The Dubliners

I tried on James Joyce’s shoes last weekend.

Not really, but I did go to Dublin with my Irish Lit class to explore the city and trace the steps of Leopold Bloom, the protagonist in Ulysses.

Mostly, I enjoyed good company, drank too much wine, and stayed up too late.  I think that is actually more of what the Irish (and Joyce) are about anyway…telling a wee story, drinking a grand Guinness, and enjoying life.  Maybe it was all that Guinness that propelled Joyce to his stream of consciousness rambles in the first place!

The good cheer of the Irish people can be summed up in the restaurant raconteur who regaled us with both story and song at his eponymous eatery, Cavistons.  Here is Mr. Caviston in mid-song belting out an Irish ditty while we finish our desserts.  After he finished, someone handed him a glass of wine and he wryly replied:  AhhI need this to wash down my last drink!  Now that’s spoken like a true Irishman!

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We did hit the books during our tours, and I loved the famed Trinity College Long Room, filled with priceless antique books and stoic marble busts.

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It is here that the ancient Book of Kells resides.  I did not know anything about this religious book dating back to roughly 800 and containing the four Gospels of the New Testament.  It is considered one of the most important illuminated manuscripts, which is a fancy way of saying “book with great pictures”.

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These old books weren’t the only place to find ancient languages.  The signage all over Ireland displays both modern English and ancient Celtic Gaelic language.  This sign greeted me as I arrived at the airport:

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The insistence of holding on to a defunct language portrays how deeply connected the Irish people are to their roots.

They are also deeply connected to James Joyce who is a local hero in Dublin for having immortalized the city and its residents in both The Dubliners and Ulysses.  In fact, June 16th is declared Bloomsday (after Leopold Bloom), a holiday that commemorates Joyce and celebrates the events of his novel Ulysses.

In the spirit of another great Joyce novel, I conclude my Dublin tale, 

my Portrait of the Blogger as a Middle Age Woman.

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