Jaunting Part 4: Ireland

Recently I've taken a short hop through Ireland. You can hear me talk about it here.

The first step was getting to Ireland. I made my way to Liverpool with the hopes of taking the ferry. Hopes that were dashed with the discovery that the Liverpool ferry does not accept foot passengers. But, I still had a good time in the city. It boasts not one but two enormous cathedrals. There is the Anglican Cathedral which is made in the more traditional fashion of cathedrals: enormously heavy stones somehow stretched effortlessly into the heavens. For a small fee you can go to the top of this cathedral, which is where I took the overhead shot of the city. On the way to the top you get to see the bell machine. Across town is the Catholic Cathedral. Built in the 1960s this cathedral has a bit of a radical design: a circle. I liked this one more. While the Anglican cathedral is undoubtably the more impressive, it's not to different from many other cathedrals you'll city scattered across the UK. The Catholic Cathedral was refreshingly innovative.

Also in Liverpool is another branch of the Tate. Sadly when I went there 2 of the 4 floors were closed, but, one of the open floors was a fantastic exhibit on Mondrian and Muhamadi. If you're unfamiliar with the name Mondrian you may know his work the same way I originally did: the painting Commander Data keeps in his cabin aboard the Enterprise-D. The coolest part of the exhibit is they constructed a replica of Mondrians study which he decorated in a manner similar to his paintings. Though the second half of that exhibit was even more exciting because it was totally new to me. I had never heard of Narseen Muhamadi before but I really enjoyed her work. It consists of intricate, mathematical seeming drawings. All done by hand. I have a real soft spot for the geometric in art. A favorite style of mine is Vorticism, a tragically short lived art movement from the 1910s.

Dublin! The first two photos here show a rare sight: two of the only tall structures in all of Dublin. The Wellington Monument and the Dublin Spire. Next is the Old Library at Trinity College. While the main reason to pay is to gaze upon a few pages of the Book of Kells your admission also let's you see this gorgeous hall. I've been to a few grand libraries of the old style, though this was the nicest, and while they look like heaven the illusion is worn somewhat when you actually look at the titles on the shelves. In my experience most libraries of this ilk are dominated by the sort of record keeping that has thankfully been replaced with databases. Titles like Town Hall Meeting Notes Jun-Sept 1894. The last picture here is a shot of the interior of Kilmainham Gaol that shows it's partial implementation of the panopticon design pattern.

From Dublin I made my way over to Galway and went on a couple tours to see some sights of the West coast. First up was a trip through the Burren stopping at the Cliffs of Moher. The first photo here is the Poulnabrone dolmen, a Stone Age burial site inside the Burren that likely predates the Pyramids. The second photo is a sample of the typical Burren landscape, which is of a type known as karst. A frequent but consistently interesting site in this part of Ireland is abandoned abbeys, several of which I was lucky enough to explore. Finally we have here three shots of the famous Cliffs.

The second tour was to take in some of the hills and mountains of Connemara. The first three shots here show that majestic scenery. The star attraction of this tour though was Kylemore Castle. A lovely estate built in the 1800s by a wealthy Brit by the name of Mitchell Henry. After honeymooning in Connemara his wife fell in love with the place and so he bought an enormous amount of land and had this fairytale castle and Victorian garden constructed as a lavish gift to her. Tragically they only had a scant few years there. The castle was finished in 1871 and his wife died of dysentery on a trip to Egypt in 1874. After her death Mitchell started work on a miniature Neo-Gothic cathedral near the castle dedicated to her memory. One very notably feature of the cathedral is the differently colored marble columns, each type of marble coming from one of the four corners of Ireland. Unfortunately I didn't note which marble came from where and to my shock I can't find this information on the internet. The only one I can recall is that the gorgeous green variety came from Connemara.