Those that have actually followed the inexcusably delayed recounting of our adventures with bated breath will remind us that we have yet to return to Boston from California via Europe and may, in fact, recall that we'd be doing brief stopovers in Ireland on both outgoing and returning legs. They would be right. After having lived in Boston for the last ten years, we decided that it was high time to visit the ancestral home of the largest single ethnic group in the city, at 15.8% of the population, the Irish.

Has anybody every noticed how similar Irish Gaelic sounds to English in terms of tone and meter? I was woken up by an Aer Lingus overhead announcement and briefly thought that I had perhaps had a stroke as I could not understand a single word of whatever was being said even though it sounded exactly like English to me. As it turns out, Irish is not just an accent but also an entirely different language. In much the same way, we discovered that Dublin bore an eerie resemblance to Boston, with many restaurant names and store fronts shared between the two cities. Saint Stephen's Green looks uncannily like Boston Public Garden. Look at those photos and tell me they don't look like Boston! 

We even stumbled upon a Clarendon Street while wandering around downtown Dublin!

In our ambling, we visited Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, and the campus and library of Trinity College where we got to admire the Book of Kells, which was a truly beautiful work. What amazed us even more was the history of the village Kells and its Abbey (excerpted below from The Book of Kells by Sir Edward Sullivan): 

The history of Kells and its Abbey from late in the ninth century to the end of the tenth is a tale of continuous struggle against foreign centuries and domestic aggression.

In 899 the Abbey was sacked and pillaged.
In 918 the Danes plundered Kells, and laid the church level with the ground.
Rebuilt, it was again spoiled and pillaged by the Danes in 946.
Three years later, Godfrey, son of Sitric, plundered the Abbey.
In 967 the town and Abbey were pillaged by the King of Leinster’s son, supported by the Danes; but the allied forces were assailed and defeated by Domnald O Neill, King of Ireland.
Only a year later the Abbey and town were despoiled by a united force of Danes and Leinster people; while in 996 the Danes of Dublin made yet another pillaging raid on both the town and Abbey.

How the Gospels of St Columba survived this century of violence and spoilation it is impossible to say.

After walking all afternoon and with our jetlag catching up with us, we tried to find a little shop for dessert (I was craving ice cream) and were dismayed to find, at the relatively early hour of 9pm, that all of cafes and ice cream parlors around us were already closed. Dublin, while fun, was a bit TOO much like home for a vacation. 

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