Saturday, March 17, 2007

St Patrick's Day, Dublin

Happy St Patrick's Day, everyone.

I personally had a lovely one. I went out before the parade and grabbed breakfast at a little cafe, and then met up with a friend and kept him company while he ate. By the time the parade started I was back at the hostel. I watched from the second floor (first floor, for anyone on this side of the pond, as in 'the one above the ground floor') and managed to get some pretty decent pictures. I won't know if there are any real keepers until I upload them-- sometime in the next few days.

After the parade, I headed over to Trinity College to check out the Book of Kells; a full-color illuminated bible dating back to 800 AD. The exhibit also includes The Long Room; a 60-meter long library room with two floors of stacks and a barrel-vaulted ceiling (put it this way: the Jedi Archives in Star Wars episode II are a direct, futurized and digitized copy). It houses over 200,000 of the library's oldest books; some of which date back to the fifteenth century. There are also a series of fabulous busts, including classic thinkers like aristotle alongside more modern faces such as Shakespeare, Bacon, Locke, and Parnell. There's even one of Johnathan Swift.

I spent the entire afternoon there, and ended up going through the exhibit twice. The first time I got there just ahead of the post-parade swarm, but they ended up catching up to me. There was a big crowd around the book of Kells, and then a fairly loud crowd in the long room. The second time, the place was much emptier. I ended up just sitting in the long room for the better part of an hour, taking in the smell of the books and the beauty of the architecture. Photography wasn't allowed inside, but I suppose that's just as well, because I can't imagine pictures capturing it.

And speaking of things pictures can't capture, the Book of Kells itself was incredible. I've seen shots of it, of course, in textbooks and the like. But they simply can't convey the intricate detail, the vividness of the color, or the sheer weight of history behind the book itself. This book, and the smaller one being displayed with it, were created 1200 years ago. I wonder if the scribes who copied it out and the artisits who illuminated it ever imagined that their work would still be around--and on display, at that-- more than a millenium after their deaths.

I wonder what relics of our time, 12oo years from now, will be left over to speak for us?

This evening, I'll probably go out with friends and try to get some good shots of the Dublin St Patrick's Day nightlife. Tomorrow is the UK Mother's Day. I also got some really good news today about my workload that's going to make it a lot easier for me to finish all my papers.

So all in all, a very good day. Tomorrow, I'll be holding a friend back home in the light during Meeting for Worship. I hope everyone has a lovely St Patrick's Day.

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