During our second day of adventure in Dublin, we spent the day scrambling around to finish our short list of things. The last 24 hours started at 10:30 with heading to Trinity College. Trinity is sort of like the Oxford University of Ireland, but it was founded about 300 years after Oxford. The campus is gorgeous and even though it’s located smack in the center of the city of Dublin, you feel teleported to another world. The massive grey-brick buildings line the grid-organized campus. Trinity as a whole is beautiful, but one exhibit particularly caught our attention. The Book of Kells and Trinity Library houses some of the most artfully created manuscripts of the New Testament gospels. The manuscripts were printed in the 800s, and by printed, I mean slowly and monotonously slaved over by monks and artists in monasteries around Ireland and England. Brushes were dipped into hand made ink-dyes and colored onto the pages. The symbolism put into every page continues to amaze tourists and visitors. Walking into the small room housing the collection really was awesome. Just to know that these books have seen over 1,100 years of history still blows me away. As the exhibit sadly ended and we walked away from the ancient collection, we headed to the Trinity College Library which houses a copy of every book printed in England or Ireland, but is more famous for the 38 busts of writers, scientists, and other academics that line its main walkway. Even though we were actually not allowed to touch any of the books in this part of the library, being in this room made my IQ jump at least 20 points.
After exploring Trinity College, we set off north heading across the Liffey River. It was about lunch time and we were pretty hungry. We didn’t really have any particular type of food in mind, so when we came across a restaurant with a sign “Mexican Burrito Bar,” we were hesitant, but optimistic. Although I started having second thoughts about going to an Irish Mexican burrito bar, I was warmly welcomed by a system I am far to familiar with. We walked in and were welcomed by a short line forming. At the end of the line stood a smiling face, a stack of warm, flour tortillas and a buffet bar running perpendicular to the line filled with rice, beans, meats, vegetables, salsa, sour cream, and shredded cheese. IT WAS IRISH CHIPOTLE. Although I was slightly upset about not finding a traditional Irish pub, I had been craving the warm embrace of a burrito full of rice for almost a week and this was exactly what I wanted. The chicken was seasoned and tender, the tortilla was soft and welcoming, and the salsa was flavorful and explosive. It was magical.
After experiencing Irish Chipotle, we continued walking around making quick stops at a couple places including a sight exhibition from the Trinity College School of Science, and the James Joyce Center. Our long day slowly came to a close as we walked back south of the river to our last stop, the Brazen Head. The Brazen Head is the oldest pub in Ireland dating back to right before 1200. Walking into this pub was the strangest feeling of simultaneously being teleported back in time, and into the future. The pub had a fantastic outdoor garden area to sit and even though you could tell this place was from 800 years ago, there were TV’s sprinkled around on the walls, and free Wi-Fi access. We relaxed, rested our feet and then made the final trek back to our apartment.
The day ended early for us yesterday and this morning, at the stiflingly early time of 05:45, we woke up, cleaned up, and hopped on our ferry headed back to England. Our Irish adventure had come to a close and we are headed back to Oxford. Ireland blew me away and even though we only spent 72 hours in the historic country, I learned more than I ever could’ve imagined.
By far the saddest part about leaving, is that I have to start another paper on the journey home.