Day 50 April 6th 2017 Dublin
A surprise was our visit to EPIC the Ireland Emigration Museum again the innovative use of audio-visuals and interactive displays made the path through Ireland’s history of emigration fascinating. Emigration also illustrated the history of Ireland given many large groups of people emigrating did so during tumultous episodes of Irelands past (and not so past given recent financial crises and poor job opportunities at times).
After being transported through some of Ireland’s most devastating history – war, famine, transportation. The latter part of the museum also included celebration and famous Irish – singers, actors, descendants of emigrants who have made their name in other parts include Barak Obama and two Australia Prime Ministers.
Playwrights also featured extensively including one room entirely for writers with large books one could “read” by rolling your hand over the surface of the structure to turn the page. One fact caught my eye …
When we finally poured out the end of this fabulous exhibition with our brains again mushy from facts we fed our stomachs before heading back into the centre of Dublin – probably we thought the Book of Kells but on the way to check where our bus to Loughrea would leave. A good decision as it turned out – it was further than we thought but closer than we thought – the walk to the bus was further but we then discovered a little laneway took us through to the stop of our favourite Number 15 bus. Easy. Now off to Trinity College – like locals we navigated our way through the mass of construction and road works to the library at Trinity.
We timed our visit perfectly as there were few other visitors. Book of Kells this illuminated book of Gospels is thought to have been created sometime in the 9th century. A time when the inks were natural materials – pigments, crushed semi-precious stones, metals. Pens were sharpened materials available at the time – wood, feathers. Written on vellum which was then treated calf skin – approximately 185 for the entire manuscript. Apparently these type of manuscripts were commonly produced by Irish monks and sought after across the world.
Helpful for us were a small group of older women studying the 2 pages of the manuscript on display and translating the text and explaining what they could see – apparently knowledgeable and excited to see the manuscript.
The Book of Kells is housed within Trinity Library the largest library in Ireland and worth visiting even where the Book of Kells not reside within it. The library – unbelievably began in the 1500s and is still used today. A magnificent building with domed ceilings, marble busts (not a woman amongst them) and a vast collection of books. A great place to sit and contemplate what it would be like to sit and study in amongst it.