Monday, October 31, 2011

My Big Fat Irish Vacation: Day 2: Dublin

"Life is what happens while you're making other plans." 
                                                                     Paul McCartney

Sir Paul knew whereof he spoke. Our plans were to set out bright and early our second morning, get another car and set out. Unfortunately, I woke up about 4 o'clock in the morning with a migraine. As checkout time approached, it was getting no better. Luckily the hotel had no problem with out staying and the rental car company seemed relieved that they could have another day to find a car with an automatic transmission, so we stayed on. By early afternoon, the pain of staying abed while being in Dublin on a fall beautiful day was worse than the headache, so we set out. We soon discovered the Hop-On Hop-Off buses. You pay you money, and can hop off and on the buses as they go along their routes the rest of the day. Sweet!

Bodhran Player at Statue of Molly Malone

The plan was to stay on the bus and get an overview of the town, then carefully pick where we would spend our time. Trinity College blew that bit of sensibleness clean out of the water. We could not resist and Hop-Off we did. Trinity itself was beautiful; the students were out in droves, soaking up the sun after what from all accounts had been a cold, wet summer. We got a bite to eat at the student union and just enjoyed the ambiance of being on a college campus, then set out to find the Book of Kells and the Long Library.

Quad at Trinity College
The Book of Kells was impressive - we are talking about one of the world's cultural treasures. Created on the Scottish Isle of Iona, it was brought to Kell in Ireland in the early 800s to prevent it from becoming Viking plunder. Now it and several other books of the period are housed in rooms kept dim to protect them from the ravages of light, surrounded by panels detailing the lives and times of the monks who created them.

The Long Gallery at Trinity College

But it was the Long Room that made me a happy woman. I love libraries anyway, and being in amongst more than 200,000 old books in a gallery more than 200 feet long - it was sublime. I sat quietly while Tom checked out the displays that was set up down the center of the main isle - what I saw of them made me very grateful for modern medicine - and felt the last remnant of the migraine finally drift away.

We found ourselves an art show in the college gallery to look at - Alice Neal, what a treat! then set out and roved the streets of Dublin, just to see what we could see.
Harpist in Dublin. Yes, I love street musicians!

Street Near Trinity College, Dublin
We eventually wore ourselves out and hopped back on the big red bus and did the rest of the tour from the top of the double-decker - it's a bit disconcerting to be going down city streets when you can't see the driver! We didn't have time to get off at any more destinations, but at least we got at least glimpse the other sites, from the Dublin Palace to the Guinness Brewery to Phoenix Park. Dublin's a fantastic place; I wish we'd had more time to really do it up right.

More amusing signage. I guess well-mannered, inoffensive cycles and motorcycles will be allowed to stay.

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