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Day 13 – Aimee’s birthday

Today we plan to see some major sites — The General Post Office (not just a post office, but an important location in the Easter Rising of 1916), O’Connell Street, the James Joyce statue, and the Book of Kells at Trinity College.

We head across the river Liffey to the north side and walk up O’Connell Street. There’s many statues in Dublin dedicated to important figures in Irish history. First is Daniel O’Connell who used political, rather than violent, means to affect change in Irish rule in the early 1800s. The statue has a beautiful base below a stately figure of O’Connell. Next we see William Smith O’Brien who was sentenced to death for high treason in 1848 (that’s a good thing in those days of British rule). We also see an impressive statue of James Larkin “an Irish trade union leader and socialist activist” according to Wikipedia. The quotation is powerful as are the roses left there by someone.

Below the Spire of Dublin (in the median of O’Connell Street in front of the General Post Office) we find a political rally. The rally finishes and becomes a small march down O’Connell street. We cross the street into the General Post Office and get some shots of the statue inside [1][2]. It was hard to get a decent picture of the post office with all the buses going by.

Not far away is the James Joyce statue. After clearing a spot for Aimee we get some shots of her with the statue – no Aimee, sitting beneath Joyce, and hugging good ol’ James (is he smiling?). Next we came to the statue of Charles Stewart Parnell an impressive political leader in parliament for Ireland. Again, a powerful quotation is presented on the statue.

We next head to Trinity College and The Book of Kells. No photos allowed so we’re lacking visuals. But you can get a lot from Wikipedia. First there is an exhibition, Turning Darkness into Light, that explains the Book in context. It is considered an illuminated manuscript because of its illustrations. That decorative text style for me embodies how I imagined middle ages religious writings when I was young which was probably influenced by Monty Python and the Holy Grail‘s intro and chapter changes. Getting back to Kells, the book is fascinating. I was intrigued by the different materials used for the pigments — like lapis lazuli (a distinctive blue) which came from only 1 place in the world, a mine in northeast Afghanistan. The contents of the book are a Latin version of the 4 gospels. You can actually see 4 pages of the book (under glass and special lights). We were lucky on many occasions on our trip because June is not high tourist season (that starts in July) so things were not as busy as they could be. We were able to get right up to the display and spend a bit of time taking in this text that dates at least to the 11th century and maybe even the 6th century. I’ve been restraining myself for purchases thus far in the trip but let loose in the gift shop. I pick up the Kells font (see my Ireland logo), a small book on the Book of Kells (so I can remember what was in the exhibition), and small desk piece to remind me of my trip (an iron stone with the symbol of Ireland, a harp).

Our last statue of the day is that of Molly Malone near Grafton Street. We can’t get a good shot with all the people walking by.

This is our last full day in Ireland. Tomorrow we fly home. We’re ready to go home. It’s a lot of work traveling — seeing things every day!

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