Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cork and Dublin!!

Hello again! This week has really flown by, and since we checked in last, I have been to Cork, Dublin and the North of Kerry.

Stained-glass windows.
Since coming to Kerry, we have learned to be connoisseurs of stained glass windows. Harry Clark was a famous stained glass artist who worked under the man that designed the Cathedral in Chartres. He came back to Ireland and designed hundreds of windows in until he essentially worked himself to death. His windows are pretty easy to pick out because of their deep, rich blues and reds and their intricate designs that do not allow a lot of light to shine through. We stopped at two different churches to view Harry Clark windows on the way to Cork.

This chapel is St. Honan's Chapel, which is located at the University College Cork. Apparently, the fish on the tile are bad luck on students don't walk on them if they want good grades. Harry Clark employed deep blues in his
pictures of Mary because lapis lazuli, the shade of royalty. Lapis lazuli is a valued shade because it invokes a precious stone once only found in Afghanistan and used to dye the clothes of royalty. You can't tell very well from this picture because it is so small, but the blue and red colors of this Harry Clark stained glass are vibrant and stunning. Of course, if you wanted to see an expanded version, you could visit my photo sight. You might notice that the window on the right (which is done by Harry Clark) lets significantly less light in because of the intricate design.

Next, we went to the National Art Museum of Cork, which did not allow pictures. You should go there, though, it was pretty.
Our final stop in Cork was to the historic jail, which was built by the British to hold Irish riff raff and dangerous prisoners. The jail itself is spooky and rumored to be haunted (if you can believe that). During the famine, people purposely committed crimes to be put in the jail. There really isn't a lot to say about this, except that prison in the 1800s was not a great place to be. Some famous prisoners that once resided there were the prisoners from the 1923 Rebellion who attempted to uprise and secede from Britain.
This is me, cavorting with wax models of Irish riff raff from the 1800s.


Anyone who knows anything about the trip actually knows that we will be going to Dublin for two weeks after this week. However, because Kimber and Dorothy are graduating and will be leaving this week, I prematurely went with them. We had a great time! After the adventure in Cork, we took the train to Dublin, which lasted about two hours. As there were no restaurants open when we finally got to our hotel, we settled on KFC and Carlsburg beer for dinner (around 11:30 at night). It was wonderful, and felt soooo good to sleep in a real bed!
The next morning, we got up
bright and early to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. The Book of Kells is one of the most valued pieces of Irish culture, and is a beautifully decorated copy of the four gospels made by early Irish monks. To read a better history than I can give you, click here. This was yet another site where we were not allowed to take pictures, but if you ever go to Ireland, you should definitely try to see it. Also, if you want something from the Trinity College bookstore, let me know! I'll be back there soon and they have some cool souvenirs :-)
After the book, we went to the National Museum and saw an exhibition on the "Bog People." Again, could not take pictures. The bog people are basically prehistoric remains of human bodies that have been preserved in
bogs for literally thousands of years. For more information on these people, click here. They were especially fascinating to me because we have been reading poems by Seamus Heaney that deal with these people and their circumstances. It was chilling to see them in person both because of their appearances, but also (as Kimber put it first) because of the knowledge that every person preserved in the bog was murdered for one reason or another. Many of the deaths were sacrificial killings, although some of them were for crimes like adultery or theft. One body we saw was from 400 BC, but the bog had even preserved its hair. Crazy. This picture is not with the Bog People, in case you are wondering. It is in front of the Liffey, Ireland's equivalent of the Thames, although not quite so mighty.
After the National Museum, we went back and practically collapsed on our beds from exhaustion. Walking around Dublin is tough work! We went to a restaurant called the Kingfisher Grill, where Kimber and I proceeded to have amazing meals. We ordered hamburgers with bacon, cheese, tomato, lettuce and a fried egg on them-- not Irish, but delicious! For dessert, we had the restaurant's special called "jelly and ice cream," which we actually found out meant jello and ice cream. Yes, I did have to post the picture of my hamburger.

The next day, we journeyed around Dublin without a major plan, mostly because we didn't want to be too exhausted to move again. We went to Christchurch Cathedral and Saint Patrick's Cathedral, both of which were spectacular.
This is a picture of a heart in the Peace Chapel of St. Laud, part of Christchurch Cathedral that holds the actual heart of Archbishop St. Laurence O'Toole. This particular peace chapel was nice because of the prayer book it offers to any visitors passing through.
I particularly liked the Crypts at Christchurch, but apparently they thought I was annoying... Ha ha...

This is in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, which was beautiful. Jonathan Swift, a writer I am very fond of, was actually the Dean of St. Patrick's for a period, and is buried within the walls of the Cathedral. Check out A Modest Proposal to read something of Swift's :-)

Here we are, being inspired, right under his tomb!

Needless to say, we had a great time in Dublin. I am so sorry to have to say goodbye to Kimber and Dorothy, though :-( Have a great week- installations about yesterday's trip to North Kerry soon!

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