The wax is dripping off this candelabra and spattering onto the table like paint from a clumsy artist’s brush. I cowered into this pub to escape the drizzle and was pleasantly greeted by a perfect pen-to-paper, candlelit atmosphere. I haven’t had the energy or desire since I’ve been here to tourist-it-up. Instead, I’ve been perfectly content simply dublin’in around this tiny, big city and looking in on all its McPubs leaking banjos, fiddles and Guinness out the cracks.
Two days in Dublin and I was already treated to a fully comprehensive tour from my amazing hosts Seamus and John (including a private, statue-side rendition of “Molly Malone” from Seamus and a much more public performance of “Whiskey in the Jar” by both lads).
I drank my morning coffee on a balcony overlooking St. Patrick’s Cathedral and sipped my first Guinness while watching Irish dancing that night. I annihilated some fish and chips with mushy peas, spent a sunny afternoon reading and writing on St. Stephen’s Green, and properly watched my first rugby game. I walked every street in downtown Dublin about 10 times each, eventually giving directions to tourists on multiple occasions. Brown bread and seafood chowder were stuffed in my face after a gorgeously green cliff side walk from Bray to Greystones. And, of course, I stopped by Brother Hubbard’s: the magical place where Dawn and Kelly first met Seamus back in June, and the
sole soul reason I was now having this beautiful Irish October week in the first place. (re: how this all started)
John, my own personal Trinity College alumni, took me on a walk around the campus, filling me in on the history and traditions. Our tour culminated with a visit to the Old Library and The Book of Kells. I’ve been sitting here speechless for 20 minutes trying to describe the feeling I had seeing the millennia old, handwritten and intricately illustrated copy of the Four Gospels… Nope, I’m still not ready. Come back to me.
The energy in The Long Room speaks volumes to the tangible power of the words contained within its ancient leather bindings. The history of the written word is a mindblowing story. Without these inked words our history would be lost, or at the very least contorted by a centuries-long game of telephone. The ability books have to transport us to different times and places– past, future, real, imaginary– is unparallelled. Libraries are the ultimate covergence of knowledge and imagination. Not only a place to feel connected to the past, relating to words and learning from stories written thousands of years ago, but also a place that vibrates with unwavering optimism for the future and all the stories yet to be written.
…And I promise I don’t only like it because it is a spitting image of the Jedi Temple Archives in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. (Although, I may have double-checked once or twice that the marble bust next to me was indeed Johnathan Swift and not, in fact, Qui Gon Jinn.)
“There is more knowledge here than anywhere else in the galaxy.”
-Jocasta Nu, Jedi Archive Librarian