Samantha Riley’s Irish adventure takes an academic turn with visits to the Royal Irish Academy, the National Library of Ireland and the National Archives of Ireland.
Earlier this week was a spontaneous trip to Dublin with the Heritage Studies class, H3 Research Methods. I am not in that class but Samantha, another Johnson & Wales student, and I were invited to join. The point of the trip was to teach the third-year students what resources are available to them next year when they are writing their dissertations.
The first stop of the day was to the Royal Irish Academy. The academy is open to the public for viewing but all of the reference books can only be used by registered members. The reason the academy was established was to maintain records of humanities and science-related material. More recently, the staff worked tirelessly to collect pamphlets, leaflets, and manuscripts before, during and after the vote to legalize gay marriage in Ireland. It is grand that such historical moments are able to be memorialized in more than just people’s memories and online sources. We were honored to be the first viewers of a new exhibit showcasing the academy’s collection from the 1916 Easter Rising. There were all types of material available from the time of the fight for independence. The lecturers then allowed us some free time to explore and eat lunch at the conclusion of our visit. Samantha and I walked into a local coffee shop and proceeded to enjoy lunch before exploring the local shops.
The next tour of the day was at the National Library of Ireland. A head administrator explained to us what the library had to offer along with a personal tour. There are exhibits, genealogy searches and more, in addition to the actual library. The newest exhibit is based around the leaders of the 1916 Rising, no surprise there. Besides the displays discussing the history of each leader, the library showcased a rare copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. We were given another thirty minutes to roam and Samantha and I opted to eat since we would not be home until later that night. Looking to break away from the hustle and bustle of touristy Grafton Street, Samantha and I stumbled upon a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place at the Clarendon Market Torta House.
Finally, the last visit of the day was to the National Archives. The most enthusiastic woman greeted us and proceeded to explain how to use the archives as a resource. She had previously brought up boxes filled with some examples of what was stored in the building. One box actually contained a letter written by Margaret Thatcher. It was a much needed interruption from the usual daily routine and Dublin can look forward to our return this coming weekend.