Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weather Updates and Trinity College

Here in Dublin the weather is schizophrenic. I walked out this morning wearing a light turtleneck. Immediately regretting the decision because it was a nice summer to fall day with temperatures around 70 and the sun shining bright. Becky (met at hostel: from Wisconsin: here traveling), Zach and I sent out for a tour of St.Stephen's Green, Merrion Square, and Trinity College. By the time we got to Trinity College it was getting a little colder and then started raining. Currently the rain is still drizzling (doesn't do much more usually) and it is extremely humid. Yesterday it was so windy that my cheeks still feel flush from wind burn.

Trinity College

We decided to take a tour of Trinity College. Aside from the Guinness factory (which I opted out of), Trinity College is about the only other thing really worth it as a tourist attraction in Dublin – in my opinion.

We paid 10 Euro for the tour/Book of Kells exhibit. The tour guide was fantastic. His voice and descriptions were perfect for a tour. We found out that the bell tower in the middle had a bell that rang twice; once for finals and then again for funerals. It was done for examinations by man and examinations by God, so to say.

On each side of the bell tower was a statue. One of the statues was a man of some importance to the college’s founding. However, he was strongly against women attending. He was quoted as saying “over my dead body women would attend” Trinity. Funny enough, the British at that time made him sign a waiver for women and he “signed with his hand but not his heart”. He promptly died a few days later.

The trees in the courtyard behind the bell tower were actually brought from Oregon. Supposedly this particular type does not typically grow as large as these, but because of the rain, shelter of the buildings and the fact that their soil is rich from being a pervious graveyard, they seemed to do quite well.

Before we reached the exhibit hall with the Book of Kells, we saw another library where outside was some sort of sculpture. It has had many interpretations, and you can take your pick. Some say it was the artist’s intention to portray a world of new coming out of the old. Another interpretation is the world of technology destroying the natural curve and face of the world itself. Some just say it looks like the Death Star!

The Book of Kells is a compilation of the four gospels written in Latin by monks around the 9th century. They have torn the thing into quarters to “preserve it, while making some of it available for the public to see”… best idea? ... maybe, maybe not. The two pieces of the book for the public to view is laid open to Matthew 14: 12-23 and a very intricately designed title page. After seeing the book, the tour continues (self-guided) to the Old Library where thousands of works in Latin are stored.

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