Good morning, Dublin.
Our first stop today was Trinity College. Walking through the gates into the grounds just felt like entering any other university - scrawled messages tacked up on notice boards, advertisements for housemates and English language lessons etc., but once inside the history of the institution quickly asserted itself, most visibly in the form of the bell tower across the courtyard. It's older than our country.
We walked across the courtyard looking for the library, and were drawn to a signpost that said - I kid you not - that sunbathing was only permitted in the college park. Sunbathing? In this weather? Hmm.
Our main purpose in visiting Trinity was, of course, to see the Book of Kells. It's a hand-scribed, illustrated version of the four gospels and dates from around 800AD. They keep the book (actually four books) in a glass case in the library and turn a page over every month or so. It was absolutely fascinating. I have to admit, however, that the Latin used was too much for me. That combined with the script itself made the visible pages far beyond my meagre ability to decipher. Hats off to those who can.
Leaving the library, I noticed a small plaque on a bench outside. It was a memorial plaque for the Maitre d'Armes of the college, Patrick Duffy. Wouldn't it be nice if Australian universities (hint, hint, UQ) were to offer similar distinction to their fencing communities?
From Trinity College we moved on to Merrion Square. This was where famous authors, playwrights and other notables reportedly filled hours of their day in between pubs. The most notable of these, commemorated via a statue at the entrance to the square, is of course Oscar Wilde.
We passed the Irish National Gallery but didn't enter - that's for another day. Looked at the Mansion House, the residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin.
One place we passed that Syndia flatly refused to enter after dark was St Ann's Church. Why was she spooked? Because St Ann's is the wedding place of none other than Bram Stoker.