Welcome Friends! I hope you enjoy tasting these teaching and travel tidbits.
Come along with me as I attempt to navigate my way through a new country, school system, and life for a year!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Luck of the Irish!

Ireland in Bloom

Lucky me, I got to spend St. Patrick's Day in Ireland!   I flew to the Emerald Isle with fellow Fulbrighter, Rebecca Smith, after school on Friday night.  Since we are both teachers on an international quest to add to our knowledge of important cultural traditions, it seemed only proper to begin our weekend at a museum.  So bright and early Saturday morning we headed off to the National Leprechaun Museum!  What other country has a national museum dedicated to the wee fairy folk!?!  Our storyteller/tour guide, Elenore, led us through the land of the little people, sharing traditional tales at every stop,but first we had to be shrunk down to leprechaun size.  

Teeny Tiny Me!

We walked through a magical land of rainbows, pots of gold, and wishing wells, learning the history and evolution of leprechauns in Ireland.  By the time we were done, we could have written a book about it, or at least appeared in a book about it....

With this bit of our education checked off the list, we were ready for college, so we stopped to watch the boat race between University College Dublin and Trinity College on the river Liffey.    

With our appetite whetted for more of Trinity College, we decided to pass through the campus.  We walked through Parliament Square and  the library, then noticed a queue of people waiting to see the Book of Kells.  We had both heard of this before, but neither of us knew exactly what it was, so we joined the line to check out the book.  We learned that it's an illuminated Latin copy of the gospels from about the year 800 a.d. written by Celtic monks and is considered to be Ireland's greatest treasure.  

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One of the illuminated pages of the Book of Kells

Campanile in Parliament Square at Trinity

In the Trinity College Library

 Next it was time to discover the man that this weekend is all about--St. Patrick.   We took a walking tour of Dublin called "In the Footsteps of St. Patrick" that took us to many of the places that St. Patrick visited or places associated with him.  This gave us a pretty good overview of the city and a chance to tour St. Patrick's Cathedral.  
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Site of St. Patrick's Well
Stone excavated from the site of St. Patrick's Well
St. Patrick's Cathedral Interior  

The Man of the Day!

In honor of the holiday, there were street fairs and performers around the city.  We enjoyed these, as well as a nice meal at an Irish Pub.   

In the evening, we went on another walking tour, a haunted Dublin tour.  One of the most spectacular elements of  St. Patrick's Day in Dublin is that many of the most important buildings in the city turn green, which really added to the fun!  

Green City Hall

Green St. Patrick's Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral--is it Dublin or Oz?
This is a shot of St. Audoen's Church from earlier n the day, but believe me,
when we were locked behind these gates at night,
it really was a scary ghost tour!
The next morning we awoke to the rain that keeps Ireland green.  We headed downtown to watch the People's Parade.  This parade was comprised of groups of Irish people who had moved abroad and returned to their homeland for the parade, as well as people from other countries that are currently living in Ireland.  It was freezing cold out and quite rainy, but that didn't dampen the spirit of the marchers!  

We had a chance to see the beginning of the second parade, the St. Patrick's Day Parade, before heading to the airport.  

St. Patrick giving his blessing to the frozen onlookers

Watching the Parade!

We raced to the airport where we thawed out and watched some the rest of the parade on the big screen  before boarding our plane back to London.  I'm so glad that Rebecca had the brilliant idea of celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Ireland!  I know that every year on March 17th I'll remember the year I was able to enjoy this special day in Dublin.