Ireland Stories and Tips

Touring Dublin, Trinity College

Trinity College campus, Dublin Photo, Dublin, Ireland

April 7/2002: Most of us made it up for breakfast and then a few of us made our way around the corner to the antiques fair which was in the old gym of Newman House. We had seen a sign at the intersection all weekend advertising the sale for Sunday morning and we were not disappointed! Oooh it was lovely! Lots of linen, jewelry, china and other odds and sods of memorabilia packed into the two aisles and what looked like the stage area. I bought some old linen and a really interesting ring and Carole bought some jewelry as well.

We all converged back at the bar in the hotel for 1 p.m. for a goodbye drink and a Show And Tell for our morning's purchases and activities. We had lots of laughs hugs, tears (that would be me!) and a group photo taken. We scattered in taxis, some to the airport, train stations and Carole and I to the Jurys Montrose which is out in the suburb of Donnybrook. We are taking a bus tour around Ireland and there is an orientation tour of the city at 3. We just made it with about 20 minutes to spare once we got checked in.

Our Globus tour guide is called Bill Dalton and Alex is our driver. Bill, as I later found out, is from Dublin county but speaks with and educated British accent due to, as he says, the school he went to thrashing it out of him. He was very knowledgeable and very witty and he made the week very enjoyable. Our group is about 40 in numbers, about 9 Canadians, a couple from New Zealand and the rest from the U.S.A.

Our tour took us around the main sights of Dublin and included a stop at Trinity College to see the famous Book of Kells in the old Library. It is a decorated manuscript of the four gospels copied by monks circa 800 A.D. The experts believe the main illustrations, or illuminations as they are more commonly called, are the work of 3 or 4 men. The exhibit had lots of illustrations and posters about the making of the book along with some other old manuscripts, totaling 4 other lesser known illuminated books, the books of Durrow, Mulling, Armagh and Dimma. The Books of Kells and Durrow are displayed open to elaborate pages under glass in a darkened room. The detail of the larger pages and the intricacy of the artwork around the writing is unbelievable. It's difficult to really take it all in but I bought a book that has lots of the detail work enlarged.

We later viewed the Old Library at the college which was founded by Elizabeth I in the later years of her reign. The library used to be a single floor but was filled so they removed the roof and raised it about 150 years ago. It's full again now. It's a long room, with natural light streaming in between the shelves lined with over 200,000 valuable old books. The ceiling is high, soaring arched and the aisle is lined with sculpted busts of philosophers and famous men associated with the college over the years. You can't take photos and I *really* wanted to. The lines and light were truly a sight to drop your jaw and lighten your heart.

We walked around the college green afterwards, taking photos of the buildings from the various eras under clear blue skies. We found an ATM tucked away around the corner before meeting back at the bus for the rest of the drive around O'Connell Street and Parnell Square north of the Liffey and the Grand Canal which along with the Royal Canal, were built to connect the Liffey, Lee and Shannon rivers. The canals weren't used for transport anymore once the train system was built.

We got back to the hotel in time to sort out a quick change of clothes before a meet and greet in the bar before dinner. We used a smaller elevator that is usually used for luggage and the damn thing got stuck and wouldn't open on our floor with just 6 of us crowded in to it. We buzzed and hollered and were heard by some guests who alerted the front desk who released us after about 15 minutes. Whew!

We met a few people in the bar, most of whom had just flown in so were struggling to keep awake after overnight flights. Dinner was all right but nothing spectacular although the soup was pretty tasty. Early night tonight as we have an early start tomorrow.

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