (no photos allowed).

But, it gets even better, in my opinion. Next you ascend some stairs to enter the Long Room, which is the amazing old library. It looks like something straight from Hogwarts (sorry for yet another Harry Potter reference; they will likely keep coming). There are two levels of tall, wooden bookshelves, and the rows are lined with statues at each end. A bonus this time was an exhibit of Brian Boru, the Irish king who battled the Vikings and died in the battle of Clontarff in 1014. The artwork in this exhibit is magnificent (see/read more here). I was looking forward to seeing it as I had read a bit about this part of Irish history (thanks, Faye!), and I marveled at both the art and the story.

We walked around campus a bit after we left the Old Library, and then we wandered back to our apartment for awhile. I took my folks out for a little shopping (we had to replenish our Irish shortbread cookie supply), and we FaceTimed with my sister and nephew so mom and dad could get caught up on the happenings in Iowa. Reed left to meet up with the students for class at “their pub” out in the suburb of Clondalkin where their home stays are. I cooked some scrambled eggs in an aluminum takeout pan (we have no cookware) and made some toast for the rest of us for dinner. Pretty gourmet (not). We have tomorrow in Dublin before heading to Edinburgh early Thursday morning, so we will see what the day holds!

Exploring the sights, sounds, and tastes of Ireland

As I write this, our students are at their service placements for the first time. Can’t wait to hear how their experience is! (More on that tomorrow. )

Yesterday was a very fine day indeed! We met up and made our way through the Book of Kells exhibit in the Old Library at Trinity College. History within history within history. The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript of the four gospels that “represents evidence of a scholarly and artistic culture of the highest achievement.” (Killeen, 2012) There’s more on it here. After that we were led on a walking tour of Dublin by Sean Finnigan, a Dubliner of many years. On that tour we learned about the history of the south side of Dublin, passing through Trinity College (where we heard some anecdotes about Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker, as well as a few other former students at Trinity).

From there we walked through the city soaking in what we could about Irish history and culture. Perhaps the most interesting point of the tour came at its end (2.5 hours into it!) in the old House of Lords. It was there that Mr. Finnigan exlored the political and religious divisions here while invoking William of Orange and his father-in-law James the II,  the hoi palloi, the Protestant ascendancy,  and, eventually, Bill Clinton and the peace process in Northern Ireland. Certainly well worth our time.

We wrapped up our day at Oliver St. John Gogarty where Jamieson impressed us all with his ability to down copious amounts of food! All in all, a great day.