You’ll recognize the titles of these Dubln posts as a line from on of the most famous songs in history, and here I am snuggled up to the girl it’s all about. Molly’s acting as if she’s not interested, but believe me, off camera. . . . . .
Below, Susanne loitering in our neighborhood.
And, on the evils of ignorance. This picture appears to be an attractive but rather unremarkable green outside (in this case) Dublin Castle. But if you think it insignificant, as we did, you’d be wrong. You wouldn’t know 1) that you’re looking at the location of the dark pool (Dub-Lin, now drained and covered) where the original Viking invaders/traders set up shop ca. 700 a.d.; 2) that the criss-crossing paths on the lawn represent, on closer examination, the winding coils of a serpent symbolizing resurrection (that shedding of the skin, don’t you know); 3) that it is not only a green but a helipad for the rich and powerful who have business at the castle, and 4) that when the helicopters land at night, the eyes of the serpent light up to guide the aircraft to their place of rest. They’re all about myth and magic, these, Irish, and more power to them.
We’ve had no great drama since the last posting in the downpour because we’ve developed enough sense to come in out of the rain. And what better place to seek shelter than in the esteemed establishment (since 1759) of Sir Arthur Guiness? Quite a place consuming acres of choice Dublin real estate, but not a corporate menace by any means. They have been famous for their beneficent (i.e., rational) treatment of employees since inception, offering health and leave and various family benefits unheard of in the 18th century or even??? Haaa! today. The tour climbs seven stories through a tower shaped like a Guiness pint and ends with a great view of the city and a “free” pint of the brewer’s finest art.
Another place of shelter is Trinity College, famed since the 18th C. as the birthplace of scholarship and scholars and statesmen and presidents of Ireland (male and female) and without which James Joyce would have perhaps been unable to write a word. For the Oregon contingent, we offer here a specimen of an Oregon Maple, imported in the early 20th C. and grown to greater height and girth than it normally does in its homeland, owing, according to our guide, to the “sanctified compost” provided by the graves of the Augustine Monks upon whose graveyard it was planted.
Main attraction was The Book Of Kells, an illustrated book of the gospels fashioned (maybe) in Scotland around 800, lost, then found, then lost, then found again. But the book is so old and under so much glass, that it’s not too glamorous today. However, the library’s “Long Room” is quite impressive, as is its several-hundred-thousand-volume collection ordered by size rather than alpha or dewey. And, for us California folks, there’s this little out-of-context treat (It’s “Barkley” btw):
Another roof over the head is the historic Kilmainham Gaol (Jail).
Not quite as old as the Guiness plant, but much more notorious. If you got sentenced there, your kids went with you (hey, they didn’t break up families!), and a loaf of bread got you 30 days, buggery got you two years, and participation int he Irish Rebellion got you shot and/or hanged. During the famine people were stealing to get in because they got a cup of gruel a day, which was better than they could do on the outside even though the place housed 9000 in a facility designed for 140 and you shared a slop bucket (emptied once a day) with god knows how many others. No escapes unaided by guards in its 150+ yr. history.
The Irish Civil War was neither as long nor as bloody as ours (unless you count the decades of guerrilla ugliness that followed (follows still?), but the bitterness between North and South and between irish and British lingers, as evidenced by this battle wound sustained by the lady on the statue of James O’Connell, one of the heroes of Irish wars of Independence from England, which independence was followed by that war. This and other bullet holes were left unrepaired as a reminder . . . Why we insist on this kind of behavior toward one another. . . But I guess that’s an unaswerable question for another time.
If you’re tired of jails and universities, try a museum. The Irish National Archeological museum has the first exhibit of “bog people” we’ve ever seen. Bodies killed as far back as 300-400 b.c. and preserved in the peat bogs right down to their internal organs and stomach contents. They said one guy’s last meal was 2% buttermilk and cereal. All right, I made up the 2% part, but not the rest. They look like finely tanned leather. Utterly fascinating.
And if even that doesn’t float your boat, you can go for the very last resort–shopping. Lots of absolutely wonderful high-end-low-end shops. All over the place. We even bought a few things. Here I am in the middle of shopping for chairs while Susanne’s off God-knows-where.
Marks and Spencer and St.Stephen’s Green (without which Joyce would also have had a hard time making a literary name for himself.)
Tomorrow, it’s off to Edinburgh, somehow leaving town without a good taste of Irish music/dance. It all starts so late. . . Maybe we’ll make up for it in Scotland.
We leave you with a final helping of fanciful signs:
Note the last item: There was a line around the block. Not really.
And a new kind of Bar. . . .