The Final Frontier

My boyfriend and I were once sitting in front of the TV at home, and he was talking on the phone to one of his friends, who was also sitting in front of the TV at home with his girlfriend.

My boyfriend overheard his friend say to his girlfriend: “So, babe, are we gonna watch some Star Trek or what?”

To this day, we still refer to that as the smoothest line in all of romantic history.

20121203-135829.jpgWe had something of a Star Trek theme running through our weekend in Dublin.

On Day One, Saturday night, we arrived in Dublin on the last train. We checked into our hotel in Merrion Square, and I switched on the TV to see JJ Abrams’s 2009 Star Trek playing. My boyfriend and I saw this movie in the cinema with his mother, who had grown up watching Star Trek every day after school. She knew the name of each character as soon as they arrived on screen.

20121203-135841.jpgYesterday, after our Perfect Irish Sunday, we caught a 3D screening of Rise of the Guardians at the Savoy on O’Connell Street. We both thoroughly enjoyed it, but we had to sit through the credits to figure out who all the voices were (Alec Baldwin as Santa Claus? That was a surprise.) When we saw Chris Pine as Jack Frost, I’ll admit we didn’t know who that was, until I imdb’ed him when we got back to the hotel. We first saw him as “one of the skinheads” in Smokin’ Aces from 2006, but of course, he’s most known for his role as James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise in the 2009 film Star Trek.

Finally, today, Monday, we’re catching the train out of Connolly Station to Belfast. We found out that passengers en route to Belfast have their own special waiting room, and the train is a different model than the one that goes to Galway. It’s name? The Enterprise.


Mall + Library

20121203-110854.jpg20121203-110841.jpgWe tried to get up early and go to the National Leprechaun Museum this morning, but the the tour schedule didn’t mesh with our travel plans, so we just bought some leprechaun gold from the machine out front.

Since we had some free time, I wanted to check out something I’d seen in passing on a previous visit to Dublin.


Basically, there’s a public library inside a shopping mall. I think this is genius, and really fascinating. As a former mall rat, I really could have used an arrangement like this.

20121203-110122.jpgWe were both surprised to find every possible seat full – with jobseekers, I’m guessing – so I found a shelf to browse while my boyfriend started reading a book about war.20121203-110138.jpgI kept returning to this German edition of Skippy Dies.


It was a box set of three paperback volumes, which is not how I read Skippy Dies, but is actually very loyal to the story and the structure of the book.


I suppressed the urge to pocket this handy little bookmark, which introduces all of the major characters (in German!), and left it in the case for the next reader – which should count as my good deed for the day, because it was really difficult for me.

Perfect Irish Sunday

This is my fourth trip to Dublin in two months, and I’ve decided to embrace my inner tourist and walk all over town with a camera hanging around my neck.

My boyfriend and I had what we were calling “the perfect Irish Sunday” today:

We went to the Guinness Storehouse…


My favorite display was the artists’ interpretation of a pint of the black stuff…


I learned a few things about how and where Guinness hits the tongue…


Then we went to Ireland’s oldest pub, the Brazen Head, for lunch…


My boyfriend photo bombed this shot of the wall decor…


We both had stew: I had traditional Irish, he had Beef and Guinness (in a bread bowl)…


We finished the day with a visit to the Old Jameson Distillery…


We learned about the process that goes into making Jameson whiskey…


We sampled the goods, bought some swag, and were on our merry way…


O Say Can You See?

A few things I wish I had pictures of so I could post them here:

  • The Book of Kells, which I saw for the second time yesterday
  • The first three books printed in the Irish language (I have to make a special scholarly request so I can go back to Trinity’s library and see them myself)
  • The bookcase at Marsh’s Library in Dublin that was hit by machine gun fire in 1916. One bullet traveled through a book, ricocheted off the back of the bookcase, and passed through the book again. It was an incredible thing to see.
  • The two elderly gentlemen I saw on my walk home, sitting side by side in a book-lined study and working on their laptaps. I imagine it was some scholarly collaboration taking place in the house near campus, overlooking the canal.
  • My absentee ballot (it never showed; must have requested it too late)

Today in Irish for Beginners, we learned Amhrán na bhFiann, the Irish national anthem. It was taken up by the rebels in the GPO during the 1916 Easter Rising, and is always sung in Irish. The chorus includes lines like Tonight we man the gap of danger and ‘Mid cannons’ roar and rifles’ peal

Sounds familiar, right? And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air… Funny how both our national anthems are about fighting the British.

Happy election night, y’all!

Busy Day

Woke up at 5am. Rode across the width of a small European country in a bus. Visited a book publisher, a music magazine, and a print shop. Handled a 300 euro book; bought a different book for 10 euro minus a 25 percent discount. Saw the Yeats exhibit at the National Library. Chatted with my professor on a city bus. Mailed my absentee ballot request from the infamous General Post Office. Finally tracked down the collection a fashion designer from Northern Ireland did for a high street retailer. Ate dinner in a crowded restaurant alone. Attended a theatre performance that involved lots of full-frontal male nudity and a famous actor in a fat suit. Now enjoying the comforts a hotel room can provide – a bathtub, central heating, and WiFi.

More tomorrow.