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Musings Abroad: A Day in Dublin

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“Did we just buy movie tickets?”

Of course, we both knew the answer. My friend and I had just made the impulsive decision to watch a movie, our euros having been replaced by two thin printed receipts. Our excitement soon turned to shared and tangible uncertainty as we stepped out into Dublin’s streets.

After all, how many tourists buy movie tickets when they’re visiting a country? That just isn’t very…touristy.

Our day started like this: A stop at a cheap grocery store, then lots of direction-asking before we found ourselves at The Book of Kells, located at Trinity College. I painfully drove away my desire for hot coffee and entered the exhibit.

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A sculpture at Trinity College (Photo Credit: Anna Groeling).

The Book of Kells is an illuminated Latin manuscript of the four gospels that dates back to the 9th century. It is now over 1000 years old from when the monks wrote it, surviving viking raids and the Cromwellian period. The name comes from the Abbey of Kells, where it lived during the medieval years. The monks, who each contributed their own individual artistic styles, dedicated their lives to The Book of Kells.

As someone who dedicated their day to be decidedly caffeine-free…it was a humbling experience.

The Book of Kells exhibition began with a story of the monks. Once we entered the section for the manuscript, it gave me the overwhelming impression that as a college student, I knew nothing about patience. I stood starting at the complex Celtic knots and elaborate ornamentation of mythical beasts and humans. How much time did this take? Certainly more than the last paper I wrote. 

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A marble bust in The Long Room at Trinity College (Photo Credit: Anna Groeling)

Trinity College is also home to one of the world’s greatest research libraries. The Old Library has almost 3 million volumes in its 8 buildings. Quite appropriately, the first marble bust I noticed was Shakespeare. Followed by him are a long line of great figures, such as Locke and Aristotle. It’s a treasure of literature and one of my favorite Ireland destinations, to say the least. If given the opportunity, I would return just to see the Old Library.

Our wandering feet next lead us to the Dublin Castle and St. Stephen’s Green, which is Ireland’s famous Victorian park. We escaped the afternoon rain by finding a free art exhibit and Christ Church Cathedral. The latter had breath-taking flying buttresses and a large crypt that displays a mummified cat and rat, both which became stuck in an organ pipe.

Before we found ourselves in front of the movie theater that night, we caught a tour bus to the Guinness Storehouse and had seen both Grafton Street and the Temple Bar.

Irish charm and humor had not been lost on us. Locals would offer us help if we just pulled out a map and one tour guide gave us a ride on his bus, so that we could get out of the rain. So when the daylight ran out and shops closed, my friend and I found ourselves with the two movie tickets. It turned out to be the best way to end a perfect and busy day. Our feet certainly thanked us for it.

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