Monday, June 19, 2017

Transition to Galway

Transitions are stressful and often difficult.  Today was a transition day, and although it went very smoothly, we are sitting in our Galway hotel room with very little energy for anything. 

This morning we woke up early enough to leave the house by 9. We had an appointment at 9:30 to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. It was the major destination when we planned our visit to Dublin, but I'm glad we didn't do it on Sunday. The crowds were large today, but everyone was out yesterday. 

The Book of Kells is an amazing treasure and many people come to see it every day. The exhibit is well done and informative. Having recently visited the Morgan Library in NYC some of the information was review. At the Morgan we had seen vellum and discussed the elements used to color the inks. All of this was explained clearly in display posters. I was struck by the amazing change that these simple monks effected by copying the four Gospels, carrying those small books in their leather pouches, walking around Ireland, spreading the Christian Gospel to a culture not long removed from  the human sacrifices of the bog bodies I saw yesterday. The small Gospel books they carried were the size of paperbacks. The Book of Kells is a larger version of the Gospels, and the larger size allowed for amazing artwork. This artwork is the treasure of these books, and we were privileged to stand over the intricate, colored vellum pages in amazement. 

We also went upstairs to see the ancient library. Last year we had seen the Strahov Library in Prague. This library in Dublin didn't have the magnificent frescos on the ceiling. But the line of marble busts was equally amazing. There were many early editions of Jonathan Swift and the oldest Irish Harp known to exist.  

But we couldn't linger. We were checking out of our apartment at 12:30, and we wanted some lunch first. We took the 40 bus back to our apartment. We've been very successful with our bus transport. We had planned to walk to Heuston Station where we could catch a bus to the airport. But our host's father who stopped by for the key, offered to take us in his car.  

We arrived at the airport at 2, and by 3 we were on the road with a bright red VW Polo. This was Peter's first chance to drive on the left. He did a fabulous job, and we found our hotel just after 5:40. We are not in the city, but we have free parking, and our room is comfy. We ate a good dinner at the hotel and will probably turn in early. Tomorrow we intend to do a day drive on the Connemara Peninsula. 

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