Sunday, June 18, 2017

Doing Time in Dublin

Today was a full day in Dublin. We did sleep late, but once we got started it was full speed ahead. We planned to go to a church service at St. Patrick's Cathedral, and since we would spend the day walking in town, we decided that taking a bus into the city was smart.  We found the closest stop, thanks to a nifty app called Journey Plan that maps out Dublin's transportation system and arrived at the cathedral during a long peal on the bells. Peter stood and recorded the bells for several minutes before 11 o'clock tolled.  

The church is beautiful, and though parts of it are ancient, and it stands on the site of St Patrick's community in the fifth century, it has been extensively restored.
The service was beautiful, and featured the cathedral men and boys choir. After the service we walked around and particularly enjoyed the plaque and information around Jonathan Swift's grave.  

The next destination was the Chester Beatty Library. It was noon, and there were no obvious places to eat, but we walked ahead hoping for food. When we found the library we entered a bright atrium with a spacious cafe. It was just what we wanted, so we ordered a plate of spinach phyllo and salad, and fortified ourselves for the museum.  The museum collection was amazing. We knew we didn't have time for everything so we concentrated on the most ancient western manuscripts. There were Egyptian papyri over 3000 years old. But we were most interested in the ancient Biblical texts. Both our fathers studied these ancient texts, so seeing manuscripts from St. Paul and the Gospels from 150-200 AD would have thrilled them. We raised our glasses to them on this Fathers' Day. 

We continued on to the National Museum of Archaeology. We had little more than an hour before the museum closed at 5. This collection was also very rich. There was a large collection of objects from the Bronze and Iron Ages in Ireland. Many objects had been preserved in the peat bogs which abound here.  Many ancient objects were of rich gold.

An especially strange section of the museum was devoted to bog bodies. These are human remains preserved in the bogs.  Ireland is only one location for such remains. Some have been dated to the early Bronze Age, around 4000 years ago. The museum archaeologists theorize that these remains were from ritual human sacrificed practiced in these early cultures. I found it profoundly disturbing to view these ancient bodies, with signs of mutilation and death preserved for so long. 
There was also the beautiful Ardagh Chalice from 800 AD. Which calmed me after the bodies.

After the museum closed we went looking for tea. Two museums in one afternoon is a heavy lift, and we needed to sit down to think ahead. We found a pub on Trip Advisor and headed down a busy pedestrian street to find it. On the way we stopped to hear a wonderful three man music group. They delighted the crowd with their spirited music.

The pub was cheerful, the beer was good and the stew was hot and delicious. We enjoyed eating and watching the regulars at the bar.
 As we strolled back down the pedestrian street, the band was still going strong. We stood and listened with an enthusiastic audience. The stopped, and we walked away, but we heard them start up again for another round. The streets are full of musicians, but most are not as good as this group.

We walked down to the river, and then turned back to find our bus stop. We made it home shortly after 8. The pub outside is full of lively chatter, but I think we will be able to shut it out and sleep well tonight. 

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