Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 2 in Dublin, Ireland

Our second day in Dublin started with breakfast and a tour of the city by bus.  Although I had gotten my bearings of many places the night before, I took pleasure in taking it all in again.  Dublin has a great urban atmosphere: its streets are densely packed with tall, narrow buildings, allowing it to fit loads of awesome in small spaces.  Like any western European city, it is a glitzy tapestry of old medieval architecture mixed with globalization-- even the best-preserved historic areas are newly decorated with well-known American chain stores and hole-in-the-wall cafes serving middle-eastern cuisine, for example.  Oh, and we saw the massive Guinness brewery, where water drawn from the nearby river is mixed with a few special ingredients in giant white cylindrical towers. 
    The bus tour left us at Trinity College, where we saw the Book of Kells, an ancient Gaelic translation of the four Christian gospels.  It is considered the best work of Gaelic art and literature: each page is illustrated with beautifully-scribed Gaelic text and pictures.  Pretty neat!  But the next thing we saw was even better: the Long Library, an extraordinary two-story room filled with ancient books.  It is something of a dream or a high-budget Hollywood movie (and actually, the Jedi Temple Archives in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones is based on this very library.)  Among many books on display was Martin Luther’s German translation of the Old Testament, completed in 1524, I think.  It was awesome.
    After the concert, we traveled to Dun O’Laoghaire (pronounced O’Leary.  What’s wrong with you people!?) and visited the Maritime Museum of Ireland.  Except for a giant lighthouse light spinning on a giant rotating device, it was laughably boring.  The proceeds from the concert we’d be giving that evening were going towards the restoration of this recently-reopened museum: I only hope that they use the money to make it more exciting.  After pictures on the ocean shore and a nice group dinner, we gave a choir concert to a small audience down the road in Monkstown. 

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