Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ireland: Dublin (Friday–Saturday, February 29–March 1) — Part 3 (night/morning/afternoon)

Written Saturday, March 1 at 2:28 pm, Dublin (at the hotel)

My hotel room is a top floor garret room, with a single bed tucked into the corner.  A pretty lousy bed, truth be told: thin useless pillow, and a mattress that you can feel all the springs in.  There’s a dedicated bathroom, though, which isn’t too bad, though, and there’s wireless, and ultimately, it’s a room in the City Centre area at not-too-expensive a price.

The view out my tiny window pretty much just shows the top floor of the building across the street, although I can also catch a view of the Spire.  The 120-meter tall Dublin Spire was erected in early 2003 as a replacement for the 138-foot Nelson’s Pillar, which had been blown up by the IRA in 1966 (possibly to commemorate the Easter Uprising of 1916).  It is a silver spike narrowing from about 10 feet at the base to 6 inches at the top.  The top several feet hasve white LED lights at night.

After breakfast, I took the tram back to Collins Barracks and visited the Decorative Arts wing of the National Museum of Ireland.  They have on display a reconstruction of a Viking longboat originally built in the Dublin area around 1042 and sunk (along with several other boats) in a Danish fjord some 50 years later, the Havhingsten fra Glendalough (“Sea Stallion from Glendalough”).  The boat was reconstructed using period tools and techniques, taking 44,000 man hours to complete, and then it was sailed back to Dublin by a crew of 65, with stops at several locations along the way in Denmark and Norway.

The museum also has a display about the Easter Uprising of 1916, which led to Irish independence 6 or 7 years later.  Via other displays at the museum, it’s clear that such uprisings occurred every 20-40 years, going back into the 1700s and before.  Not that this tells modern American audiences anything about what to expect when occupying Iraq, oh, no.  (Basically, the locals always want an occupying force out, and every generation will fight to get rid of the oppressors.)

Other displays include a look at Irish soldiers around the world, going back to 1550.  Much of it centers on Irish brigades in World Wars I and II, of course, but there are large parts about the Irish during English colonial days, the “Wild Geese” Irish expats serving in continental European armies in the 19th century, and the Irish brigades in the Boer War, the Spanish Civil War, and even the American Civil War (mostly on the side of the Union, but there was an Irish regiment out of Tennessee fighting for the South).  Interestingly, one ploy to strive for freedom from British rule in the 1860s was an Irish invasion of Canada (!) through Niagara, New York; the Irish beat the Canadian militia at the Battle of Ridgeway, but fell back to the States on rumor of British troops arriving.

Other exhbits that I saw included Irish silverwork, Irish coins, and a some miscellany from the general collections, including a fabulous dress done by Charles Worth, founder of the first house of couture in Paris.  (I have a friend who studied couture in Paris a few years ago.)

Coming back, I wandered through the large pedestrian shopping mall that runs from Jervis to O’Connell, to the Spire.  Bought some souvenirs: three t-shirts, a mug and a shot glass, and some shortbread and chocolates; some for me, some for others.

I opted to not go to the Guinness Storehouse, when I found out that the tour was €14.  Half that would have been fine, but $20 was too steep for me.  I’ll probably be sorry later, and have to come back to Dublin someday.  <grin>

Shortly, I’m going to head out to the Archeological wing of the National Museum, on the south side of the Liffey.

Updated on January 12, 2010

Updated on April 30, 2010:
Moved part of this post to the Sounds Kinky-er blog:

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