This past week has not been a very busy one. I haven’t had much class because Drama got pushed back so we ended up having a double Drama on Thursday and there were two sessions of double Visual Culture this week, which I am not taking. I did not have class at all on Tuesday and spent most of the day reading Harry Potter and wandering around town. I went to the National Photographic Archive with Tessa where they had an exhibit on right now called “If ever you go to Dublin town,” with photos from the 1950s and ’60s in Dublin of the town and the people. It was quite interesting, but not as extensive as I had hoped. I think the two most intriguing photographs were the one of the pillar statue that had been blown up by the IRA, currently replaced by the gigantic Spire on O’Connell, and a photo of the spiral staircase in Kilmainham Gaol (jail) before the jail had undergone restoration. Elinor Wiltshire, the photographer, also took great pictures of the people and of various little kids playing. (Little kids in Ireland have to be the cutest little kids I’ve ever seen.) On Tuesday night then, I went with Colleen and Lauren to see Public Enemies, which was really great, but a little slow. Johnny Depp is amazing as always, but I’m not sure what I thought about the woman who played his girl, Billie…
Wednesday was another relaxing day, in the morning at least. I decided to head over to Parnell Square in North Dublin to check out the Garden of Remembrance before class. After class in the evening we had the screening and discussion of Once, which is even better after having lived in Dublin for a couple months. The professor we had come discuss the film with us, Dr. Luke Gibbons, was great as well and very knowledgeable, as I would hope since he teaches Irish film as well. After the film, a few of us went over to Hardrock to get five euro cocktails, which was fun. Tessa, Anna, and I didn’t stay out too late since we had to catch the 11:30 bus home, but it was still a good night.
Thursday was my last day of class, and the only class I had was drama! It was fairly interesting. We discussed The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant and other more contemporary Irish playwrights and their influences. I went to Stashu’s film class after that to watch the film he was showing, The Butcher Boy, which was a very bizarre and dark film. Professor Gibbons, the evening before, said that a quote by Plato explained the film the best. It was something along the lines of “Evil does not come from nowhere, but from the absence of love,” which explained the film well. Then we had our questions, answers, exams, and reception at 4. After dinner on Thursday I read Harry Potter until Tessa and I headed out for the Hen Party for Frances. (Hen parties are like Bachelorette parties, except that it’s more of a, dress up ridiculously and go round to the pubs and clubs all night long, opposed to staying at home and having a party of sorts.) Her fiance proposed right before she left for Ireland, asked her parents for permission while she was here, and brought her the ring just a week or two ago to make it official. So, we threw her a Hen party, it was an entertaining evening. When we got back that night I stayed up reading Harry Potter, and finished the last ten pages on Friday morning.
For our Friday adventures, we bussed over to the Glasnevin Cemetery, which is a bit north of Dublin City Centre. It was a long and exhausting, we walked around almost the entire cemetery. Lots of well known political figures are buried there, including O’Connell, Parnell, de Valera, Michael Collins, a famous poet whose name escapes me, a woman who worked directly with Robert Emmet in the failed rebellion of 1803, and many other captured men from the 1916 Rising. There were also quite a few memorials throughout, one to the hunger strikers, one for the Young Irelanders, a and memorial to those who fought in each the first and second World Wars, to name a few. There’s also a pub near the old entrance of the graveyard that gravediggers would often stop at BEFORE going to bring caskets into the cemetery, and because of the problems having a pub so close to the entrance caused, they made rules about the times that funerals had to happen so that the gravediggers and funeral guests wouldn’t get lost in the pub on the way to the burial. The pub is called Jack Kavanagh’s, but everyone knows it as the Gravedigger’s Pub. On Friday evening, Tessa, Siobhan, and I went over to Traxie’s to have dinner with Traxie and Anna and then go out for a few drinks at the pub.
Saturday was another fairly lazy day. I started working on outlines for my essays for the exams on Tuesday and Wednesday, but I also started reading the 7th Harry Potter (I picked it up on Tuesday when I had some free time). Tessa, Anna, and I went to the Guinness Storehouse as well, finally, which was interesting. We learned all the stages and processes of making a Guinness and got to see the varying advertising of the drink through the years, among other things. At the very top we were at the Gravity Bar, where we got our pints of Guinness with shamrocks on top. I still can’t say I like beer, but having a pint at the storehouse was a must. Another interesting thing I learned about the place is that Arthur Guinness signed a 9000 (!) year lease for the place, and they are currently celebrating the 250th birthday of Guinness this year, so quite a few years to go.
Exams this week! (I think I’m taking three of my course exams on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. We have two hours for each course, and two essays to write for each course.) On Wednesday I think we are planning on taking a River Liffey tour, and then we have a special closing event for the summer school. Seona has mentioned bringing karaoke, so it should be a good time. Friday morning I head off for Galway and the Aran Islands! It will all be over before I know it. Before I get there, though, I should probably get cracking on studying for my exams….