Ireland Report #2

Right, so, on with the Ireland stories.

Monday, 8/14:
After the drama with the sick and the clothes and the ickiness, Seamus finally knocked on my door around 1:30, saying that the Accomodations Office had just told him of my arrival, and would I like to join the class on its field trip to Dun Laoghaire (“Dun-Leary” for you non-Irish-speakers) because we’d visit the Joyce museum. I said yes, of course, since the class had been there since the previous Friday and I was desperate to catch up and gain my bearings.

A very sleepy DART (read: Dublin BART) ride later, we arrived and spent the next hour pointing at pretty birdies with binoculars and field guides before arriving at the Joyce Museum and Tower. I made it back to the DART with the rest of the class, then slept on the train until I reached Trinity, then barely made it up to my room before falling asleep.

Yes, Tim and all you other English Literature lovers, it was packed with first editions and notes and translations of Ulysses and several other versions of Portrait and Finnegan’s Wake and Stephen Hero. Yes, it included the round room in Joyce Tower, which is featured in the opening scene of Ulysses. No, I didn’t get pictures, but I have pretty notes, precious. There, is Senior AP English over yet?

Apparently not, for we spent the next several mornings in class discussing the nature of Nature Representation in Ireland and Irish history/culture/language/etc. with a very sarcastic professor. If you’d like, I can sum it up, but you’d really have a happier day without it. Beckett is bloody depressing.

Tuesday, 8/15:
This was the day I started eating again. I was mostly too tired and/or disoriented to feel hungry until then, and yes, Mom, I’ve been eating both well and regularly since then. Tuesday we bought tickets to Riverdance (for next Monday), explored the shopping district of Grafton Street, did a little book shopping, and basically got to know one another and our immediate surroundings. I slept.

Wednesday, 8/16:
On my itinerary for the day (after lecture, of course) were Dublin Castle, lunch near Temple Bar, tickets for Saturday’s tour of County Meath, and a bit more of the getting-my-bearings thing. All were successful, although I paid a bit more attention to the medieval excavations at the Castle than to the pretty pink and gold Georgian parts aboveground that fascinated my companions. Once we returned to Trinity, I took the Old Library tour and viewed the Book of Kells on my own. It’s a gorgeous exhibit – lots of reproductions and informative displays and videos of medieval technique, then the books themselves, and then the upper level where there’s a stunning gallery of old books. I mean, literally thousands of books, all over a century old. I love the smell in there.

Then in the evening we were to meet Seamus outside the theatre for a performance of Waiting for Godot. Unfortunately it turned into “Waiting for Seamus” but we made it in about two minutes before curtain. Actually, there wasn’t any curtain since it was essentially theatre in the round, but you know what I mean. I’ve never seen Godot performed live before, and it was just as crazy and existentialist and utterly … well, Beckett-ish as I’d imagined back in 2001 when Tim made us read it for English. After the show Seamus took us all out to Kennedy’s pub and bought us a round. I drank my first pint of Guinness not at the factory but after seeing Godot, and I think it was far more satisfying then. If you’ve ever read it or seen the damn thing live, you know what I mean.

Thursday, 8/17:
Seamus let us all sleep in, but even then not everyone made it to class the next morning — er, noon. After gathering us all with a clucking and a teasing, he herded us and our varied degrees of hangover to the National Gallery, where we endured a 90-minute feature on Samuel Beckett and his disturbing existentialism. I think I was the only one who stayed awake and actually took notes. I think the two are related. Anyway, it was filmed in 1984 with creeeeeeepy baritone voiceovers of Beckett quotes, lots of nice dark lighting, and bleak landscapes with depressed-looking old men drudging across the screen. Perfect teaser for the next bit, which was us wandering lost through the Samuel Beckett gallery. Consisting of many abstract and Impressionistic pieces of art that he either admired or owned during his lifetime. Lots of darkness and confusion. Whee. And it was such a lovely shiny sunny day, too. Grr.

Then my evening was given spice by family drama and my cell phone not working the way Cingular promised it would. Double-grr. Didn’t sleep well, but managed to enjoy the next day quite well.

Friday, 8/18:
After nearly a week in the city, I needed to get out. We spent the morning analyzing birds and their symbolism in Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which actually was pretty interesting despite the early hour, and of course half the class skipped out because they’d gotten tickets to either Belfast or Paris for the weekend. Lazy brats.

I convinced Angela, Sarah, and Laura to join me on the bus to Kildare, which is the heart of Irish thoroughbred country. We spent two hours napping on our way to the National Stud, where there are the Japanese Gardens (very formal and Buddhist and with much symbolism), St. Fiachra’s Garden (planted in 1999, and thus having grown up into its planned wildness since the last time I saw it), and of course acres and acres of pasturage full of gorgeous shiny pretty horsies. The perfect getaway.

Once we returned, we had a dinner of leftovers in their kitchenette, joined by Jessica (#1), Katie and Mandy. 3 hours of giggly girly conversation ensued. Use your imaginations.

Saturday, 8/19:
Took the tour bus through County Meath with Jessica (#2), Carrie, Cassie, and Christine. This included our bus driver, John Bolton, who claims descent from Duke Bolton who apparently owned a large chunk of Meath way back when. By the end of the day, he had the whole bus calling him Your Grace and bowing or curtseying to him. Also, he was a classic case of Never Give a Microphone to an Irishman, Especially when He’s Driving Your Bus through Little Towns Where He Grew up and Now Lives. We saw gigantic crosses, the ruins at Mellifont Abbey, and the complex at Bru na Boinne (Newgrange), and of course miles of rolling green countryside filled with cattle and sheep. Newgrange is the huge neolithic (and megalithic) monument that becomes an underground Stonehenge when the inner chamber fills with light during the Winter Solstice. They have a lottery for 20 people per day to visit the chamber during the 5 days of the solstice event. I entered. We’ll see if I get it. Ha ha.

Well, that more or less brings me up to the current moment, except that I finally managed to do proper laundry this evening. I’m sure my drying cycle is done by now, so I’ll leave you to your contact lenses and new headaches from reading far too much at one sitting.


~ by jackelopette on August 19, 2006.

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