The Enduring Writer in Ireland 2018, Part 1

Let me start this blog post by saying I hate heights. I hate flying. I hate when an airplane torpedoes into the sky. I sat in a cramped seat in economy, gripping the arms of my chair, feeling like my skin was about to shed from my bones. I was shaking, I was hyperventilating. But Ireland was worth the ordeal.

I learned so much about the history and culture of Ireland. Writers of all colors and stripes, from Oscar Wilde to the writers on Great Blasket Island. History of castles, cathedrals, and pagan ruins. I gazed upon rocky shores and breathless visions, wanting to forever stamp my memory with the landscapes. And I gained insight into who I am as a person. I loved it, I loved it. A few hours on an airplane, fearing for my life, were worth the breadth and beauty that is Ireland.

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Oh, the uncertainty in that poor face while waiting for the plane to take off.
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I learned so much about the history and culture of Ireland. Writers of all colors and stripes, from Oscar Wilde to the writers on Great Blasket Island. History of castles, cathedrals, and pagan ruins. I gazed upon rocky shores and breathless visions, wanting to forever stamp my memory with the landscapes. And I gained insight into who I am as a person. I loved it, I loved it. A few hours on an airplane, fearing for my life, were worth the breadth and beauty that is Ireland.

Of course, every adventure has its rocky beginnings. My ordeal didn’t end when the plane landed. It continued on into my first day in Dublin while I fought jet lag. I wanted to cocoon myself in the plush, soft sheets of my hotel’s bed, but I decided to venture out onto the streets.

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I passed by many marvelous sights. One building that stood out was the James Joyce House of the Dead, which was the setting for his story “The Dead.” Before the house is the James Joyce bridge, which was designed to look like the pages of a book opening. Or, in another interpretation, an eye opening as one is being enlightened by an unforgettable novel. There’s many interpretations for this bridge’s meaning. It can be whatever the viewer wants it to be–at least according to my guide.
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I marveled at the celebrity of James Joyce. I would learn in the next few days this particular writer’s impact on the country, but this sight was simply a foreshadow. I passed on through many more streets and over quite a few bridges.
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Not a skyscraper marred the skyline. However, Dublin booms with business from corporations like Apple, Facebook, and Google. Over 700 American businesses have found a home within Ireland, particularly Dublin, for its low corporate tax rates. And yet, there are no skyscrapers, like in New York City, to obscure the skies. I found this amazing as I passed by shiny, new buildings integrated into a city filled with cathedrals, Georgian homes, and quite a bit of history.
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Marveling at this all (which I did quite a bit of marveling on my trip), I visited the Trinity College Library, which is the largest library in Ireland. I mainly wanted to see the Book of Kells housed within the library. Now, you can’t visit Dublin without stopping to see this illuminated manuscript, as this is widely considered to be Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure. It contains the four Gospels and New Testament, having been created around 800 A.D. Its lavish illustrations and calligraphy makes this a masterpiece, as this was done by hand by at least three artists. Monks cloistered themselves away in scriptoriums, dedicating their entire lives to producing books like the Book of Kells. It’s a marvel. 😉
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But one can only look at a national treasure for so long. I ascended a staircase nearby to enter the Long Room in the Old Library. I was in bookworm heaven as I gazed upon the covers of Trinity College Library’s 200,000 oldest books. I wanted to run my fingers against the cracked and worn spines, but I held myself from the temptation, as the books are roped off from the public. Thick accents filled the room. I’m certain I heard German and French, and a mixture of other languages I could not identify.
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The Long Room in Trinity College Library.
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Marble busts from many prominent writers line the room. Most notable is the bust of Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels. I have to say, I must be biased. I was half hoping to see a bust of Oscar Wilde amongst these men. However…
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Men.

All of these busts were of men. Alas, of the fourteen busts in the Long Room, there’s not a woman amongst them. Disappointed in the lack of a feminine presence, I moseyed on to the gift shop. I looked through the bookmarks, jewelry, and knickknacks with a bit of disappointment. I didn’t see a bust of one woman in the Long Room. An inexplicable frustration boiled within me. I am not the most well-versed in Irish literature, so I could not think of one Irish female author of whose likeness I would’ve liked to see in marble. However, on this trip, I learned of a few. It took some time, but eventually, when I visited places like Kerry and the Great Blasket Island, I found my frustration relieved. But more of that later in this blog series. You’ll just have to keep reading!

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Hot chocolate is the best way to end the day.
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My first day in Ireland ended at the bar in my hotel. Jet lag weighted my limbs. Sleep clawed at me, but I fought to stay awake. And it was worth it for the drink I ordered. Not alcohol. Even if I was in Ireland, I wasn’t ready to follow the saying of, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” I bought hot chocolate, complete with whipped cream, cocoa powder, and pink and white marshmallows. It’s the most delicious hot chocolate ever to slide down my throat. And that’s how I ended Day 1 of my adventure.
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Please return next week to read about my Day 2 in Ireland!
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Part 2 will post on Saturday, June 2nd, 1pm EST.
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Please drop any comments or questions below. Also, please like and share!

6 thoughts on “The Enduring Writer in Ireland 2018, Part 1

Add yours

  1. You’re comment about flying makes me go back to my travels and how a man once said if you’re scared of flying just imagine your feet are still on the ground and it will stop the fear. Now l am a practical man and my first thought was well rubbish …. But one day l was travelling for 23-hours and at times l tried to visualise my feet on Terra Firma and it if you really closer your eyes … it works … So keep travelling and writing will return and reblog parts two and three … Hope the friends like it as l do and there is nothing like travel to broaden the mind and expand the knowledge … Regards Ian ⭐️😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, Ian! Thank you for reading about my travels. You give good advice. I would rather not rely on Xanax or Melatonin next time I travel. No one has yet recommended imagining my feet being on the ground. I wonder how you managed for 23 hours without Firm Land! I’ll have a chance to try it next year when I (possibly) go to Greece! I do hope your friends enjoy reading. Posts 2 and 3 are already up, and post 4 is coming up this Saturday at 1pm EST! 😊

      Like

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