Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Library of Dreams - Slice of Life


It's no secret that I just came back from the trip of a lifetime. Is it normal that there is some degree of disappointment - of letdown - after the fact? 

My trip was as close to perfect as it is possible to have. My husband was a great sport, even on the days when he was just done with ruins, Irish food, and getting up early to eat a breakfast he didn't actually want. 

To fight off the post-vacation blues, I'll probably spend the next few Slice of Life posts reflecting on particular experiences. I did a lot of journaling while I was there, though I need to finish up the last few days, and took a slew of photos (all up on Flickr). My last Slice was about the trip to the Passage Tombs at Newgrange and Knowth. Today's inspiration was my visit to Trinity College in Dublin toward the end of the trip....

A Whiplash Kind of Day

The Book of Kells - it's kind of a big deal. At least, it's a big deal if you are me. So visiting the Trinity College Library in Dublin was high on my 'can't miss' list. Dublin was the very last city we visited, so fatigue was already a huge factor. Still, it's not like I could just come back another time to see this medieval marvel another time, right?

Dublin was in the middle of a summer 'heat wave', and the queue for the exhibit stretched out the door and down the sidewalk. We only inched forward in the first ten minutes, and a two or three groups of teenage students who looked only marginally interested in doing anything but flirting with one another crammed in behind us.

Chin up - it's the Book of Kells! I maintained my positive attitude as we crept forward. I smiled as we paid way too much to see just a handful of pages under glass. I walked into the exhibit with a heart full of hope and then...

Letdown.

Don't get me wrong, the actual manuscript pages we got to see were lovely. The exhibit itself was nicely done, but the press of people made me feel rushed instead of inspired. After two weeks of having so many archeological sites almost to myself, I just couldn't handle pushing and shoving my way into position.

No photos. No way for my non-artistic brain to stop and savor the beautiful colors and lines.

So many people waiting ... gazing over my shoulder ... mumbling in a cacophony of languages ...

Drifting over to my patiently waiting husband, I nodded that I was ready to go. Up the stairs, I kept reminding myself that even with the slightly disappointing overall experience, I was still lucky to have even seen those beautiful pages.

A few more steps, and I'd need to decide what we were going to see next. Pulling out my small map of Dublin, I managed to take those last steps without tripping. Glancing up... I see THIS.


Ireland Day Fourteen

I stopped, mesmerized. It wasn't just the sight of all these books that did it. The smell of old books and knowledge- the quiet that had descended - it all just about knocked me over. I had been so focused on the illumination of Kells that I didn't realize this cathedral of love and leather would be the last stop on my tour. 


I spent about twice as much time in this room as I did in the Kells exhibit. Down the center aisle the conservationists displayed old manuscripts in various states of preservation. 
Ireland Day Fourteen

Ireland Day Fourteen
A first edition, with notes used
for rehearsing the play.
Ireland Day Fourteen
Lego Leia shared my sense of
awe and wonder


My trip to Trinity College Library was redeemed by a long room filled with literary treasures.

Ireland Day Fourteen

Final backward glance
across generations gone
human legacy


Check out the website for the Old Library and the Book of Kells.  In this age of virtual reality, they also have an iPad app (though it's a bit on the expensive side). 


I'm participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by the amazing educators at Two Writing Teachers. Now that March is over, we write and share on Tuesdays. Stop by to see what others are posting!

Also - if you stop by and comment, and you are also slicing - PLEASE feel free to include your URL in the comments. With over 200 people slicing, it is often hard to go find your specific link on the Two Writing Teachers page, and I'd love to come read YOUR slice too!

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