I’m actually writing this back in the States – it took me a few days, between Bloomsday, jet lag, traveling home, and getting settled back in the house. But here’s what happened our last day in Dublin.
We started with a visit to Trinity College, which was really beautiful and had some gorgeous old architecture. Campus was really noisy because they were taking down a huge set from their Shakespeare festival (they performed an Indian-inspired version of The Tempest, which I heard was fantastic). However, it was still lovely.
It’s lovely inside!
We toured the grounds and then saw the Book of Kells, which was beautiful. The library had a great exhibit on how illuminated manuscripts are made, right down to the vellum pages and the pigments for the paint. The pages they had on display were beautifully illustrated. Read a little more about it here, and then look for some of the pages online!
Later that evening, we met with author Claire Hennessy for dinner. We had a lovely time with her, talking about young adult literature (she recommends you all read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, among other things), schooling in America and Ireland, a young person’s perspective on all this Irish history I’ve been talking about, and the role of writing in public education. Claire gets to do these really cool workshops in schools where she comes in, sometimes for a day and sometimes for several weeks, and encourages students to write creatively. In addition to producing some awesome first drafts, she says the benefit is that writing creatively in the classroom can actually help students write better formally. Basically, the more you write, the better you’ll be – and the more you enjoy the act of writing, the better you’ll be as well. Think on it! We may be doing a little creative writing ourselves in the coming year.
It was a great way to say goodbye to Dublin – dinner and tea with a good friend, talking about education and young adult literature and all kinds of good things. I’m bringing a set of Claire’s books back to the high school library, so you can read them for yourselves and see some of the awesomeness I’m talking about.
We were sorry to leave Dublin on Monday, but all good things must come to an end. Plus now it’s time to share this with the school!
Keep looking here for more thoughts on many things Irish, and maybe some more pictures and book recommendations. Cheers!