Saints and scholars, not necessarily in that order

The first couple of Dublin days were filled with libraries and churches. Fresh off the plane, we staggered through the Yeats display in the basement of the National Library. My favorite of the many artifacts was a silk embroidered rendering of Innisfree; it seemed to vibrate, although I don’t know if this was an insomniac hallucination or the response of a delicate display case to the rowdy Scandinavian school group passing through.

Upstairs in the lofty exclusive Reading Room — silence please — somebody farted and was enthusiastically mimicked by a couple of strays from the school group, who had been grudgingly let in by the security guard. I presume that will be the last time any students are allowed in the Reading Room.

Later we got lost in Trinity and came upon the Berkeley Library with a Pomodoro sculpture outside, a strangely familiar scene:

This Pomodoro is in better polish than the one that used to sit in front of the Berkeley Art Museum. The museum building next to it is grander too:

Next day brought us to the Marsh Library, silence not required — one of the staff, first day on the job, was a retired Dublin cop with much to say. This is the place where scholars were once locked in cages to protect the books; now, if the employees want something to read, they bring their own newspapers. The exhibition was of medical literature, including an engraving of the most gorgeously flayed arm ever seen. The little garden held its own appeal:

Then there was the Chester Beatty Library with its second-century papyri and its Persian miniatures of heroic horses and C-sections performed by magic birds; and of course, back at Trinity, the Book of Kells (a page of it, featuring catlike and birdlike things) and the Long Room, at the moment full of seventeenth-century propaganda about Catholic atrocities against English innocents.

Not particularly saintly either, but unexpectedly interesting, was Patrick’s cathedral.

I somehow failed to photograph the enormous statues commemorating the conquests of India, Burma, and South Africa, but here is a good cobweb before the Boyle Monument:

And a touching memorial:

And Dr. Swift himself:

And an interesting use for a Guinness keg; would the organ for which funds are needed be a new liver?

Meanwhile, at Christ Church:


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