Monday, 17 October 2011

Museum, Museum...

After the Book of Kells we went upstairs to the Long Room of Trinity Collage, link as in the last post.  If you have a love of antique books you would either love or hate this room.  It is stacked floor to its incredibly high ceiling with beautifully bound leather books, you can watch the ladies in their little alcove doing some restoration, but you can’t actually go near them!! There are plenty on display down the centre of the room open in special cases and the smell of old paper, leather, ink and wood is quite strong.  A very thick atmosphere of academia. 

Again we were only halfway down the room when the group of students, German I think, drifted through from one end to the other and down into the shop with barely a glance at what was around them.  Some were even singing along to their iPods.  I hope there was a quiz later.

Across the campus and along the street was the National Gallery of Ireland.  This is currently going through some major refurbishment so the exhibitions are a little on the smaller than usual side.  The first gallery was dedicated to Irish painters such as  John Lavery and Jack B Yeats but my favourite was by William Davies.  Again no photos, sorry.

The other exhibition was focused on European artists including Gainsborough, Goya, van Gogh, Monet, Pissarro, Sisley and a cubist Picasso.  I’m not a fan some of Picasso’s work but when you realise he had the talent to paint in the style of any of the other painters there he just chose to paint the way he did at that particular time in his life, you just have to admire him and his considerable ability.  Doing what you feel rather than what is expected is something a lot of us have to re learn!

We had lunch and wandered around the corner to the National Museum of Natural History.  Lots of taxidermy and skeletons!  I hadn’t done a natural history museum before and though the animals were a little creepy it was fascinating to see the size of some animals, hippos are enormous for instance, and also how the size of some animals have changed in 150 or so years.  Lions are much larger now and thankfully not often found stuffed in museums!  This museum is also, apparently, a museum in its own right as it’s currently being preserved as one of the last remaining cabinetry collections.  Most museums do away with all the old display cases; this one is actively keeping them. 
Chris with a Giant Irish Deer
Around the back is the National Museum of Ireland full of archaeological finds.  A real treasure of a museum if you like metal work like me (I love the bronze daggers) or are a goldaholic.  Plenty to drool over.  Again the skill is out of this world! 
A few of the many daggers and spears.
A beautiful, and quite large, cloak brooch. 
On Wednesday we started at the Jameson Distillery (yes you have to put in your age to enter the web site,  not sure why), and on to the Guinness Storehouse.  Both simply because you really have to do them I suppose!!  I was rather disappointed, especially at the distillery, that the one element that is vital in these places was missing.  Smell.  Jameson’s is actually now made down by Cork and the Guinness brewing part is nowhere near the visiting area.  If you have ever been to a working distillery of brewery you will know how important the smell of the place is.  It’s not the same without a sniff of the angels share! 
I don't think I will be buying these for John for Christmas.
The view from the top of the Storehouse was worth it though.  

We finished our visit with a tour of Dublin Castle and then through to the Chester Beatty Library.  More manuscripts this time in a private collection and from all over the world but again no pictures.

I really can’t recommend a visit to Dublin enough.  We did most of our visits on foot, and we are not great walkers, and the people are always willing to help answer questions.  It’s a very vibrant city and we would certainly go back and perhaps take things a little slower next time.  And it’s only an hour or two from most airports in the UK!

Chris did spot this on the pavement on the way to Guinness and we thought it apt! 


  1. I've only "done" the airport and a quick visit to Ikea, sounds like I should plan on time in Dublin next time I head to the south of Ireland!

  2. Dublin is a beautiful city, full of such history. The view from the Guiness storehouse is magnificent! I'm ready to go again!


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