Sunday, August 15, 2010


Dublin! As in, Ireland! We've only been here for three days, but it was a lot different than I'd expected. The city itself is pretty small and after our first day I sort of felt like we knew it all. We're staying in a fancy hotel this time since it's a Marriott so the dad can use his hotel points for it. Normally fancy hotel = no internet, but this one has a lounge that we can use that has it. Hooray! It's nice to be connected again, though I've been impressed with how easy it's been to be without cell phone or internet for most of this trip. I think it's good to have to cut yourself off every once and a while to remember how to live in the moment and not always be worrying about what's going on other places.

In the city there is a main shopping area with wide sidewalks and street performers everywhere——that was my favorite part. There were several musicians that were actually really good: all of them had cds for sale for €10 which is pretty expensive, I thought. Among my favorites were a family-type band made up of 2 sisters, 1 brother, and 2 other guys whose relation to the first three was ambiguous. They played guitars, upright bass, harmonica, breath-powered keyboard (kind of amazing), and (my favorite) washboard and jug. I have been kicking myself all week that I didn't even write down their band name. I tried to convince my mom that buying their cd would be a great thing for the family, but she didn't go for it. Sadly I'd already spent all my money on other things, so I had to do without. Another guy played an upright piano with the strings and hammers exposed and he was incredible. His name is Luke Slott and I highly recommend checking out his website. His music reminds me strongly of the soundtrack from the movie $9.99 which I haven't seen but did in fact buy the soundtrack for. My last favorite was this band called The Riptide Movement. Sort of lame name, but their music was pretty great. It reminded me strongly of my punk rock days, not because of their style but because of their energy. One of the things that drew me to punk rock was how you could feel the music in your whole body, not just your ears, and so it almost consumed you while you listened to it. This band had that feel to it. The drummer played on a box with a bass drum pedal attached to it that he also beat out a rhythm on with his hands. The fact that he could keep a steady beat while playing that way was pretty impressive.

Another favorite thing was seeing The Book of Kells at Trinity College (Ireland's oldest college and the second oldest in all of Europe). We'd seen a movie about it (The Secret of Kells) as a family months ago in semi-preparation for this trip, and it was fun that we had because then we already knew some stuff about it. The book itself is incredible. The detail work on the illuminations is so fine that even when it's blown up a hundred times its actual size it's still impressively intricate. I don't know how the old school monks did stuff like that, but they did an amazing job. Super intimidating as an aspiring book artist, I must say.

Brinden and I also went to the Irish Postal Museum. Postal museums have sort of become my thing after Missy and I started the tradition on our Spain study abroad two years ago. No one else in the family wanted to go, but Brin came with me like a champ. It was pretty basic stuff, but we learned some cool things, like that the post office was taken over by Irish Independence rebels on Easter Monday in 1916. Also when they started to deliver mail via train they used this sweet thing simply called The Apparatus, which was basically a giant net. What would happen was smaller towns along the tracks where the train didn't actually stop would pack up all their mail to be sent out in an intense leather belted sack and would hang it on a post by the tracks. The train would go by and they would use this net on the side of the train to scoop up the bag and fling it in the mail sorting car to be sorted. The same thing would work to drop off mail, but in reverse: the net would be by the side of the tracks while the mail would be bagged up and hung off the side of the train. They had some actual footage of it in action and it was almost frighteningly powerful. The museum renewed and strengthened my love for the postal service and actual, handwritten and delivered mail. Not that it was waning by any means, but it was nice to know that there are others out there who share my love for mail of the stamped variety. Additionally! We learned that the someone who has the hobby of stamp collecting is called a philatelist. Awesome.

This afternoon we head off to Shannon! Who knows what the future will bring? (Hopefully not any accidents, though as we've rented a car and the parents will be driving on the wrong side of the road {read: left side, as Ireland is part of Britain and they all do that switcheroo driving here} who knows what could happen?)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are so cleaver in your descriptions that I feel like I am there and soaking up every minute of it! Have fun and safe travels (watch the museum steps) :) Taunya