October 20 & 23, 2001
I have never seen so many people being part of the daily routine in a Northern city like this. I thought that this might have been due to the huge football match with England going on and it being the weekend, but Tuesday packed just as many in.
While I've not been to Dublin before, I can feel that it's changed. Going off the tourist map you can see the Dublin of 10 years ago, less affluent buildings, now lightly coated with the saw and brick dust from the new construction across the street. There has been a high-tech explosion here in the past few years that have had the streets in the center scramble to upscale with the new jobs in town. There are some traditional elements thrown on them with ease, such as the bright green/blue/red/yellow doors on the brick buildings in this functional place. Or at least I think the colored doors are traditional… it's hard to tell when a city revolutionizes in just a few years.
Our group was able to see Irelands #1 tourist attraction: the ancient illuminated manuscript of the Book of Kells. They were mostly a work of art to start with, and not really to be read. The actual texts were in different volumes than these lambskin pages hand scribed by many a monk.
The excellent national museum kept us busy for a while too. This is a must for Celtic and Dark Age scholars alike.
The people, while rushing about and busy, maintain a high level of friendliness. Unfortunately, our schedules had us running around like mad dashing in and out from the countryside. Perhaps that is how I will stereotype modern day Ireland until my next visit: busy friendly people, jumbling about like leprechauns on a shopping spree after discovering a pot of gold.