So last week I went to Dublin with the interstudy crew (interstudy being the organization I came to Ireland with). So my roommates and one other girl that isn't living with us. The interstudy students from all over Ireland went for the weekend (well, those that chose to go). We basically just went out for a bit on Friday night (resulting in that last semi-coherent post) and then on Saturday we were free to do what we wished during the day. We met with Coleman (our Irish liason guy) at 5:30 for dinner and then went to a play after that, titled Marble. It was really good but quite the depressing play to see on Valentine's Day--all about the falseness of the daily lives we live and why do we live it, etc. Very Existentialist. It sucked for us (Alyssa and I) being away from each other on Valentine's Day, but we just celebrated a day late, on Sunday when I returned to Galway. We had a very lovely evening getting dinner and a bottle of wine at Mustard, a cozy little restaraunt that is attatched to Galway's old mill.
On Saturday during the day I went out with Allison and Brenna, two other English majors from interstudy. We went to the National Library of Ireland where there was a huge Yeats exhibit, showing old manuscripts, various masks from his plays, his passport, videos and ideas of his regarding the Occult (he was hugely influenced by mysticism and the occult). There was a room right when you walked in that had a poem of his projected on the wall with photos that would change being projected all around the wall, with famous Irish poets reading his poems (one of the poem's was actually a recording of Yeats himself reading a poem, though I can't remember which poem off the top of my head). The whole thing was really cool.
After that we went up to the reading room, where the Scylla and Charybdis episode of Ulysses takes place (well actually it takes place in the librarian's office which is attatched to the reading room, but we couldn't get in there :P). It was beautiful, a huge rotunda with a dome, books going all around it with little desks to sit at and read in the center. I would show a picture but they wouldn't allow photographs in there!
After that we headed to the James Joyce center, which was amazing. There were a bunch of documentaries on Joyce and Ulysses and some interactive things with a biography of Joyce and a guide through Ulysses; many portraits; a table of a friend of his (who was a Jew killed in the holocaust) at which various intellectuals living in Zurich would sit and discuss. Joyce wrote a lot of Ulysses at that table (sidenote: he wrote almost all of the book in social environments, not in seclusion, it made it more 'real' he believed). It was also the site where they all gathered and went through the publication, making a list of errors (which were corrected in the Galber edition), and where translations were made. There was also a model of one of his room when he lived in Trieste, and some really old copies of his books. Outside there was an enormous wall-mural which depicts Ulysses in graphic form...I think I found a tattoo on it to be inscribed on my arm :)
We were pretty tired so we headed back to the hostel after that to rest up for the night. Unfortunately I didn't make it to all the places from Ulysses I wanted to go, but I guess I'll have to make a trip back for it! Oh, at the shop I bought a bottle of wine that Joyce cited as his favorite drink in Finnegans Wake. I guess he drank a ton of it. It was specially made for Bloomsday (June 16) of 2004, marking the 100-year anniversary of the date Ulysses takes place (and the day Joyce went on his first date with Nora Barnacle). It has a picture of Joyce on the bottle! I couldn't pass it up, so I got it and am saving to drink it on Bloomsday this summer...
So then we went and did those things, after the play I met two girls, Ayleen and Nora, who were studying in Belfast. They were very cool, much more like me than my roommates, so we went out and got a few drinks and chatted and stuff. It was nice being with people I could identify with better.
So the next morning we left early and got back to Galway. It was great to be back; Dublin is nice and all but I am so glad we aren't there. It's dirty, pretty ugly, and too big. No wonder Joyce left! Galway is a perfect place to be. So Alyssa and I celebrated our Valentine's together that night and had a wonderful time...
Only three days after that was my birthday!! 22, woohoo!! It was a great birthday. I started my volunteering at Sciole Bhridh, the primary school that Alyssa is already volunteering at. I am doing the same stuff she has been doing, just working with the little bastard Irish kids. They are wild!!! A lot of fun though. After that we hung out at Alyssa's for a little bit, and then did dinner and a movie. We went to an Indian restaraunt, Kumar's, for dinner. It was delicious--and so many vegetarian options!! After that we saw Vicky Christina Barcelona, Woody Allen's new film--wonderful. It was very like his earlier films regarding relationships and what-not; although he wasn't in it, you could hear his voice with pretty much everything said. It was great and it's great that he is getting out of that slump he was in for so long! The birthday was very relaxed but just what I wanted, a nice day with Alyssa Hoppe :)
Until next time--cheers!