Booklover and travel-extraordinaire Samatha Riley explores Dublin in a three-day study abroad voyage. Riley explores museums, churches, a jail and a city that never ceases to amaze her.
After a brief hiatus from long-distance traveling, it was full speed ahead last weekend to Dublin. Bright and early Friday morning, the group embarked for three days of full-on tourist syndrome. After settling into our hostel, no time was wasted. We decided to venture to the Museum of Modern Art and then the few remaining hours of the day were spent wandering and exploring.
Saturday we participated in a free three-hour walking tour of the North side of Dublin. It covered the General Post Office, Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin Castle and adjoining Dubh Linn Gardens, Christ Church Cathedral, Saint Patrick's Cathedral and Trinity College. Next, it was off to the National Museum of Natural History and the National Library of Ireland, which I had been to earlier in the week on the field trip. There was an exhibition of W.B. Yeats that I had not managed to see beforehand and wanted to see. Finally, the last stop was to Dublin's City Hall which was showcasing a collection of 1916 memorabilia.
Sunday I opted to visit Kilmainham Gaol, a famous jail on the outskirts of Dublin. It has a three story museum with tours running every fifteen minutes. For one hour, our guide took us through the entire jail and the exercise yard. Interestingly, the main area of it was designed with an open floor plan and an almost entirely glass roof. It was believed that the light would help in the reformation process of the convicts.
My second destination of the day was to Trinity College for a tour and a visit to the Old Library which contains the Book of Kells. The tour of the campus was led by a current student, which allowed for a better glimpse inside life at the university. He shared a funny story behind the statue of George Salmon flanking the massive bell tower in the commons. George Salmon was famously quoted saying he would see the admittance of women to the college over his dead body. Four weeks after his death, women were allowed to attend Trinity College for the first time ever, a pivotal moment. He must now watch the women that make up sixty percent of the college population cross his path every day which is why many state he has a perpetually downtrodden face.
Following the tour, I spent some time viewing the Book of Kells and the adjoining museum. It may have been small in comparison to others but it was brimming with information. What was incredibly fascinating for a booklover like me was a video showing the process of binding a book. Of course, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit the Long Room which houses thousands of 500-year-old books. The smell of old books was intoxicating and it required all my will to leave. The return to Galway becomes increasingly difficult after every adventure but I was looking forward to returning to the place I call home.