The Books of Kells and Dublin Castle

Trip Start Aug 25, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2007

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Due to some rather poor planning on my part, my flight back to Denmark left me 6 short hours in which to get back to the airport to leave for Dublin.  Add in a 2 hour time change, Daylight Savings time, and another 1 hour time change to Dublin, and I pretty much had no clue what I was doing or what time it was.

I got a cheap flight on Aer Lingus which is probably the best budget carrier ever.  As I had had previous plans for this week that fell through, I didn't actually know what I was going to do in Ireland.  I had booked a tour last minute for Northern Ireland and a hostel for the rest of the week in Dublin.

Luckily, Dublin is the most touristy city EVER.  And they speak English!!!  I know that seems obvious but I had some major reverse culture shock when I realized how extremely easy it was to figure everything out.  As soon as I got off the bus, I also spied, right next to the James Joyce statue, none other than a QUIZNO'S!!!  Being in Denmark, where, let's face it, they just don't make a good sandwich (not a big fan of smorrobrod...sorry), that was my first stop after checking in at the hostel.  The hostel was a bit of a walk but a very nice one down the river, just removed enough from the bars to be nice and quiet.

After my yummy Quizno's, I followed various street signs to Trinity College.  Being a nerd about manuscripts, The Book of Kells was first on my list.  Not having read up on it though, I was completely unprepared for the awesome.

The Book of Kells exhibit was interesting, but having taken classes on manuscripts, was a bit repetitive though informational for the normal person I'm sure.  Then, dun dun enter a room to view...TWO WHOLE PAGES!!!  The problem with books being only 2 pages can be displayed at a time.  There were also three other beautiful manuscripts on show and they were all really amazing.  Definitely a style and quality of illustration you don't get on the average manuscripts available to study in college in the US.

Then, climbing a set of stairs takes you into the long room.  It's a 2+ story barrel vaulted room stacked to the ceiling with rare books.  While the stacks are closed off to the public, the center of the hall features various manuscripts out on display including important historical documents to the Republic of Ireland.

Like a good tourist, I went to the gift shop and bought prints and postcards.

It was already a bit late in the day but I managed to wander into Dublin Castle just in time for the last tour of the day.  We had a really great and friendly tour guide.  Dublin Castle is strange because it's like being in a major government building like the Capitol building in Washington DC.  Except...there's no security.  The tour guide just says, follow me and don't wander off or security might get concerned.  The building is really amazing since part of it is outfitted for modern day government use, parts of it date back to British rule, and archaelogical excavations underneath the building show the original castle of which little remains on the outside.

Having only slept a good 4 hours the previous night I headed back to the hostel and passed out for a good 10 hours.
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