Today was an exciting day as we visited the old library at Trinity College in Dublin and got to see the Book of Kells. We couldn’t take any photos of the book itself, but that’s okay—this meant that we could just immerse ourselves in the beauty of the book. Marcie and I have been especially excited about seeing the real thing since we had recently watched the wonderful animated films The Secret of Kells.
If you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it. The artwork is beautiful—it’s like watching a picture book that has sprung to life before your very eyes.
In any case, after viewing the exhibit that featured the Book of Kells, we ventured into the old library. As fate would have it, the current theme of the exhibit in the library is “Upon the Wild Waves — A Journey Through Myth in Children’s Books.” The exhibit features panels discussing the history and evolution of children’s literature through the ages, and making connections to various world mythologies. There were some interesting copies of contemporary children’s literature in the display cases, such as a Gaelic translation of Harry Potter.
The timing of my visit here is quite fortuitous. Since starting this trip, I’ve undertaken a project that is connected to the mythology of the world established in my Kendra Kandlestar series. I’ll say more about that project in future posts; for now, it’s enough to celebrate just how creatively rewarding this trip has been.
As for the library itself, it is simply stunning—a literary cathedral, with tome after tome staring down at you from on high. Here are a few photos, though they hardly do it justice:
After the library, we did something of a complete opposite nature, and that was to take a tour of the Guinness brewery. The bartender back at our local pub in Vancouver is originally from Dublin and advised us weeks ago that this tour was well worth doing. So, even though my mom doesn’t even drink, we decided to join the lengthly line up and explore one of Ireland’s cultural institutions.
The tour actually outshone my expectations, consisting of seven floors that take you through the process of brewing Guinness and its history in the city. I actually found the section on the coopers one of the most interesting parts of the tour. Of course, they don’t use wooden barrels anymore, so it was quite neat to learn about this more-or-less lost craft.
Here’s a photo from the tasting room, about half way through the tour. This is Marcie smelling one of the different aromas.
After you sniff the different aromas, you then get taught how to properly taste a Guinness by sampling it from a miniature glass. At the very top of the tour, you can enjoy a regulation-size pint of Guinness (free with your ticket admission) and get a 360-degree view of the city.
After this tour, we just walked about the city and explored. It’s actually quite busy in Dublin this weekend due to some football matches. Actually, I’m not sure it’s football. A woman on the bus tried to explain it to us, but the only thing I really understood from her is that only Ireland plays this game, and that makes them quite happy, because they always win. So, whatever they were playing today, I know it was Dublin versus Mayo. The arena isn’t that far from our hotel, and so we found ourselves in the crowds whenever we were out on the street and could continually here the cheers emanating from the local pubs. It’s quite a fun atmosphere—it reminds me of the Grey Cup celebrations we have in Canada, in which everyone seems to flood into the host city for one weekend. There’s another match tomorrow, of sort of the other, so I expect the festivities to continue—though we ourselves will be headed out of the city to explore New Grange and the Hills of Tara.
Can’t wait! In the meantime, here are a few doors from the day . . .