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Day 4

Posted by: Yocheved | July 7, 2011 | No Comment |

I wanted to do something this morning because we didn’t have class until 2 p.m. acting with Patrick.  But I slept a bit later than I meant to (until about 9:30) because I had stayed up a little late finishing Playboy of the Western World last night.  So I was eating breakfast in the common room downstairs at about a quarter to eleven and trying to figure out what to do, when a woman walks in and says she’s giving a free walking tour of the city starting at eleven!  The program had arranged a walking tour for the girls, but I landed a bit late and missed it, so now I got the chance to catch up!

The tour was fantastic.  We started in front of City Hall, and then we went to Dublin Castle.  On Monday of Easter week of 1916, 19 Dubliners (10 men and 9 women) invaded Dublin Castle, which was a major power center controlled by the British.  But all the British soldiers were out on a day off because they had expected the invasion on Sunday and not Monday.  The Dubliners walked in, but were spooked by the unexpected silence and, fearing a trap, left and took City Hall instead.  Oops.

The castle was built in 1204, by the King John mentioned in the Robin Hood tales.  Most of it was burned down and rebuilt, and the Record Tower is the only part that remains from the original medieval structure.  The walls of the Record Tower are 12 feet thick, and Red Hugh O’Donnell was imprisoned there– follow the link to read the whole story, I haven’t time to put it down here.  The Castle’s courtyard has a statue of Fortitude and another of Justice.  Justice’s scales are real, and Eileen (our guide) said that when it rains, the scales actually tip out of balance.  Pictures are coming.  The castle was pretty interesting– you can read more about it here.

Then we headed out to Dubh Linn Gardens, which was lovely– a really nice circular green space to sit and read in.  There are lots of twisty paths that make a Celtic sign if you look at it from above.  There’s also a big wall that was built to shield the Queen’s eyes from the view of a slum– they preferred to put the money into building a wall than into fixing the slum.

We also saw the outside of the Walter Beatty Library, which is supposed to be really nice.  Then we went down Ship/Sheep Street to Jonathan Swift’s birthplace– if anyone isn’t familiar with “A Modest Proposal,” you should read it– which was basically a black door with some grafitti on it.  Unfortunately, my camera battery stopped working here and I didn’t get a picture, but there really wasn’t much to see– just a black door with some grafitti on it.

The tour guide also told us about some schools that teach everything only in Gaelic and that ban English.  They’re sort of trying to revive the language, because not many people are able to speak much Gaelic, even though all Irish public schools teach it through 12th grade.

We then headed through Temple Bar and took a coffee break; I chatted with some girls from England also on the tour.  When we resumed, we headed over the Ha’penny Bridge.  They used to charge a half penny to cross it– it spans the Liffey River, which divides North and South Dublin.  Over 30,000 people cross it per day now, so if the city would go back to charging for it, it might help them out of their economic crisis.  We also saw the huge spire erected for the millenium.  Then we crossed the O’Connell Bridge, which is famous for being more wide than long.  It was from the O’Connell Bridge that they had the Failed Millenium Clock project– you were supposed to push a button and the Liffey River would reflect a clock showing you how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds were left until the millenium.  Problem was, the water is way too polluted and dirty to reflect anything, so after having to send people down to clean the clock week after week, they finally just turned it off.

But in the depression left by that button was erected a placque for Father Pat Noise, reading:

THIS PLAQUE COMMEMORATES

FR. PAT NOISE

ADVISOR TO PEADAR CLANCEY.

HE DIED UNDER SUSPICIOUS
CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN HIS
CARRIAGE PLUNGED INTO THE
LIFFEY ON AUGUST 10TH 1919.

ERECTED BY THE HSTI

Thing was– there was no Father Pat Noise.  Some students erected the placque as a joke.  It took the City Council two or three years before someone said, “Hang on, I don’t remember putting that placque there, did you put it there?”  Then the City Council contacted the Church, which checked its records and said there never was a Father Pat Noise.  So the council was going to take it down, but then people started leaving flowers and messages by the placque.  So they decided to give in and leave it up.

Then the tour headed to Trinity College, but I had to head back to eat something and change into blacks for my 2:00 acting class with Patrick, so I tipped the tour guide and thanked her and headed off.  Before I left, she told me that I can get really cheap fruits and vegetables on Moore Street, which I certainly plan to check out, because the local suparmarket didn’t have such a great selection.

The acting class was great.  As always, we started with walking (one image I really liked that Patrick said a few days ago was to think about the air you displace when you walk, like a boat).  Then we played with the line, “Soon I shall be dead, after all, in spite of everything,” by ourselves and in pairs and my group was a threesome.  Then we went over the Beckett scenes, which are coming along, and “Not I”, which I still dislike, but I suppose there is a pleasure in just getttin your mouth around the words.  We worked with a cardboard box over our faces so that all you see is our mouths.

After that we changed for the theatre and I had dinner-  matzoh and peanut butter and a stuffed pepper (ie: tuna in a raw green pepper) and an apple for dessert- and davened mincha.  Then we saw Molly Sweeney, another play by Brian Friel, at the Gate Theatre, which was excellent.  It’s about a 40 year old woman who has been blind since she was 10 months old and has an operation to get back her sight.  The entire play is told in soliloquies– Molly, her husband Frank, and Dr. Rice who performs the surgery.

Then we headed back to the hostel, and I chatted for a bit with the girls on my program before starting to work on my blog.  While I was working in the common room, I heard two boys talking in Hebrew behind me.  I turned to look and one looked up at me and said, “Ivrit?”  So I said, “Kain ani M’veinah Ivrit!”  “How do you know Ivrit??” “I’m Jewish!”  They were about as shocked as I was.  They’re from Tel Aviv.  I didn’t have a long conversation with them, but I’m telling you, there are Israelis everywhere.

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