Irish Heritage Tour As Seen Through the Eyes of a Student: Day 8

The Honors Program just completed its Irish Heritage Tour, where twenty-one students and two staff members traveled to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland from May 8th through the 19th. We have asked a number of students to blog about the journey, so each day is written from the perspective of a different student or staff member. Today's post was written by Kelly Luck, an Honors Program freshman majoring in Mathematics and Integrated Mathematics Education. We hope you enjoy reading about our journey!

The city had a number of windows, murals, etc. dedicated to those who fought and died in the 1916 Easter Rising.
Day 8: Monday, May 15th

Today was one of the days that really connected what we learned in class to what we were seeing in Dublin. We started at Trinity College to begin our Easter Rising walking tour with our tour guild Lorcan Collins, who is an expert in the Easter Rising, and whose grandfather was actually part of the fight! He was very funny and entertaining, and he led us all over Dublin, sharin ga great deal of history and a small bit of local flavor as we walked. We went to various sites that the IRA had taken over during the rising, including the General Post Office, City Hall, and Dublin Castle. We walked along the outside of the General Post Office, and Lorcan pointed out the bullet holes that can still be seen on the outside of the building. He pulled out a container that held a couple of antique bullets that he had found, discussed what kind of bullet would have made the holes we could see, and passed around the bullets he had so we could see and touch them. We went inside the Post Office as well, and discussed how the IRA had broken all the windows to avoid the glass shattering during the fighting and had covered the windows with books. It was so moving to be able to touch the bullet holes and stand on the same floors where the Irish stood as they were fighting for their freedom. Next, we went to City Hall and learned about many of the women who were leaders during the Rising and held important roles. Finally, we walked to Dublin Castle, which is now used as a government building, and discussed the strategic location of the building and also heard some interesting observations about the statue of justice. The statue is turned in towards the building instead of facing the street and the people, and isn't blindfolded as "Justice" typically is, being blind to race, economic status, etc. Our guide felt that this statue was an excellent representation of the continued repression of the Irish people.

Bullet holes in the General Post Office, untouched for 100 years to honor those who died fighting.
After the tour, some friends and I headed to Grafton Street for lunch and some shopping. Then we decided to visit Dublinia, a museum with information on the Vikings in Dublin and Medieval Dublin. It was one of the best decisions we could have made. There were three floors, each focused on a different era in Dublin. The first floor was dedicated to Dublin during the time of the Vikings, the second floor included Dublin during the Medieval era, and the third floor focused on archaeology and current excavations. Most of the museum had exhibits that we could touch, so it gave us an interactive experience. We were able to feel chain mail and armor, smell spices, and write our names in Viking letters.  We really were able to understand how Dublin originally came to be and how the city has changed over time.

Dr. Swanson spent some time in the stockade.
The museum was connected by a bridge to Christ Church Cathedral, so we looked around the Cathedral, as well. The architecture was amazing, and we enjoyed going down to the crypts below the church, as well. Most of the historical exhibits were set up down here, and there were a number of plates and goblets all made out of precious metals, like gold, kept in this area.

Wrought iron gates in Christ Church Cathedral.
Finally, we headed back ot the hotel for a break. This was our last day in the Republic of Ireland so we needed to spend as many of our Euros as possible, as Northern Ireland and Scotland both use Pounds. We decided to do that by going to a convenience store to buy a bunch of different food for dinner, which we ate in our hotel room while we watched the Irish News. Lastly, we went down to the hotel bar for drinks before coming back up to bed since we have an early day tomorrow as we head to Northern Ireland!

Christ Church Cathedral


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