Tag Archives: Trinity College

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!

Special Guests

Today I woke early and headed to the airport to fetch my parents. They arrived on time and had a fairy easy journey from Iowa (via Chicago). They commented on how it takes about the same amount of time to fly to Dublin as it does to drive to Indianapolis (which my dad had just done for our nephew’s AAU basketball tournament), and it is a whole lot easier than flying to South Africa! Perspective can be a helpful tool!

We stowed their luggage at their Trinity City Hotel as their room wasn’t yet ready (it was only about 9:30) and we headed to our apartment. The kids and Reed were glad to see them, and we visited for awhile over morning beverages. Then my folks, Abbie, and I headed out to catch the big green “hop on/hop off” bus tour. I thought it might be a nice way for them to get oriented to Dublin without too much exertion.

We hopped off at Merrion Square and visited Oscar Wilde’s statue, something I had been wanting to do. We hopped back on the next bus and got lucky with witty live commentary. So, rather than hopping off again, we rode most of the rest of the route before meeting Jackson and Reed for lunch. We heard a bit of history, a pinch of humor, and skosh of sarcasm while winding through Dublin. It is a very interesting city with lots of character…there are a few sites I’d like to go back to and hop off to visit.

We lunched again at The Duke and enjoyed sandwiches, soup, and chips (aka fries). My dad had his first (half) pint of Guinness,which I think he enjoyed. We get to tour the Guinness storehouse tomorrow, so it will be fun to learn more about the Guinness family and their legendary black liquid. Then I got my folks settled into their posh hotel room so they could relax and freshen up before Riverdance.

Speaking of which, it was amazing! The dancers and musicians are so incredibly talented, and to see Riverdance in Dublin is beyond compare, in my opinion. The finesse and coordination exhibited is hard to put into words…truly spectacular. The show grew a little long for the kids, and my folks were pretty tired by the end after their super long day, but it was a delightful evening. The students enjoyed it too, and they were headed home after a full day. Here’s hoping everyone – all 10 of us – sleeps well!

Walking tour & welcome meal

Our Monday morning started in a leisurely fashion which was good, as 3/4 of us had trouble falling asleep (Reed did not). The kids and I had lunch in as Reed met his students and Tony for a Book of Kells tour at 11:30 (the rest of us will see it when my folks arrive). When they were done, they came by the apartment and got a quick tour…we want them to feel welcome here (they’ve designated themselves as our other four adopted children, at least for three weeks). :)

We all departed to meet up with Tony and our tour guide for the afternoon, Sean Finnegan. (A highlight for me was getting to meet Tracy Dicks, the London-based AIFS staffer who set up both this and the Cape Town program!) Sean is a lovely older gentleman who knows a lot about Dublin. As he works for the tourism office, he promised to tell us no lies while on the tour…he had quite a wit about him and often tried to stump us with questions about his city. :) Our 60-90 minute walking tour ended up being about 150 minutes, and we didn’t even travel much distance! We strolled from Trinity down to St. Stephen’s Green, which is only about 1/2 mile away, and back, stopping frequently to hear about the sites. It was interesting most of the time, but everyone grew tired by the end of it. The kids (all six!) handled it well, and we were proud of them.

We had some time to return “home” in the afternoon before our welcome dinner. We met the students and Tony at the front gate of Trinity and headed toward Temple Bar around 7:00. We were ushered up two sets of stairs to a nicer restaurant setting at Oliver St. John Gogarty’s, which I didn’t expect (I thought it would be more of a pub setting, which the first two floors are). We had a lovely dinner, complete with duck for Hannah, lobster for Jamieson, steak for Kayla and Tony, sole for Jamie, pork loin for Jackson, Irish stew for Reed, fish & chips for Abbie, & veggie lasagna for me. We sat there long enough to make room for dessert, so it was a fun celebratory type of meal. We heard about the students’ home stays, which are going well, along with other things they’ve done to explore the city, both together and separately. They are a really great group of individuals, and we are so glad each one is here with us!

We returned home around 10:00, still fairly awake…it doesn’t get dark here until about that time, so our clocks are a bit shifted. We all slept well (I am writing this Tuesday morning), and are ready for another Dublin day!

Our arrival & first full Dublin day

We arrived midday Saturday after an easy journey, and our American Institute of Foreign Study (AIFS) guide, Tony Langan, was at the airport to meet us. All but one of our students was on our 10-hour flight from San Francisco, and the other one was waiting with Tony when we arrived. Tony sent the students in one taxi to their home stays, which are in a suburb of Dublin, about a half hour or so from city center. He rode with us in our taxi to settle us into our accommodations at Trinity College, right in the heart of Dublin. We have a nice apartment  and feel quite lucky.

Sunday we ventured out for a stroll through the Trinity campus and Temple Bar, a neighborhood of cobbled streets (complete with shops, bars, & LOTS of tourists) for lunch and groceries. The weather is lovely, a mix of sun and clouds and mid-60s. Here’s a recap of what we saw and did…