I always thought the best way to know a city is to get lost in it. Well, I must know Dublin like the back of my hand.
A nice lady led a tour bus excursion through Dublin for us. She pointed out the parliament building where people talk a lot but don’t get anything done. Sounds like back home. She took us through the large Dublin public park which had a huge obelisk, the equivalent of our White House and a giant cross where Pope John Paul II held mass several years ago. This piqued my imagination so Josh and I got out of the bus to walk up to the platform in front of a giant meadow. I think I could imagine a million people there. Pope Francis is scheduled for a visit next year so I suppose he will draw a million parishioners too. After that, the bus drove downtown where the Irish Rebellion began in the early 1900s at the post office. You can still see bullet holes in buildings and statues everywhere.
The bus then took us to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where all the famous authors are interred. The church had an astounding collection of wood carved saints along the walls. Flags hung everywhere. Famous stones were on the floor everywhere. We heard contradictory stories about who the woman buried next to Jonathan Swift was. One source said she was a close relative who was a companion but nothing more. Another source said she was a close relative who was his wife but not legally; no one ever said anything about it to him personally because, after all, he was Jonathan Swift.
The bus next let us out at the juncture of five streets and told to be back in a couple of hours. Trinity College was nearby so our group went to the library where the Book of Kells was housed. The Book of Kells is the earliest known transcription of the four gospels of the Bible. We had to stand in line outside in the cold for a while before we were admitted. There were several joggers going by in their t shirts and shorts. Other students were sitting outside eating lunch. Others played table tennis on the green. That’s what I call being acclimated to the weather. I saw one young man have his a thick stack of papers blown from his hands across the campus. I hope that wasn’t his doctoral thesis. Once inside the library I was impressed by the high rows and rows of every book ever published in Ireland. The light streaming through the windows made them look golden. By the time I made my way to the room to the Book of Kells, I was informed access was closed because of a security system failure. I hadn’t been outside but a few minutes when word filtered out the glitch had been corrected and the room was now open. By this time I would have had to go to be back of the line again to enter the building. So I sat on the steps in the cold waiting for the rest of my group to come out, after they had observed the historic book. At least I didn’t have to witness another thesis blown to kingdom come.
We walked several blocks to the Natural History Museum. This place had the longest dugout canoe I have ever seen. I thought the ones in Cherokee, N.C., were long but this one had them beat. The museum also had the remains of a man mired in a bog for several centuries so he was very well preserved. I imagine that was what I looked like when I curled up in bed that night. I would definitely recommend this museum to anyone who only had a couple of days in Dublin and was interested in stuff bogged down in history. Next we went to the National Museum of Ireland. We had passed both of these places on the bus and I thought it was right next door. Next to the back book. On another street. This gallery is where we were all separated. Exhibits didn’t exactly flow smoothly from one to another. It was more like enter a long white hall and try to guess which door to take to the next collection. All the art was breathtaking, but it wasn’t easy to get to.
Our group then split up for some shopping. Josh and I were told about one place that was like an American convenience store but with healthier snacks. We walked back to the juncture of the five streets and looked up each one but couldn’t find it. After we placed a call to my teacher friend she directed us right to it. We had passed it several times. Josh and I felt sure we could make it back to the meeting point at the five streets. Josh found them. I walked right on past. I thought we were meeting another of the five corners. When I finally met up with everyone I spied an authentic old Irish drunk staggering by. To end the day we hiked to a restaurant for dinner. As we waited outside, I looked behind me I saw an old Irish woman with her three-wheeled walker wordlessly bumping into everyone’s legs to get through. The intimidating look on her face told us to gang way.
I wonder if she were married to the old drunk? Maybe she was the reason he drank too much.