Grab your Snuggies and settle in. It’s time for a couch cruise to Ireland, courtesy of your friendly historical fiction writer. No passport required. For the next three weeks I’m going to share with you a little of what I saw and heard.
I was in the Emerald Isle for business, but I did get a chance to talk to some of the locals about the Irish take on the story of Tristan and Isolde, so I have no doubt that will influence the way I position book 4, when I get to it. Let’s just say I was advised to focus on the story’s mythical origins.
Most of my time was spent in and around Dublin, so I’m sorry to say I don’t have any rolling green hills to show you, but I can share a little of my trip. And yes, I took all of these photos.
We stayed in the Georgian area of Dublin, near the Georgian Mile. You can see the distinctive style of architecture in these buildings. (Do the chimneys make anyone else think of the movie Velvet Goldmine, or am I just mad?)
Grafton Street at dusk.
The main altar of St. Teresa’s Church on Clarendon Street. I highly recommend seeing this beautiful Carmelite church off Grafton Street if you get the chance.
Isn’t St. Stephen’s Green beautiful in spring? I think it’s got Central Park beat.
According to the plaque, this fountain depicts the three fates, but I see the Celtic triple goddess here. She’s alive and well in Ireland!
In case you haven’t had enough beauty, here’s Merrion Park.
Reclining comfortably (and somewhat lecherously) in Merrion Park is literary icon Oscar Wilde.
Trinity College. We went there for the Book of Kells, which is disappointing – you only get to see a replica and it’s not very exciting – but found a wonder beyond our wildest imaginations. More to come on Trinity’s breathtaking library next week.
For the armchair tourists, here are St. Patrick’s Cathedral (I didn’t get to go inside) and Kilmainham Jail (I toured that one; very important in the Irish quest for independence).
View from Howth, which is outside of Dublin. Palm trees are all over Dublin, but they’re not native to the area. I never did find out how they got there.
A peat fire, just because we were fascinated by it. For those who don’t know, the peat forms in low-lying bog areas when trees decay. On the upper levels where it’s looser, it’s peat moss, but from the lower, compact levels it’s harvested as turf. According to our host, it burns warmer and longer than wood. And it also has a better smell, slightly sweet, yet acidic at the same time. You’ll notice this end up in book 4.
Sunset over the Irish Sea. I’m almost positive I’m going to locate Isolde’s home south of Dublin (possibly far south), but this gives you and me both an idea of the beauty she’d look out over while home and long for while she’s in Britain.
As promised, next week you’ll get a short post on The Long Room of Trinity College. Or as I call it, heaven!
Questions? Comments? Do any of you have Ireland pictures to share?