One important attraction I planned to see was the Book of Kells located at the historic Trinity College in Dublin It did not disappoint. Built in, the college itself boasted classic European architecture and design. The exhibit was thoughtfully laid out in progression as you wound through cobbled stone rooms illustrating the various pages and books alongside informative text. As you approached the actual Book of Kells, light box replicas of the pictures filled the walls. The process for making the paper and the book’s hardbound cover was explained as well as the binding methods. As you approached the interior rooms, the various stones used for producing the different colored inks were displayed. When I finally arrived and saw the actual pages, I nearly cried. I couldn’t believe I was looking at this ancient text and illuminated manuscript from around 800 A.D. The open page from one of the four gospels was brilliantly illustrated. My heart leapt for joy!
“Christ be with me, Christ within me. Christ behind me. Christ before me. Christ beside me. Christ to win me. Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me. Christ above me. Christ in quiet. Christ in danger. Christ in hearts of all that love me. Christ in mouth of friend and danger.”
Though I’m not a fan of the last, the mussels were soft and delectable. According to what I read, the Irish had a real revolution in their thinking towards food from mere substance to a pleasurable experience. In the economic upturn, there was a lot of French cuisine, but now the Irish have taken to using their own fresh food items and creating their own unique sauces. The lamb stew with mashed potatoes had a wonderfully seasoned sauce as well as the mutton. It just made the whole experience much more enjoyable and I fell in love with the food. As an aside, while we were at the pub a very old grey-haired lady was escorted to a table next to us. Everyone greeted her and catered to her wants. It touched me and my daughter so to see how much she was respected and it was one of those aha moments that encapsulated my changing view of the Irish people and helped me fall more in love with them.