Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Love:

Airplanes,
Cemeteries,
Fires in the Hearth,
Caravaggio,
Kanafa,
Hebrew,
Evensong,
Country Drives,
Books,
Bakery Bread with Homemade Jam, and
Dave.

Dublin was all of those things but Dave.  Which made it an almost perfect trip.  Courtney and I arrived in Dublin early Thursday morning, the 3rd.  We spent the whole afternoon wandering around central Dublin.  Thankfully all the 'attractions' are see-able by foot.  Below are some of our city pics:  






It turns out that Courtney and I are intellectuals through and through (sometimes we think we're just 'playing Cambridge', so this was a bigger revelation than you would think!).  Our first stop in Dublin?  The National Museum of Archaeology and History (mostly for Courtney, the archaeologist).  The second?  The National Library of Ireland (to see the W.B. Yeats exhibit).  The third?  The Irish National Gallery (mostly for me, the Humanities grad):


We're such nerds.  We see the mosaic floor of the history museum, and I say,
 "Courtney, do  you know what this reminds me of?" Courtney: "Yep, the
Beit-Alpha Synagogue."Me: "Exactly."  


Um, Courtney is an osceologist.  Translation: She's obsessed with
bodies - the kind of bodies that were once buried and have now
been unearthed.  The Irish museum has 'bog bodies,' which were
buried in the Irish peat 2,300 years ago and were, in many cases,
extremely well preserved.  Courtney was so excited (she was adorable).
I just thought they were nasty!


VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED!!
THE FOLLOWING PHOTO IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF STOMACH!
 (I will make it small in case you wish to avoid it):


See what I mean?  Yuck.  

To make up for the smallness of the last picture, this one gets to be extra-large.  This picture is evidence for one of the best moments of my life.  Overly-dramatic?  Maybe.  But I devoted a lot of time and heartfelt effort to my undergrad capstone paper about Caravaggio, and I have been dreaming of standing in front of a life-sized, original Caravaggio (religious of course...fruit bowls wouldn't have done it for me).  This was my MOMENT.  I stood in front of Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ and got fabulously teary-eyed.  Actually, I was in a small, high-security room, surrounded by a Poussin (Lamentation over the Dead Christ - famous), Picasso, Velazquez (Kitchen Maid with the Supper of Emmaus - also very famous), Monet, Van Gogh, Vermeer (Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid - famous), and Rembrandt's Landscape with the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, which has always been one of my favorites.  I was in absolute awed heaven.  Ah, yes.  THAT was the feeling that kept me trudging through my major all those years....

What did we do after touring our museums you might ask?  We stopped for some traditional cheesy Irish soda bread (yum) and went to Trinity College (yes, scholarly once again.  I'm afraid we never got away from it):





We visited Christchurch and St. Patrick's Cathedral, where we went to Evensong (our favorite way to visit chapels.  We get to go inside without paying a fee and we get to worship with them.  What could be better?):




Throughout the weekend, we stayed with a woman on our program.  She has lived in Dublin nearly all of her life and has a beautiful old home on a quiet street in southeast Dublin.  She was so good to us; I absolutely melted over her brown Irish soda bread toast and homemade apple and raspberry jam made with fruits from her garden:





On Thursday we spent some more time in Dublin museums.  For instance, I learned about these fascinating Irish natives in the Museum of Natural History:

Who knew there were ever deer so utterly massive?  Turns out that 12,000
years ago they became extinct because the food supply couldn't support
their size, or their need to grow a new set of Noah's-ark-sized antlers
every year.  Geesh.  
We went to a lecture about the Sisters of Sinai at the Chelsea Beatty Library (given by a Cambridge professor... do you see what I mean yet?).  Sylvia (our friend and host) ate lunch with us at the Library cafe, which served excellent Middle Eastern food.  We topped off with kanafa for dessert, which was delightful.  The last time (and first time) I ate kanafa was in the Old City with Courtney and Laura.  Just for old time's sake:

(The pistachios on top nearly killed the nut-allergic Laura, so we usually
don't talk about it.  But tactfulness aside, the stuff was really tasty!)

The Chelsea Beatty Library is actually a museum made from a very rich man's famous manuscript collections. It was very fun exploring the ancient Gospels, Bibles, Torah scrolls, Qur'ans, and Buddhist books on display. It made me seriously wonder, if I were very, very rich and knew all the right people, what would I collect? 

We spent the Friday evening and Saturday morning at Maynooth College just west of Dublin listening to more lectures (...) and supporting Courtney in her paper-presenting.  Hooray for finding strange rooms in old seminaries:






Why doesn't BYU look like this?  Honestly!
The highlight of the three days came on Saturday afternoon, when Sylvia drove us to Glendalough (pronounced Glen-da-lock).  This national park holds the remains of a 1000-year-old monastic community, nestled in the hills surrounding two gorgeous lakes.  Though it was a few weeks too early to enjoy the splendour of spring, it was still beautiful and the ruins and cemetery made me happy as a clam:












Gorgeous.  And we took the long way home, down winding, lonely country roads :)  Afterwards, Sylvia lit a fire in her sitting room fireplace and Courtney and I read and chatted in beautiful, homey comfort for an hour before leaving for the airport.  It was the perfect end to a(n almost perfect - remembering Dave) weekend.  

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amy!!! Nicely done! I love this blog! I loved how you drew on past experiences at BYU and Jerusalem! You live quite the life! These pictures are beautiful. Thanks for coming with me to Ireland. :) You're the best friend a girl could ask for.

Anonymous said...

Amy. Wonderfully done. A pleasure to read and a close second to seeing in person.
bf

paulita said...

dear amy - this was absolutely incredible. i loved every word and pixel. i think we are kindred spirits. hoping the next installment is just as awesome.

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