Did you know that the smell of old books, which I love so much, is actually the smell of a fungus growing amongst the pages? Some of the fungus spoors that can grow between the ancient pages may have hallucinogenic proprieties. Though nothing grandiose or extreme like something experienced by a 70’s hippies, it has been said that prolonged exposure to these spores can inspire a form of enlightenment. It has been theorized that this may have been the basis for the inspiration for many a writer.
This morning I was lucky enough to have the freedom, and more importantly time, to go on a jog before breakfast.I jogged two miles alternating between left and right hand turns, getting good and lost in the city. Its amazing how rich and pure the air is down here. We noticed this while simply walking around the town, you could breath once and it feels like minutes before you have to breath again. The same held while running. Each inhale was a rejuvenating breath of Irishness. The rays of sun broke through the clouds, shining through the trees covered in morning due, glittering like a chandelier, it was beautiful. I then oriented myself within the city and jogged until I found myself back at the hotel, ready to eat another delicious breakfast.
Our first stop today was at Trinity College. Established in 1592 “the Provost, Fellows, Foundation Scholars and the other members of Board, of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin,” the official name of the college, has a very rich and honorable academic history. Our tour guide, Marcus, was a very charming young man who had just finished his final exams there the week prior. Due to the small size of our group, as well as Marcus’s connections with the church, we were able to sneak in and see the chapel on campus. This, like the rest of the buildings on campus, was wonderfully beautiful and unique and it was truly a blessing to be able to spend some time inside of it.
The tour continued around the campus, with Marcus explaining the rich history of the Trinity College, as well as how it is to attend nowadays. Such history consisted of events such as the Rubrics Murder. In 1732, after an argument with a professor a group of students pelted his window with rocks, shattering it. He responded as any reasonable man would and took his pistol and fired towards the five students downstairs scattering them. They each returned to their own rooms to gather armaments and returned to fire upon the professor. They eventually winged him and he bled out and died within a day. Rich interesting history indeed! The tour finally ended outside the Old Library, which we would explore next.
The Old Library was an absolutely amazing experience. The library contains 200,000 books, including some of the rarest books within Europe. It is said to contain every ancient book from the United Kingdom and Ireland. The most prized book within this collection is the Book of Kells. The book of Kells was created around 800 BC by the monks of Iona. It was developed to bring the four gospels to the people of Ireland. It is celebrated as being an artistic masterpiece. Each page is ornate with a beautiful calligraphy and drawings. The monks also included random “doodles” and short poems within the margins they used to occupy their time. Though I could talk about the Book of Kells all day, I must move on to the next post.
Upon first entering entering into the long hall, I took a deep long breath. The smell of (possibly) hallucinogenic spores, the scent of old books, filled my nostrils. In that one breath I could feel the rich and ancient history within the place. I was standing in the same room that great scholars, writers and poets such as James Joyce and Oscar Wilde, amongst others had studied and learned in this hall. Currently on display within the hall was a series of art describing the Battle Of Clontarf, these were produced by the artist of the movie, Secret of Kells.
This battle was one of the most important events in Irish history next to the 1169 occupation by the English, the Battle of the Boyne, and the 1922 foundation of the independence of Ireland. King Brian Boru, who sought to unite all of Ireland, rally to the help of another lord who was facing trouble with the Norman Vikings. Vastly outnumbered, King Brian’s force engaged the Vikings in an open field of battle. Despite losing 4,000 of his 5,000 troops, King Brian returned victorious with the death of over 6,000 of the 9,000 viking soldiers. More important, every Viking leader was slain on the field of battle that day. This caused the general rout of the Vikings from the Isle of Eire and a sense of peace for the Irish people. Shortly after his victory King Brian was assassinated while praying his tent by a rival chieftain. Examining this history
was absolutely fascinating and the artwork was quirky and quite a wonderful way to illustrate this all.
The rest of the day contained a wonderful visit to the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral, in which we were serenaded by a beautiful choir arrangement singing songs of faith. After this I took a tour of the Willy Wonka Factory of Beer, the Guinness Storehouse. Its an excellent experience that I highly rec commend. As you, my few but caring readers, may have realize my blogs are getting longer and more enveloped in history. Each day I wish to type more and more, but there is only so much I can say without boring everyone to death. As it is I am only suppose to have five-ish paragraphs and here I am on number eight or nine! I’m amazed I have made it this far, but there still remains so much to be said. Until next time, tóg go bog é.