Downtime in Dublin

August 1, 2010

Trinity College- very prestigious and home of the Book of Kells.

Aside from waking up really sick (wipe the worried look off your face, Mom), today was a really great day. Unlike the previous week where scheduled events kept us on a tight schedule, we were able to enjoy a leisurely walk down to Grafton Street, a visit to the Irish National Museum, a stroll through Stephen’s Green and a visit to Trinity College, where we saw the famous illuminated manuscript of The Book of Kells and the Library’s Long Room.

Grafton street is a strip of cultural activity where the road is bricked and set up for pedestrians to walk and enjoy different street performers and exhibits. Some of the few I saw was a man making large, multi-colored bubbles that children were popping, a bagpipe player, two men making a sand sculpture of a dog, a comedian doing stunts like swallowing balloons and walking on broken glass and various assortments of other musicians. There was a flurry of activity in the area.

Daylina, Josh, Jessica, Mary and Aubrey on the James Joyce balcony of Bewley's coffee shop on Grafton Street in Dublin today. Photo by Dr. Rick Wilber.

After watching a few of the performances, I set off to look through several independent bookstores for a complete works of Yeat’s poetry and was unsuccessful. I wanted one published in Ireland and they were all published in London or the U.S. I’d buy it off Amazon if I wanted that. But I did find a neat blue-bound book with a silver fairy on it and the best of Yeat’s poems. It WAS published in Ireland. Yeats was known for incorporating a lot of Irish folklore in his poems. Here is one of my favorites, The Stolen Child.

WHERE dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

Trinity College was beautiful and as much as I love USF, I’d do just about anything to attend a semester here. You can feel the history in the air around you and underneath your feet. It’s a sort of energy that magnetizes everything. That was increased by walking through the Book of Kells exhibit and seeing the manuscript lying in its glass case. The pages are so ornate and tediously written and decorated. What a beautiful artifact. Even more breathtaking was the Long Room in the library of the college. There were two stories of books in the long room, all hundreds of years old and lining rows and rows of shelves. There were also busts of famous Irishmen of note and artifacts from Irish history, including the country’s oldest known harp, made of willow and ornately carved with Irish decor.

Torie writing her observations about Irish culture in her journal.

Dr. Wilber, as always, gave us some great background history on the Irish as we walked. He also gave us different assignments depending on the credits we are earning for this trip. Mass Comm and Society was asked to watch Irish TV and compare it to its American counterpart, Professional Writing was asked to write a travel story lede on an aspect of Dublin and Directed Readings was asked to purchase some books by Irish writers to read. Every night, we write in our travel journals, going through our reporter’s notepads and deciphering our scribbled observations throughout the day to form into a more coherent journal entry on our experiences in this country. Not only  does it help us keep our thoughts and assignments all in one place and is required for a grade, but it is really neat souvenir of our trip. Mine will be stuck into the scrapbook I’m making.

A bubble blower on Grafton street entertains passerbys and children running to pop them.

Two men on Grafton Street sculpt a dog out of sand with brushes and small tools.

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