Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Let's Fight Our Way into the Jail

First off, a bit of a forewarning I suppose. This will be a long post, for three reasons. Mostly because I have three days to cover now, and I'm also going to ruminate about the (near) future a bit. I might also have a small section of complaining at the end, it depends on how I feel when I get there.
So it is now 10:30pm on Wednesday the 22, which is funny because I spent all yesterday thinking it was Wednesday so now I've had two Wednesdays in a row. I suppose I'll cover the days in order, but with a Tuesday and not two Wednesdays.
Monday: After class we picked one of four museums to go to for a presentation the next day. My group decided on the National Library of Ireland, and our presentation covered the Yeats exhibit that was being held there. However, before productivity could commence we, and another group, needed lunch. We stopped at a small shop, that I honestly can't remember the name of but believe it to actually be the name of the food--Cornish Pastys. In the name of Widening My Horizons I tried it. I was even assured, a day ago, that the experience would be utterly life-changing. Wasn't much of a fan of it really, but I'll consent that it is good street food and everyone else seemed to absolutely love them.The exhibit was interesting, though I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had been able to sit in the artfully-multi-screened-projection room and listened to more readings of his poetry. After we finished finding everything we needed for our presentation, we headed off to explore the rest of the library.
The National Library was, as you can see, a very beautiful place. It's filled with classic architecture, ornate decorations, the other rooms have stained glass windows depicting the greats of literature and philosophical thought, and winding marble staircases. What is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the building, though, is that it is legitimately a library. That may sound stupid, since it's name is "National Library" but when you walk into the building you wouldn't exactly expect people would really come in to study and work. But they do, and I honestly can't see how they can manage to be productive (since there are tourists walking through and taking photographs). As you would expect, there were rather a lot of books. Lots and lots of lovely books, books that make me want a large library in a house of my own one day. After finishing with the library the day was filled with wandering and shopping. I came across some promising ideas for souvenirs, but didn't bother to buy anything.
Tuesday: We had a James Joyce: Dubliners tour, in which we were lead about and shown streets and buildings that were in the novel Dubliners. It was overall an enjoyable tour, but I believe it would have been more interesting if we hadn't actually read the Dubliners
before the tour. Since we had, a lot of it felt like a dull reiteration of what we already knew.
The picture above left is of the boarding house from the Dubliners story "The Boarding House", in the center is the theater from "A Painful Case" and to the right is the Gresham hotel from the story "The Dead." I suppose I could give a synopsis or blurb about the importance of the above pictures, but I won't. Because you can just read the stories if the feeling strikes you. (Or ask I suppose.)
After that, I and three others went to the Houses of the Oireachtas, to tour the Seanad and the Dail (in other words, we toured the Irish Parliament). Our tour guide was Seanadoir Marcus O'Dalaigh, who was a wonderfully exuberant Irish Senator. The building is beautiful, and it's interesting because it was originally the home of the Leinster family (it was their small Dublin estate). We sat in on both the Dail and the Seanad while they were in session and while were were sitting in on the Dail session we were there for the highlight of the day, apparently. It was during the "Leaders Question" period, but unfortunatley I don't remember exactly what it was about. I do remember the subject was about what to do with all the bank bonds that the government insured now that the banks are basically bankrupt. I just don't remember the actual exchange. Our tour ended with Senator O'Dalaigh telling us to spend more money than we should, and to max out visas, to do our part and help out the economy.
Wednesday, today, was a very tour filled day. First, in class, we were told that due to issues with the Internation Center our tour of Kilmainham Jail was cancelled. But after some research and much discussion it was decided we'd just show up at 2pm and try to fight our way into the jail, for a tour of course. And it worked out well.
Kilmainham is famous for being the prison where the leades of the 1916 Rebellion were held and executed, and at the time of construction and operation was one of the best facilities...and the only reformation prison. I took a lot of pictures, here are some:
In my box where I am typing this entry, the six pictures are in two lines of three. However, the preview shows them being arranged...not quite right. So I'll try to tell what they are below, hopefully it makes sense.
Top row: Left=looking down a cell block, Center=The inside of a cell, Right=An area that I forget the name of, but was apparently used in the movie The Italian Job.
Below top row: Oddly centered on=the exercise yard, Bottom left=the area the leaders of the 1916 Rebellion were executed (by firing squad) in, and Bottom Right=the area James Connolly was executed (also by firing squad but due to his weakened state he was bound to a chair and blindfolded). There executions, especially Connolly's, was a rallying factor after the Rebellion and later post-Treaty. Heavy stuff, right? How can you follow that?
By taking a tour of the Guinness storehouse apparently. The tour was cool, though I think I still smell faintly of yeat-y fermenting barley. I also got a sample of Guinness on our tour, and I still don't like it. So at the top of the pint shaped section of the building (no joke) I did not take the free pint and instead had a Coca Cola.
The view from the top was also amazing; A scenic view of Dublin city from six stories up with the mountains, bay, and fields in the background. I have pictures, but they turned out a bit odd due to glaring and reflections on the glass.
Don't worry though, despite all this fun and touring I'm still getting my education in.
See? My education. My large education.

1 comment:

  1. Wow- sounds like you are busy. What a cool experience!
    And look at you, little miss fashionista! Love the outfits. :)