I decided to do something rather out of character last weekend. On a whim I made quick arrangements and bought a round trip ticket to one of the few cities outside of Italy that are on my bucket-list. I went to Dublin
What an invigorating, interesting, and in some ways strange journey.
It began with a bang; taking the wrong bus, I ended up on the side of the highway, technically at Ciampino airport, but a 20 minute run to the terminal with only 40 minutes before the gate closed. After a very stressful jog in which I was literally yelling Ave Marias to get me through the run (I do hope that the security got me on tape, as that would probably have given them a laugh), I found myself residing at the abode my my good friend Patrick Mulligan.
Pictured: Mulligan, with what appears to be one of his ancestors. Not pictured, my dear friend Cat who I was unable to take a picture of but whom I also visited. Hound them for it and they will share a picture of me wearing my scarf as a bandanna. Apparently I look like Solid Snake.
So what does one do in Dublin. Why, you visit the historical sights of course! So please forgive me, as some of Dublin’s history, like its Bronze Age relics, are fantastic and ready for the history books.
Look at that beautifully preserved horde of relics! The spears, the horns, the brooches! Sweet Heavens, the brooches on display were magnificent!
And this canoe! I bet it could still float in water!
But the best bit were the Bronze Age rapiers.
Look at these swords! Look at me geeking out over the swords! See, while the Mediterranean cultures developed bronze swords with tangs (a strip of metal that extends from the blade into the handle), the Celts, however, riveted their blades straight to the handle. This allowed costly bronze to be used to make longer swords, fit for thrusting, hence their commonly being called rapiers, despite not having any connection to fine swords of the musketeers. More info can be found here. However, these rivets often broke due to stress, as you might be able to see on these examples.
Also present: bog-men!
The peat bogs of Ireland have turned bodies into fossils quite well. Here we see an example of a Bronze Age Irishman. From this fossil we learned two things: that the ancient Irish were much smaller than we were, and that they were redheads.
A quick edit roughly a month later: a discussion with a fellow classics scholar here in Rome recently brought to mind a third thing that this bog man has taught: that men of the bronze age styled their hair with pomade. This came up in a discussion on the feasibility of twirled mustaches in ancient times.
So there ends the school-safe portion of the blog. Put the children to bed and get out a glass.
Dublin has a whiskey museum (note the “e”) where I learned the history of Irish whiskey: from fortified beer to modern coffee flavoring. Apparently it was coffee that saved the floundering whiskey market of the early 20th century, as it was American GIs stopping in Ireland on their way back from the battlefields of the continents that brought Irish Coffee and Irish whiskey back home to America. Tastings followed, and I enjoyed some whiskey that knocked me in the face and some that went down like silk.
And you know what else Dublin has?
Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination…
Guinness knows what’s up. I swear its like a Disney ride in there. Guided tours with tastings. How to pour a proper pint (tip glass at 45 degrees, pour until it 3/4th full, rest until dark, pour at 90 degrees until full). Vats an vats of malted barley! Few pictures were taken within, as I was too enraptured. But take my word for it, what a place to be!
All in all, Dublin was a riot. I thank friendship for that. But Rome awaits, calling me, reminding me that palm trees and sunshine are preferable to the cold and the grey. One more tick off the bucket-list.
Nicholas Guarracino '18