I took the DART into Dublin somewhat early on Saturday morning so that I could take one of the earlier tours of Trinity College and the Book of Kells. I arrived at the college while one of the tours was already taking place so I waited for the next tour. While waiting, I went to the Tourist Office on Suffolk Street and made arrangements for my shuttle bus to Newgrange. I had originally planned on going Tuesday but decided I didn’t want to have any set plans for Tuesday since I wasn’t going to be getting back to my room until pretty late Monday night so I booked it for Sunday. I had wanted to do the earlier shuttle, but I couldn’t get into the city until about 1 hour after the shuttle would have left so I arranged to take the 11:15 shuttle. Ok, back to Saturday.
After killing time at the tourism office and walking around the area surrounding Trinity College I went back and waited the 10 minutes it would take for the tour to start by wandering around the campus center. The buildings are beautiful, but I really loved seeing all the trees growing the the campus center. The huge tree on either side of the green space is an Oregan maple which has grown unusually larger than in the wild because it has been protected by the large building surrounding it and nourished by the fact that it was planted in a former graveyard. This was actually a magnolia tree in the same area. I really loved it. I just realized I didn’t take a good photo of the huge maple.
The college history was really interesting to hear and I was amazed when I had my chance to go into the Old Library and see the Book of Kells. I spent quite a while in the exhibit before entering the room that housed the Book of Kells. The exhibit explained the history of the Book of Kells; who did the scribe work, the techniques used, the sources of various colors of ink, why certain symbols were used for certain people and things in the book, the convulted path that led to the Book of Kells being at Trinity College and a little info about some other books similar to Kells that are at the library as well.
After meandering through the exhibit I went to see the actual book of Kells myself. It was amazing that something so old is still in such good condition. Some pages are entirely illustrated, beautifully, to tell the overview of that particular book from the Bible, and then the pages with the text also have certain letters in an illustrated fashion as well. By that I mean that a certain letter, ex. E, has a certain symbol to represent it. So it is really beautiful to look at. I had to hold my own, though, and persevere in order to get close enough to look at the book. There were a couple other books to see, but I can’t remember the name of them.
After looking at the book of Kells, I took the stairs into the long room of the Old Library and saw the exhibit there. All the book shelves are cordoned off so you could walk them but you can see all the old books on the shelves. The exhibit at the center of the room was all about the mystery/detective novel history and several old books were on display (under glass) to chronicle the history of this genre.
After the Trinity College tour and the Book of Kells exhibit I just wandered around. I first went to the National Museum of Archaeology and History. It was a free museum and there was so much to see. Probably the most amazing thing to see were the “bog people”; these are people who for some reason were killed and then thrown into a bog. They were found hundreds of years later, most fairly well preserved, most had skin like leather but I could actually see the red hair with its curls on one of the men. I spent a couple hours there, but like the Book of Kells no cameras were permitted and so no photos to document my time spent. After leaving the museum, I went to St Stephen’s Green (a very beautiful park, not far from the college) where I wandered around and sat to eat some chocolate biscuits. You’ll notice that the bridge in this photo looks very similar to the one on my blog. I wonder if it’s the same place?
After leaving the park I walked through Grafton Street (a popular pedestrian stree with great shopping) and saw live music.
I decided to go to the Dublin Castle again and tour it’s inside this time. I had the heritage card, so the visit was already covered, and I wanted to kill time. It was a pretty interesting visit. I learned a lot about it’s uses in the past as well as modern time. Photos were permitted in all areas except one (the small, beautiful room that has several pieces of art and for copyright reasons no photos are allowed). On an important note, I found out how Earl Gray tea came to be, there was an Earl De Gray who had tea plantations and this was his tea.
After touring the inside of the castle, we went outside and saw what remained of the original castle with the powder tower (that was subject to a fire which blew up the original castle) and the castle walls. It was amazing to see.