In a test of wills, our first lecture in Ireland was the morning after the Guinness brewery tour. After a quick breakfast at the local market, we made the trek to the university. However, this was not just any university. We were having class at Trinity University.
Trinity is a world-class university in the heart of Dublin. Established in 1592, Trinity College Dublin has a beautiful campus and is a tourist attraction in its own right. The Trinity Library hosts the Book of Kells and tours of the campus itself are provided on hourly or half-hourly basis. We did both of those things, but first, we had to learn about the Irish Famine.
The Irish famine, which definitely occurred during the 19th Century (inside joke), had far-reaching consequences for not only Ireland, but Britain and America as well. Our lecturer, Professor David Dickson, has had a distinguished career in the history of Ireland and Dublin. The famine was devastating for most of Ireland, and it had far reaching consequences. The typical meal for lower class Irish families consisted of mostly potatoes and milk. The famine was a catastrophic event for the people of Ireland especially the poor. The famine also had political consequences in the relationship between Ireland and the British Government in London. The famine also drove people to escape to the new place. Some immigrants families who came to America and became successful helped finance the independence movement in the early twentieth century. I wish could write more from the lecture, but this was still one of my more painful days so I didn’t write as much as I should have.
After this riveting lecture – and yes, it was riveting – we had lunch. At our professor’s suggestions, we stopped at the Porterhouse Central on Nassau Street. It was just a short walk across the street from the university. . I did not realize it at the time, but I was craving potatoes so I ordered bangers and mash. This was one of the best meals I had during our time abroad. While plenty of our classmates ordered beers, Cristina and I gravitated toward ciders this entire trip. Ciders are perfect for day drinking while traveling. It provides a small but non-debilitating buzz with very little crash affect. Ciders are rarely heavy and often refreshing.
After lunch, we headed back to Trinity for the tour. Led by a young, and according to the girls, handsome scholar, the tour not only taught us about the history of Trinity but many of the traditions of the university.
After the tour, we headed to the library. The main attraction is the Book of Kells. This 9th-century text is a highly decorated book of the gospels. The paper is made out of true vellum or calfskin. They actually have two volumes on display. One is opened to text while the other is opened to a decorated page.
Also, part of the library is the Old Library, which contains the famous long room. For any book lover, this is a breathtakingly beautiful building.
After the tour, we decided to use our hop on and off bus tour. Hop on and off tours are a great way to become familiar with a city. Because we had such limited time in Dublin, we used this tour as a preview of what we want to see on future visits.
We ended the night by randomly meeting our flatmates in the Temple Bar area and having dinner with them. We then walked home. I’m pretty sure this was a semifinal night for the World Cup. Our hostel was full of Brazilians and Germans. However, my palindromic rheumatism was in full swing, even though I didn’t know what it was. I had actually woke up around 3 that morning and took a shower, and then another around 6. We didn’t even stay up for the game which is rare for us as we love soccer especially the World Cup. My pain made our trip to Dublin not as memorable as it could have been. We need to go back.
However, the next day was a slightly better day and thank goodness because we were headed to Belfast.