Well, I think my heart is forever exploded into millions of little pieces.
I’m not really sure where to begin on today other than that I am completely and utterly destroyed by the beauty, history, and loveliness that has been Dublin.
I stopped at Trinity College first thing this morning, specifically to go to the library and to see the Book of Kells. The campus was beyond beautiful, like everything that you think university is going to be when you imagine it when you’re fifteen… and everything it really isn’t (at least when you go to school in Toronto). Cobblestone walkways, beautiful architecture, green lawns and blooming flowers. I was already walking around a little dumbfounded and a little upset knowing that the pictures I took don’t remotely do it justice.
Then I went to the library. And it was like the world stopped.
The Book of Kells was interesting in the history of it and the fact that I was looking at a book that was beyond old. But it couldn’t ever compare, not even remotely, to the Long Room. I walked in there and it was as if someone had wrenched my heart out and restored so much faith in me all at the same time. I think the world has lost its love for the printed novel, for the beauty and creativity that it can show. This room made me realize that there are still many places, and many people, that long to see a room of books. With all their hand-painted bindings, packed together, shelf after shelf under the wooden vaulted ceilings… I actually couldn’t even begin to explain how I felt. It nearly brought me to tears.
I promptly left not only the library but the campus itself in an effort to hold on to that feeling for as long as possible. I had a full Irish breakfast at Bewley’s Oriental Cafe on Grafton Street, drinking a really good latte and watching the people below stroll around. It was not lost on me that this particular cafe had been a haunt of many famous Irish figures, including James Joyce, and I don’t think you can help but feel lucky being there.
I feel as if I’m not even remotely doing justice for these places and the feelings they have, maybe it’s just that you have to be there to understand. Maybe everyone would feel different in them.
I spent the afternoon touring around the rest of Dublin, visiting a few different places including St. Stephen’s Green and this awesome museum called the Little Museum of Dublin. St. Stephen’s was beautiful and, ironically, very green. The museum was fantastic. It chronicles the history of Dublin in the twentieth century with only letters, pictures, and relics that were donated by people of Dublin. It had the first ever English print copy of Ulysses, opened on display to the last page so that, “You can now tell everyone that you finished it.” The rest of the museum showed the same sense of self-deprication, humour, and intelligence.
On to St. Patrick’s Cathedral which one hundred percent trumped Christ Church from yesterday. It stood there all stone and silently but with such a triumphant presence you couldn’t ignore it. The cathedral was beautiful, housing artifacts from hundreds of years ago, the grave of Jonathan Swift, and even the old tattered battalion flags from World War I. I’m not going to lie, at one point I turned a corner into this really domineering area where the flags stood and you just knew it was important and I might have whispered, “Holy shit.” I whispered it, though, and it just once again proved that I am not, in fact, religious.
I visited both the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery, both of which were awesome tours especially since I got free alcohol at the end of them. I must say though that despite my love of both Guinness and whiskey, I did them almost a disservice by seeing so many incredible, historical, beautiful places earlier in the day because honestly, they didn’t have that same feeling.
I’m as shocked as you.
I have to find dinner at some point and probably a beer or two. I made a friend from Australia last night and went out for beers, which was good because normally I don’t make friends. Just kidding. Kind of.
Honestly, I’m so happy I’m here. I miss everyone terribly but the feelings I’ve had today are unlike anything I’ve ever known.
Here’s to you, Dublin.