Trinity College and the Book of Kells


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June 21st 2015
Published: October 22nd 2017
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Geo: 53.3441, -6.26749

For such a bookish group of travelers, our Trinity College visit was such such a thrill today! Attended by Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde, the college also houses the Book of Kells which is a collection of the four gospels of the Bible. Monks over 1000 years ago printed the Bible on vellum (calf skin from nearly 200 calves) and created painstaking illustrations using colored paints made from plants, lapis lazuli, and crushed bugs. The reds, golds, and blues that have survived these thousand years really are the richest hues still today. Then we entered the Long Room in the college library which is home to 200,000 volumes of books. The high arched ceiling and the aisles of volumes smelling of leather and time commanded an air of reverence while marble busts of Shakespeare, Homer, and Milton looked on. I wanted to enter the climate - controlled research room and crack open a volume of Dante with my gloved hands.

For the afternoon our group split up based on interests. Many shopped for Irish souvenirs and others ventured into museums and strolled around Dublins's city streets to see the sights. My group visited the Irish Nat'l Museum to see the recently exhumed "bog men" whose ancient bodies were well preserved by the peat bogs of Ireland. We could make out pained facial expressions, body hair, fingernails and even fingerprints that Phil commented really humanized the bodies.

We also strolled past the Famine Memorial built to honor the 4 million victims of the Irish potato famine (half the population ).We marveled at the architecture of the harp bridge, its graceful lines echoing the curvature of a harp. Then a group teenage boys in wetsuits climbed the bridge, only to leap off in the chilly brackish riverwater below. Even in their thick Gaelic accents, "Ahhhhhhhh!!" sounds the same in any language.

Dinner was traditional Irish stew followed by a live performance of Irish music and dancing. The band trio was comprised of a lead guitarist, an accordian, and young boy on the baghran with lighning-quick hands. They played "7 Night's in Ireland" by the Dubliners and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2, and even "Brown Eyed Girl." For these and the traditional Irish music, they gave us parts to sing or i structions to clap, inviting total aufience participation. The dancers jigged and spun, and when given the opportunity, Mackenzie jumped at the chance to go up on stage to learn the broom dance. He was such a good sport and quick learner in what is a complex dance involving high-stepping over a broom handle and quite a lot of jumping and hand-eye coordination. What a perfect ending to our time in Ireland! Tomorrow we set sail for Wales.


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22nd June 2015

what a wonderful description of your day! sounds like an excellent mix of experiences and a great taste of dublin!
22nd June 2015

DANG, is that cool!!

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