Emerald Isle, 3rd time's a charm

Trip Start Dec 16, 2001
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Trip End Ongoing


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Monday, September 20, 2004

Where better to absorb the culture and soak up some knowledge than by staying in Trinity College. A grand (roll that r!) institution, eye-catching architecture, and my humble abode for a week. With the students on summer holiday there was plenty of relatively cheap accommodation. The library on campus houses the famous book of Kells, but wait until the end of the exhibit! As you exit the exhibit you are led though the 'longroom'; high vaulted ceilings and hardwood everywhere, this amazing hall is lined from floor to ceiling with old leather books and houses Ireland's national symbol, their oldest harp.

Dublin actually takes it name from being the site of the 'black pool'. In the middle agaes the black pool was formed at the site of 2 rivers converging. Now the pool is buried deep below ground, Dublin's street level have risen by about 5m since then. They don't need it anymore...Dublin is famous for a different type of black water now!

The Fringe Festival was in full swing when I arrived. Theatres with between 12-20 people, half of which obviously friends of the performers and lots of over-acting. It was the sad shadow of the last couple of years at Edinburgh's Fringe. Was worth a try! Oh well, back to the regular Irish tourist route and off to the Jameson Distillery to partake of the water of life.

At the turn of the century a daring lad (or lass...politically correct as always!) made off with a rare and valuable mirror from the ladies dressing rooms of the Dublin Castle. Typically the mirror is very gold and very OTT. Three exist in the world today. This outstanding piece of ostentatious decoration was later to be recovered from a sheep farmer in county Wicklow. Not to his taste, the farmer had painted the mirror black, removed the glass and turned it into a bed-head!

But I wasn't here just for the tourism, eventually I had to settle into a lecture theatre and try to remain awake through 3 days of lectures. What was I thinking!! In an attempt to keep everyone upright the cooling was turned down to near arctic levels and caffeine was supplied on tap. Irish nightlife, a black + white dinner function at the Guinness Factory and copious free alcohol, any wonder that narcolepsy was rampant throughout the lectures.

Somehow my backpack seems heavier......
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