Saturday, February 14, 2009

the dubliner

I impulsively decided to make the most of my Friday night off and take the bus to Dublin for a couple of days. I stayed last night in a little bed & breakfast, and spent my time exploring, reading, eating and I even went to a musical!

-Returning to Trinity College after a long time and feeling the immense history of the place--with Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde once calling it home and The Book of Kells calling it home now.

-A winding iron staircase in the library of Trinity College. (If anyone asks, I didn't take a picture in there!) I loved walking in and seeing stories of stories and smelling the musty, rich aroma of thousands of old books. Seeing the Book of Kells was absolutely amazing. I felt like Indiana Jones was going to bust in at any moment to uncover some secret passageway.

-The day before I went to Dublin, I looked up plays etc. in the area, but decided not to book anything so I would be more flexible. While wandering around Grafton Street, I came upon the Gaity Theatre--one I had been looking at online. Deciding it was fate, I bought a ticket to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, and it was fantastic! I've taken classes on the Joseph narratives, done hours of translating and written several papers on his story, but nothing compares to the telling of it using Latin, Country-Western and 70's music, and yes, even Elvis. It was hilarious, poignant and all-in-all one of the most entertaining things I've seen in a while.

-The lights of Dublin at night reflecting off of the river.

-Those classic Irish lamp posts.

-The flame which burns continually, set inside a huge globe of chains, as a sign of hope for all who have suffered, especially children.

-The perfect combination.

-After being told by a local person that this bookstore/coffee shop was no longer here, I stumbled upon it, much to my surprise and delight. I remember resting our weary feet here when my family and I were trekking through Dublin, and was intent on finding it again.

-The bookstore part of the shop was the same, just a little smaller than before. There was still a quirky selection of old and new, amid innovative art, comfy chairs and regal chandeliers. The Winding Stair itself actually crumbled from old age it seems a few years ago. What was once a coffee shop above it has become a wonderful restaurant (keep reading, you'll see...)

-A very Glen Hansard-esque busker. I told him he reminded me of Glen, and he said he hears this often but "I had the beard first!" He was really talented.

-A beautiful door/sculpture along one of the main streets in the Temple Bar district. I'm really not sure what it is, but with the tree afixed to it, it looks like an elaborate entrance to some secret garden in the middle of the city.

-Going back to the Winding Stair for lunch and having what might just be my favorite meal ever: rich Irish beef and guiness stew with herby, creamy champ.

-Enjoying the view on my bus ride back to Belfast, and thinking I should take little trips like this way more often.


On my edge sun said...

Looks like you had a great trip. Especially liking the look of that Stew and Champ! It looks like something I had in the Kitchen bar once.

I was just taking a look at the Gaiety's website, it doesn't say much about the cast, was it a traveling production or local performers etc, like the New Lyric theater group here in Belfast?

John Edward Harris said...

A few years ago, on my first trip to Ireland and Scotland, I visited the village of Kells. On my second trip I stayed at Trinity College. While staying at Trinity I saw the Book of Kells exhibit and as I was looking at the intricate illuminated manuscript under glass I was overcome by a feeling of awe. I thought the drawing of the mice eating the host was both amusing as well as theologically poignant. During that visit I was also part of a small group given admittance to the basement of the National Museum to see a set of stone sheela-na-gigs. Having visited both Edinburgh and Dublin, I found Edinburgh cold and stuffy but Dublin was a warm, inviting, happening place.

Your photography is great.

Mavis said...

What a great view of Dublin. The burning light was especially poignant. And Irish stew - you can't get much better than that!