Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Into the Crypts and Through the Looking Glass

(I'm hoping Zach will get on and post about how awesome Rachel Sermanni's show was, but we did get some recordings up on our Live wEIRe link, so check 'em out in the meantime.)

Monday morning, we took Randy, Kaci, Aja, Ali, and Natalie for a whirlwind tour of Dublin. (For those who don't know, that list comprises a portion of Zach's sisters except for Randy and Natalie).

Our first stop, after strolling the Quays (pronounced keys) along the River Liffey, was St. Michen's church, which was said to have inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula. It is also one of Dublin's best kept sightseeing stops. The tour guide was hilarious! He took us down into the burial crypts under the church to see mummies in open coffins. Some of the mummies were 800-900 years old. Not ancient Egypt, but a no less gory experience! Other crypts had skulls lining the floor. Others had caskets piled on caskets--some of which had broken open, leaving a severed leg and foot for us to gawk at! The tour guide also allowed us to enter one of the chambers with the mummies and we touched the hand of a Crusader for good luck! If you've never touched the rotting appendages of a mummy...all I can say is geeeyyaaaahhhhggggggg. Creepy!

After that we wandered the uh, well, wonders of O'Connell Street: the Writer's Museum and Centre, Garden of Remembrance complete with a statue of the Children of Lir, the Abbey Theater, and the General Post Office. We also stopped and gave appropriate oohh's and aww's to the stiffy on the Liffey or the stiletto in the ghetto: the giant millennium needle erected during Ireland's boom years.

We trickled down to Trinity College where we showed them around the campus a bit and then whisked them into the Long Room (ancient library), which is always a happy place for a couple of bookworms like me and Zach. With class and homework still in progress, we had to let our family guests peel off and tour St. Stephen's Green, Marrion Square and other such wonders on their own, but we did meet up again to dine at Porterhouse in the Temple Bar district. It was a great night after a great day!

Yesterday, we traveled to Dingle. Zach and I had to go by train because we still had classes and such, while Randy and the girls drove across the island!

While traversing the landscape Zach noticed something spectacular: how similar some of the hilly scenes and houses were to New Mexico. Even the yellow scrub brush looks like our coppery creosote. I suddenly realized that what might have attracted us to Ireland was its bizarre similarity to our homeland. Where we have sand, they have grass, but otherwise, it is a bald, barren, and lonely landscape with miles and miles to go. For just a moment I realized we had stepped through the looking glass!

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