Ok, time for catchup on what we have been doing since about a week ago :-)
After going to Belfast, we had a full day in Dublin to explore. We revisited some great places like the National Museum (which we were not actually able to take pictures in), but also got to see some great new sites. For instance, the Jack Yeats gallery at the National Art Gallery was amazing. Jack Yeats is the brother of W.B. Yeats and is one of the country's most famous
modern painters. I really enjoyed seeing his work because most of the paintings in the display was of the West and places we had been to around Kerry. Yeats really captures the "spirit" of Ireland with his vivid brushstrokes and colors that even I could identify with.
After the National Gallery, we went to the Natural History Museum, which is often termed a "museum within a museum" because it has not been altered since it was created during the Victorian Era. All of the animals are stuffed and sitting in cases, just as they would have been "back in the day." It does feel a lot like going back in time, but we seemed to amuse ourselves just fine. Once, I touched a walrus before noticing the "do not touch sign." It was really gross to the touch!
And now you know why I really came to Ireland. Believe it.
On Saturday night, we were so exhausted from our capers that we did not go out "pubbing," but actually stayed in to do homework and watch Pride and Prejudice. It was great to kick back!
On Sunday, we went to see a great tour of places in Dublin that were affected by the 1916 Rising, when a group of Irishmen (and some women) attempted to overthrow British rule. Unfortunately, while the original rising was supposed to have thousands, a large portion dropped out because the 22,000 guns they were supposed to acquire sunk when the British found out about the rising. However, a group of brave souls decided to continue forward. Although they did not beat the British, they put up a great fight and are commemorate everywhere today.
On Tuesday, we went to see Kilmainham jail, where the main leaders of the 1916 Uprising were kept before they were executed. Eamonn de Valera, the future President of the Irish state, was actually kept there after the rising, although he was not killed (duh) because he was an American citizen, as well (on his mother's side).
This is us having tea in the jail!! Tee hee, couldn't resist documenting it :-)
These are the cells that many of the prisoners from the 1916 Easter Rising were kept before their execution. It is the location where many men had to say goodbye to their wives-- very sad stories.
Later that evening, we went to see Arcadia by Tom Stoppard at the Gate Theatre on the North Side. It was an amazing play, and I hope to go see it again with my parents!
On Wednesday, we did a Joyce Tour of the city. James Joyce, the greatest modernist writer of all time (according to Professor Conner) wrote his books Dubliners and Ulysses about the streets of Dublin, where he grew up.
This is the door of #7 Eccles Street-- the most famous address in modernist literature because it is the door that belongs to Leopold Bloom in the book Ulysses. The actual #7 Eccles Street has ceased to exist, but they did save this door before knocking down the house. We went through the city, to the Joyce Center, and to a few of the houses where he lived in order to see "Joyce's Dublin." It was a great opportunity to get out of the main stream tourist part of Dublin, and see the working class world that Joyce describes in his novels.
Yesterday, we went to the original buildings that the University of Dublin used when it first began.
This is the chapel at the Newman University Church, named after the first headmaster at the University of Dublin.
This is not only significant because it is where James Joyce went to school, but it was also the first Catholic university in Ireland, allowing Irish students to get a Catholic education within the country. Later, we went to see The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (who was Irish) at the Gaity Theatre.