A long train journey across the body of Wales and a hop across water brought me to Anglesey; the northwestern corner of Wales and island home to Holyhead. This very cool little port town was the spot where I leapt on a mega-ferry to speed-cross the Irish Sea and make my way into Dublin.
The ferry was a big monster catamaran, and it makes the normally four-hour crossing in about two and a half. But the seas were restless that day, my friends, and those of you who follow me on twitter will know that it was an interesting crossing. Not much getting up and walking around for the passengers as we were buffetted by some pretty decent waves. It wasn’t as rough as my second crossing of the North Sea en route to John O’Groats from Orkney…but it was close. I worried for the condition of the vehicles below-decks!
In the end, grey, calm seas brought us safely into harbour in Dublin. [Kinda hard to see it, but that was my first view of Ireland!]
The last time I was in this city was in another lifetime way back in the ’80’s, and not much is the same. Dublin has grown into a bustling metropolis, bursting from its sky-high Needle outwards. [The fog had cleared by the time I got this shot!]
My first afternoon, I spent at the National Museum, hanging out with my daughter’s favourite Bog Bodies. It was these fine fellows that took my girl by the hand and led her into her love of archeology, so I had to say hello.
So, you know the story of these gents, right? Though several have been found in Ireland, they’ve actually been located across Europe and Asia — prehistoric sacrifices who have met their ends in terribly gruesome ways. But the bogs keep their secrets, and the bodies are, as you can see here, strangely and beautifully preserved.
I sat with them awhile, and thought about their families and the homes they’d left behind. Peaceful.
When it was time to head back among the living, I spent a lovely afternoon at the Porterhouse Pub, being regaled with stories by the amazing Diane Duane [author of The Young Wizards series and So Much More] and her partner in life and story-telling, Peter Morwood. We sampled the best the Porterhouse had to offer and Peter and Diane kept me vastly entertained all afternoon. I hadn’t seen them since my first year as coordinator of SiWC, and it was lovely to touch base again.
It was a too-short stay in Dublin, but I did manage [along with the lovely bog bodies and the lovelier Duane-Morwoods] get to pop in and see the Book of Kells. Which, I have to say, has gone big-time. Last time I looked at it, it was in a wee glass case in the library of Trinity College. These days, it’s a Much Bigger glass case, along with several other illuminated manuscripts and a big explanatory display. The library itself is worth the price of admission. Just a gorgeous, gorgeous place.
Time to wave goodbye to Dublin, after far too quick a visit. Next, it’s off to one of the smaller Irish cities — in the company of some decent Eireann precipitation.