Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dublin's Trinity College and Old Library

Saving the absolute best to last, what I wanted to do more than anything was visit Trinity College while in Dublin, Ireland, for just those three short days at the beginning of September.  Lucky for me, it was only 2 blocks away from my Blooms hotel!

But first, before I get to that....on the other side of the hotel from Trinity, on the Temple Bar side, is the River Liffey that runs right through the center of Dublin.

This is the Ha'penny (pedestrian) Bridge from 1816, made of cast iron.
She's a beauty!  And look at all those love padlocks.

Every day we had chances to walk back-n-forth over it.

When Irish Catherine was guiding us around the city, she took us to the Garden of Remembrance, a memorial dedicated in 1966 to the memory of "all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom."  It was opened on the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising that I mentioned in my previous post.

 At one end of the memorial is the Children of Lir statue from the Irish legend
of 4 children who were turned into swans for 300 years before being freed from their spell.
Catherine says the statue is very powerful for all Irish children growing up with the legend.
The church nearby is the Findlater's Presbyterian Church from 1863.

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Now, to Trinity College!

Upon entering the college complex, you immediately see the Campanile bell tower from 1853.
It took my breath away.  And I thought of my mom who loved college campuses.

A PhD student, Stephen, gave us a short tour of the campus before we visited the old library.
Outside the Berkeley Library stands Sphere Within Sphere from 1996,
a bronze sculpture by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro.

But it was the Old Library we wanted to see because of the Book of Kells!

 It began with the founding of Trinity College in 1592 and this is its long hall.
It's the largest library in Ireland with over 5 million volumes.

 Did I ever mention how much I love wood!

Did I ever mention how much I love old books and manuscripts!
We DID enter the rooms where the Book of Kells exhibit is housed.
But sadly, NO PHOTOS ALLOWED.  And we all obeyed.
But I bought a perfect book about it which I will treasure forever....

And I bought Celtic Art the Methods of Construction for Astrid 
who is dying to start drawing her own Celtic designs.
Catherine says they had to learn to draw basic Celtic designs in school!

So, there you have it...the end of my 3-day Dublin trip.
Totally worth every minute, nickel and dime!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dublin, Ireland, continued...

So, after our fun with the English gents a week ago, let's see more of Dublin!  I've already shown you Christ Church Cathedral and Irish Beer and Mrs. Brown.

You can't possibly talk about Ireland without showing the colorful store/bar fronts.

Or the doors!
When I was there in 1998, I bought a poster of The Doors of Ireland!

And what about the windows?!

And the signs!

I especially loved the Gaelic added to signs.
I wanted to learn the language on the spot!

You know me and architecture....

Why not make it come alive with artful graffiti!

One could spend a lifetime just phtographing graffiti, I'm sure.
Don't you love it when it says something profound!

Sometimes the art is under your feet.
Hundreds of people walk over these "artifacts" every day.

If you don't pay attention, you miss them and walk right on by.
I wonder how many I missed?

But how could you possibly miss the school girls?!
I'd love to chat with them for an hour or two and learn about their school life.

You can't talk about Ireland without mentioning St. Patrick, of course.
Don't you love that he banished all the snakes, chasing them into the sea!

Then there's Molly Malone, too (top left).  In Ireland, June 13 is Molly Malone birthday!
The song about her is supposedly best sung by The Dubliners here.
Cockles and mussels in Dublin's fair city!
And that Spire of Dublin, btw, is 398 ft. high, Dublin's Monument of Light.

Irish friend Catherine, who once lived in Dublin, was our guide.
When she took us inside the Post Office, we got our history lesson about the Easter Rising rebellion of 1916.  Seven members of the Military Council organized it and were holed up here for 6 days.
All 7 were executed but the movement towards Irish independence was achieved.

 We were in and out of restaurants/cafés throughout my three days.
How can you say NO to that!

Impressions.  Impressions.  Impressions.

I'm saving the best for last:  Trinity College and the Book of Kells be continued...

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Totally unrelated, today is my turn at Vision and Verb about Manipulation as Art:

(from the subway in Budapest, Hungary)

Monday, September 16, 2013

The British are Coming

HA!  And just like that...they came, they saw, and they conquered a smattering of what it is to be Dutch!

Chad (l) and Chris (r) are longtime Shutterchance friends we see every year in England.
Surely you remember Chris from our times on the farm.
They arrived at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport late Tuesday afternoon last week,
after which we headed straight for our favorite pannenkoeken restaurant out in the polder.

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After breakfast the next morning, Wednesday, we took a walk around our citadel city-center.
Chad's wife's name is Norma, so how serendipitous to see a barge with her name in our city!

We even had a nice rain during our two-hour walk.  Refreshing.
We love our city!

After an erwtensoep lunch, we did a long drive along the dijk on our side of the Merwede river,
before crossing the Zaltbommel bridge and stopping at the Loevestein castle across the river from us.

Who can say NO to a good, strong castle, almost in our backyard!  Moat included.

What's fun about it is that's it's very interactive.  Can you tell?
Kids of all ages love to play around there.

On our way home from the castle, we stopped in Woudrichem, the city next door.
We see her church across the river from us...our sister city, and nicely quaint.

That evening we had Astrid's spinach AND apple taarts for supper.  Lucky us!

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 First thing on Thursday morning we headed off along another dijk to this WWII Bunker 599 from 1940.
It's been split in half so you can see inside it.  Most educational for us all.

Then we stopped at Werk aan het Spoel, a stop on the Waterlinie for the water taxis.
It and the bunker were both firsts for Astrid and me.

Then we were on our way to Wijk bij Duurstede, one of our standbys for visitors.
But we first stopped in Culemborg to see their ornate city hall (bottom-center),
and after Wijk bij Duurstede to see Buren.  They'll all in the same vicinity!

It's the drive-through windmill and the Duurstede castle that we keep going back to.
We love that place.  

We ate breakfast at home each day (top image), of course,
but that night we went out on the town where we live in Gorinchem and had a blast.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The next day, Friday, we had till late afternoon before getting the gents back to the airport.
So we headed north of the airport to another favorite city, Hoorn, where we ate lunch and walked around.

And then one last stop before the the Schermer windmill museum "below sea level."
It was the first time inside a Dutch windmill for the guys, to see how it works
and how people can actually live in one.

In fact, it was the best thing to save till last because the one thing they said most surprised them
was to see how much of the Netherlands really IS below sea level.  While driving on the dijks you can actually see it...with water high on one side of the dijk and dry land way below it on the other side.

Yes, Folks.  This is the Netherlands.
God created the world but the Dutch created Holland.
And once you realize Schiphol airport used to be land under water, you finally get it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Irish Beer and Mrs. Brown

Before our guests from England arrive later this afternoon, here's another quickie from my short trip to Dublin last week....

Without getting into the whys and wherefores of how we think of beer and Ireland almost simultaneously, let me just show a bit of what I saw.  And tasted, yes!

 First of all, Catherine and I had rooms at the Blooms Hotel, across the street from Trinity College.
Location, location, location, as they say!
It so happens this hotel gives all its guests a free drink at their Vat House bar (with the hat).
We chose a Guinness, of course, just to pamper me.
Did you know it starts out light when first poured (middle-left) and then "settles" before becoming black!
Neither did I.

 Throughout my 3 days, I saw enough beer vats to drown the sorrows of many armies.

It probably helped that our hotel was in the Temple Bar area of the city, known for it's night life.
But to be honest, there are over 1,000 pubs in Dublin...enough for everyone anywhere.

So, don't be shy.  
Whether a beer or whiskey, you'll be sure to find something you like.
Even a Dutch Heineken!

I know I showed you this in my last post but...I did like my TWO Guinnesses.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Now switch gears to something fun we saw when Catherine, Robin and I were walking around the area.  Remember that Catherine is Irish and actually lived in Dublin once upon a time.  So to have her lead us around to non-touristy places was for Robin and me..."the luck of the Irish!"

One such place was the Moore Street Market, Dublin's oldest food market.
The people who work the stalls have a witty and friendly reputation; 
they and their food stalls are Dublin institutions; and they speak in a strong Dublin accent. (Wiki)
And the women bring their produce in baby buggies!

But THE surprise of the day was finding a TV production filming a segment for Mrs. Brown's Boys.
Yes, that's Mrs. Brown, a.ka. Brendan O'Carroll, Ireland's famous drag-queen/comedian matriarch.
Catherine sent me the very first episode of the sitcom, if you want to get a taste:


And that reminded me of Mr. Charlie Brown from Atlanta, Georgia, our famous drag queen.
Oh dear me.  We took daughter Amy there many eons ago and had a hoot.
He's now 60-something and is even better than I remember.

If you want to see a good Tina Turner impersonation, this is it.
I kid you not!

To be continued after the Brits leave....

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland

So, I made an executive decision!  Trier, Germany, from early July (2 months ago!) can wait.  Let's see Dublin first.  It is too much in my blood right now to stand waiting.

But, because our two "boyfriends" from England (Chris and Chad, from our Shutterchance blog) are arriving on Tuesday, staying till Friday, I can only give you an appetizer today.

In fact, this is how I ended my short Dublin stay this past Sunday-to-Tuesday...with the Christ Church Cathedral, just a 10-minute walk from my hotel before heading back to the airport.  My girlfriends, Catherine and Robin, were already off separately for the day.  I was on my own....

Isn't she a beauty, facing the sun like that!
Born in 1030, she's the elder sister of Dublin's other medieval cathedral, St. Patrick's, from 1191.
(Let's save St. Patrick's for when Astrid can join me.)

Upon entering any church/cathedral, I always go for the "first impression" of space.
Heighth (68 ft.) and breadth, front and back, ceiling and floor.

Then the details quickly follow!

And because design enthralls me, I was mesmerized by the medieval mosaic floor tiles.

And the chairs!
Astrid was the one who noticed the 3 together...for Catherine, Robin and me.
And Astrid wasn't even there (unable to take time off work)!

Besides the pulpit (bottom center), I saw 3 lecterns.
The one near the pulpit (top center) is medieval...old enough.
But the one on the right, in the crypt, is supposedly Ireland's oldest of them all.
(To be honest, I'm confused...because the one on top may be a replica?)

Speaking of the crypt, it's the largest not only in Ireland but in all of Great Britain.
It's also Dublin's oldest surviving structure, from 1172-1173.
It houses the 2 oldest known secular carvings in Ireland
as well as memorabilia from King William III and James II.
But what takes the cake is the mummified cat & rat, found trapped in an organ pipe in the 1850s.

And that was the end of my short Dublin trip!
Soon you'll see the rest, with these teasers...

This is from Catherine's phone, taken by the Murphy's ice-cream man.
L-to-R:  Ginnie, Robin and Catherine.
Did I mention we're all from Vision & Verb?
Catherine is Irish and Robin lives in NYC, on a business trip with her hubby.

See.  Bloggers really DO meet up and have loads of fun!
Robin is the one who visited us in the Netherlands a year ago,
but Catherine was a "first" for us both.

And because I promised myself at least one Guinness,YES, I DID IT.
As we say, the proof is in the pudding.  (Thanks, Robin.)
(Actually, I think I've already acquired the taste.  HA!)

To be continued....