Since I didn’t have my computer with me overseas, I’ve made a day by day entry of my trip! I still have a lot of research to do for my project but I had a great time. Enjoy!
Monday, March 16
Today is the big day! I got up early to workout before my long day of traveling. My flight was at 11:30AM out of Minneapolis. I left my house a little late and was at the airport at 10:50AM. Cutting it a little close but it worked out perfectly and I made it through baggage and security with time to spare. The flight was a short one to Chicago, where I had a 5 hour layover before my flight out to Dublin.
While checking in with Aer Lingus (Ireland’s airline) I met a nice older couple who were flying home to a small town north of Dublin. They were very friendly and offered some tips for places to eat and what to do, what to avoid, and what not to miss. I boarded the plane with much anticipation and excitement.
Its about an 8 hour flight from Chicago to Dublin. I was on the red-eye so I tried to get a little bit of sleep.
Tuesday, March 17
I arrived in Dublin at 7AM on Tuesday (2AM our time) and was just in time to get to my hotel and head out to the St.Patrick’s Day parade near city center.
It was a little chilly while I waited over 2 hours for the parade to start but I had a good spot right at the front. The parade finally started about 30 minutes late but was a very interesting parade and the crowd was a lot of fun.
After the parade I went back to the hotel to shower and nap. My sister’s high school’s band was in Dublin on tour so that later that night I went to go watch them play.
Wednesday, March 18
Today I was headed to Trinity College in the heart of Dublin. Trinity College is over 400 years old and is holds the traditions of the City of Dublin. Trinity is one of the world’s leading research-intensive universities, ranked 13th in Europe and 49th in the World (Times Higher Educational Supplement global rankings 2008). Also, Trinity College was filmed in several scenes from Harry Potter. (example: the dining hall)
Trinity was founded just before the Tudor monarchy had completed the task of extending its authority over the whole of Ireland. The idea of an Irish university had been in the air for some time, and in 1592 a small group of Dublin citizens obtained a charter from Queen Elizabeth incorporating Trinity College juxta Dublin. The Corporation of Dublin granted to the new foundation the lands and dilapidated buildings of the monastery of All Hallows, lying about a quarter of a mile south-east of the city walls. Two years later a few Fellows and students began to work in the new College, which then consisted of one small square. During the next fifty years the community increased. Endowments, including considerable landed estates, were secured, new fellowships were founded, the books which formed the beginning of the great library were acquired, a curriculum was devised and statutes were framed.
Trinity College is home to over students, and since 1661 it has be the resting place of the Book of Kells and several other ancient manuscripts. The Book of Kells was written around the year 800 AD and is one of the most beautifully illuminated manuscripts in the world. It contains the four gospels, preceded by prefaces, summaries, and canon tables or concordances of gospel passages. It is written on vellum and contains a Latin text of the Gospels in insular majuscule script accompanied by magnificent and intricate whole pages of decoration with smaller painted decorations appearing throughout the text. The manuscript was given to Trinity College in the 17th century and since 1953 has been bound in four volumes. It has been on display in the Old Library since the 19th century. Two volumes can normally be seen, one opened to display a major decorated page, and one to show two pages of script.
I was able to see the entire exhibition which features large scale details from the pages, an interactive history of the book, and related manuscripts like the Book of Armagh, the Book of Durrow, the Book of Mulling, and the Book of Dimma.
Also in the Old Library of Trinity College where the exhibit is housed is the Long Room. Once the main chamber of the Library, it contains over 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books.
They also had a sick bookshop/gift store. :)
Late that evening, I had tickets to see Lord of the Dance at the University of Dublin. I might be a dork, but I eat that stuff up.
Thursday, March 19
Thursday morning I checked out of my hotel and got on the bus to head for Cork. Its about 3 hours down the eastern coast in southern Ireland. The bus drove through many pretty rural towns and I decided I wanted a pet lamb. Preferably one of the charcoal colored ones. They are the cutest.
I arrived in Cork at lunchtime. I dropped my stuff off at the b&b, grabbed a quick bite and headed into the central town about 4 blocks away. I was visiting Barbara Hubert at her book-binding shop to see what’s up and make a book or two with her. Barbara has been in the business for over 20 years and was trained in Germany in book arts. Her shop was small and had two floors of workspace. I met several of her assistants who were very friendly. While they were working, I took a few minutes to snap some photos of her shop and various machines, supplies, and books. All in all a good afternoon spent and I left with 2 finished books and materials for me to complete a third.
Friday, March 20
On Friday I went to Blarney Castle. It was about a 15 minute bus ride out of town. It was a pretty area and very green (as was all of Ireland.) I got there early enough that it wasn’t too busy and I was able to leisurely walk around the property. YES, I did kiss the Blarney stone. It’s kind of lame actually. You lay down on your back and lean backwards into a hole while some guy holds you while you kiss the stone. I’m sure he loves his job. All I could think of was how many people already had their mouth on the rock before me so I’m not sure if I actually made contact. They push you down and pull you back up so fast anyways to keep the line moving.
Later in the afternoon I headed to the Cork Printmaker’s Print Studio. Located in renovated warehouse space established in 1991, it’s a non-profit fine art workshop providing facilities, materials, and artistic opportunity for all artists. They exhibit both nationally and internationally, as well as hold public lectures, offer adult education courses, and provide artist residencies. I met with Frances O’Conner, the assistant director. She took me around on a tour of their multi-story facilities and we spent some time looking at prints in their gallery on the 2nd floor. I was really interested in the wide variety of printing techniques they used and the very cool results. Everyone in the shop was pretty cool and I chatted with some of them. One of the guys there, Brian Barry, prints with photo-intaglio plates. His stuff is really neat and here is a link to his blog.
Saturday, March 21
Saturday was another travel day. I left Cork to head northwest to Galway. It was a little over 4 hours on the bus. And again, lots of cute baby lambs :)
There was a huge rugby match between Wales and Ireland on that night so after I cleaned up at the hotel, I headed into town to watch the game and grab some food at one of the local pubs. Could Ireland win the Grand Slam for the first time since 1948?? I was in Paddy’s Pub in Galway ready to witness what could be a 61 year upset at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Ireland was trailing by 6 points at the half but there was plenty of time left to cover. All was going well by the end of the match until Ireland give away a penalty on the half-way. This would be the last kick of the game. The penalty kick drops just under the posts and Murphy takes the ball to finish the game off as Ireland take the historic victory. Celebrations on and off the pitch as the Irish enjoy the win…
Sunday, March 22
Sunday was a day of exploration. It was mother’s day in Ireland, plus it was Sunday so almost everything was closed. I took the bus out to Moycullen and got off, not knowing that another bus would not be by for another 5 hours. Needless to say, I saw just about everything that small town had to offer and I got to pet a few wandering farm dogs. I must have looked pretty cold and pathetic 3 hours later when I gave up and just sat at the bus stop to wait. Many tour buses passed me by without a glance until a Citylink bus pulled over to see if I needed a ride even though I had paid for my trip back with another bus company. So hell yes I took the ride and was back an hour earlier than planned.
My Dad texted me to let me know about a great resturant near Galway that was in his “1000 places to see before you die” book or something of that sort. It was called Moran’s Oyster Cottage in Kilcoghan (southeast Galway.) I’m vegetarian but I’ll eat fish occasionally if I’m in the mood but I refuse to eat anything with legs or shells so I was skeptical of trying this place. I decided to go anyways and I’m so glad I did. The food was amazing and it was a great atmosphere. I ordered baked salmon and veggies. Delish :)
Monday, March 23
Monday I left Galway and headed back to Dublin. I got off at the city center and rode the DART down to the National Print Museum.
It was sick to me and I wanted to sneak out some of their letterpress supplies that I can’t find anywhere for the life of me. The NPM is home to a fascinating collection of artifacts and objects relating to printing history. It is a place to see and hear how printing has developed and how books were composed entirely by hand for centuries, how mechanical typesetting machines were operated in the newspaper industries and how historical presses was the wooden presses of the Gutenberg’s time redundant. This museum was one of my favorite things I visited.
I went to the Temple Bar area to eat dinner. I found a little place called Botticelli. It was a small Italian resturant that had won multiple awards. As I ate the gnochicci I could see why. It was delicious and I got some gelato for desert.
Tuesday, March 24
Tuesday meant it was time to leave Ireland. My hotel was close to the airport so it was easy to shuttle over in the morning. I checked in the required 3 hours early and had time to kill. There were some fun shops in the airport and that kept me occupied for a while. Security going back into the U.S. was tedious. I probably went through 3 checkpoints before I even got to my gate at the Dublin airport. Small world while I was sitting at the gate when I saw Matt Duckett and Jenny Bushman. Both were printmakers at UW-L and now print over at Greenbay. We chatted for a bit before boarding the plane.
It was a long flight back to Chicago but there was a movie and tv to watch on the plane so that plus a nap equalled a good flight.
Once in Chicago, I had 2 hours before my flight home to Minneapolis. It was 5PM central time but that was 10PM Ireland time so I was pretty tired.
After flying overseas with Aer Lingus and their great customer service, flying Northwest seemed even worse than usual. It’s a 50 minute flight and we were landing just as soon as we took off it seemed.
My Dad came to pick me up at the airport at 9PM (2AM Ireland time) and I was barely able to stay awake the ride home despite all the stories I had to tell.
Wednesday, March 25
Getting back so late on Tuesday and having some jet-lag left me pretty messed up and I took the day to recover and repack my things to come back to La Crosse.