dublin // day 1 // part 1

The Aircoach drops me off at Trinity College at 10am. The weather is perfect as I walk around the prim campus (not as beautiful as McGill, but I’m biased on that one). The line to see the Book of Kells is too long for my liking, so I spend more time walking into random buildings instead.

I follow my ever-so-convenient phone GPS, and then stroll through St. Patrick´s Park, which is the best place to take photos of the cathedral itself. St. Patrick is indeed very impressive. I don’t go inside quite yet, as I see a sign indicating there will be an organ recital in the evening, which will give me the opportunity to experience its interiors for free!

I land in Dubh Linn Garden, a green square flanked by the Chester Beatty Library, the Coach House and the Dublin Castle. I step inside the Coach House, enticed by a very visually-appealing poster promoting its current exhibit. My graphic design instincts do not disappoint me: this Coach House turns out to be Dublin’s Design Museum (double identity? shared space? I’m a little confused as to who owns the place). I’m lucky to be able to visit ‘In the Making’, an exhibit that has just closed on March 17th - sorry, everyone. Curated by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, it displays unfinished everyday objects. From tennis balls to wooden pencils, the viewer gets a taste of what objects look like at a particular point in their fabrication process. Each piece is both fascinating to look at and revealing of the ingenuity involved in contemporary manufacturing. Below you will find a couple of my favorites.

Optic Lens (paused at 10%) - “Diamond cut crystal glass. This piece of glass is destined to become optic lenses used for binoculars or telescopes."

I then go to the Chester Beatty Library, where I see two exhibits, one on the history of bookmaking, and the other on the different religions of the world. I quickly pass through the three religions I already know quite a bit about (unsurprisingly, they take up the majority of the physical gallery space), and instead spend more time learning about Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikh religions. As a yogi, I have some basic knowledge of Hindu terminology, but I’m always curious to gain new insights. What’s interesting is that, despite their differences, all of these religions exist in the first place. So even though China is miles away from the Middle East, for instance, and Buddhism is still very different from Islam, there were people in both places who one day decided “Hey, you know what? I’m going to start believing in this imaginary being and base my whole life around him. Sounds like a plan.” Anyway - I’m glad the exhibit doesn’t have a section on my dear Atheism, which, by the way, is not a religion but lack thereof.

I then pass by Dublin Castle, which served as the British government’s headquarters during the occupation (our guide refers to it as the “British Empire’s Death Star”). Adjacent to the Castle is the Records Tower, Dublin’s own Bastille or Tower of London. Built in the 1500’s, this structure once kept political prisoners.

The Gallery of Photography currently has a relatively small, but high quality, exhibit of fashion photographs. Titled ‘Resonate’, it features works by Irish photographers such as Boo George and Neil Gavin. It’s a really nice space!

The back court of the Gallery of Photography is actually Meeting House Square, one of the two squares in the Temple Bar neighborhood. It is partially covered by modern structures, which I later learn have the ability to collect rainwater to use it to clean the streets (one gold star for sustainability!). Speaking of Temple Bar: I exit Meeting House Square and end up right onto Essex Street East, and continue onto the infamous Temple Bar Street. I take many photos of this one pub called Temple Bar, only to realize it’s not the first pub on the street, nor is it ‘THE’ pub. Its name, like many others in this neighborhood, is merely a tourist trap. (I least I didn’t waste my money on a 7€ pint of Guinness inside).

It’s only 12pm but the street is already bustling with pub-goers. I take refuge in Temple Bar Gallery, which is distinctly minimalist and zen compared to its surrounding establishments. The current pieces on view are part of ‘The Pattern Exchange’, a collection of works by contemporary Irish artists like Sarah Browne, Gareth Kennedy and Fiona McDonald. I especially appreciate the playful stools and installation pieces provided by Studio Weave.