Ireland day 0125. Monday 31 January 2022- Konkan

Ireland day 0125. Monday 31 January 2022- Konkan
Today’s summary Went into Dublin so Val could have her eyebrows “done”.   Visited the Book of Kells in Trinity College then went for an excellent Indian meal while we were there
Today’s weather Mild and bright in the morning, heavy cloud and some drizzle in the afternoon.   Felt colder in the afternoon in a stiffening breeze.   About 8C
Today’s overview location
(the red cross in a circle shows where Val and I are at the moment)
Close-up location
Commentary

I keep thinking that one day I will start this blog by saying “well, today was pretty similar to yesterday, and followed the same regular routine that we’ve slipped into here in Ireland”. But we haven’t got to that point yet – nowhere near in fact – as every day seems to be completely different to the last. And in that respect, at least, today was the same as the days that have gone before it.

So what was it exactly that made today so different? Well for one thing we paid an unexpected visit to one of oldest books in Ireland, and for another we spent the evening in what I think is probably the best Asian restaurant in the city.

The start of the day did have some familiar elements. We got up reasonably promptly, following the resolution we made at the weekend. Val, determinedly, went for a run round the demesne while I had a video catch up with friends. Then after an early brunch, Val decided that she wanted to get her eyebrows “done” at a salon in Dublin so the destination for the afternoon was set – we just needed to find ancillary activities to make the trip more universally palatable.

By the way, “done” is an umbrella term of somewhat imprecise definition. Personally I think a pair of kitchen scissors will “do” in my case but I get the impression that’s not a universally suitable solution.

So we headed off into Dublin for Val’s appointment but not without first deciding that we would try and see if Trinity College was open to visitors yet (it’s been closed because of Covid the last few times we have walked past). Then later in the evening we decided we would make good use of a voucher we were very kindly given for Christmas and book into what is said to be the best Indian restaurant in Dublin – the Konkan in Clanbrassil Street.

We got into town with a couple of hours to spare before Val’s appointment so headed off to Trinity College Dublin (or TCD as it is known) to see if it had reopened to visitors. It was a pleasant surprise to find that it had. And even more happily, the Book of Kells exhibition was also open.

We decided to be spontaneous and cough up the €15 admission (it’s clearly not run by the OPW!) to go in and see the exhibition.   Readers may recall from our visit to Kells last October, that the eponymous Book of Kells was written in around 800 AD by Columban monks, probably in the Abbey at Kells (in Co Meath) but possibly also at the Abbey on the Hebridean island of Iona.   It’s a lavishly illustrated (as they would say in a colour supplement advert for the Encyclopaedia Britannica) excerpt from the New Testament of the Bible, including the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.   Kells Abbey was raided by Vikings a dozen times in the 900’s and 1000’s AD and it’s actually a miracle that it has survived to this day.   It’s remarkable not so much for the text, but for the intricacy and beauty of the gold and coloured illustration of the manuscript.

The Book itself is on display in an antechamber to the main exhibition but you aren’t allowed to photograph it so I can’t show it to you.   Actually it’s quite small – about 40x30cm and (wash my mouth out for saying it) – slightly unspectacular.   But once you’ve had a look a the book, you go upstairs to the Long Room library, which definitely is spectacular, as the photos below hopefully show.

By the time we had had a good look round, it was time to get Val’s eyebrows “done” – which they duly were to general satisfaction.   We then strode out to the southern reaches of inner Dublin where we found our restaurant – Konkan – down Clanbrassil Street.   What can I say about the restaurant, except that it was excellent?   It was actually pretty reasonably priced, by Irish Restaurant standards, and the choice of food was great.  Though we played it safe and went for the eight course taster menu, which I could highly recommend with a couple of Cobras, if you’re ever passing this way.  A really wonderful Christmas gift, for which we were very grateful

Needless to say, after an excellent meal we weren’t inclined to walk all the way back to the railway station but fortunately Konkan is right next to the bus stop, and the no 49 whisked us down to Tara St station and then the DART took us home in next to no time.

So that was our day today.   Mind- stomach- and eyebrow- expanding.   All in all totally memorable and totally enjoyable.   Though I do think we will have difficulty keeping up the pace of innovation so perhaps tomorrow we will just settle for a trip to the supermarket.  Who knows what is going to come next, because I certainly don’t.

 

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Hooray – the college had reopened to visitors.   It’s a delightful, earnest place, full of busy students rushing about doing studenty things and looking suitably academic. A brief history of the Book of Kells.   In summary it was written in about the year 800 and it’s a miracle it has survived.   It is generally thought to be Ireland’s most important historic artefact.
Here we are about to go into the Long Room at Trinity college.   I have to say I shall be glad when we no longer have to wear masks all the time.   Could be a long wait though I think The upper gallery of the library in the Long Room.  There’s a secret corridor linking the alcoves, so you can get seamlessly from one through to the next.
Konkan restaurant.  It’s quite a long walk down to Clanbrassil St from the city centre, but so worth it.   Though on the way back, after a couple of beers and a massive curry, we decided to forego the fresh air and exercise, and catch the bus.   Door to door, it actually only took us an hour to get from the restaurant back to the flat in Malahide, thanks to the no.49 and the DART Good job we booked… Though we did get there at 5:30 and it filled up a bit later on
Looking suspiciously like the House of Black and White – or maybe even The Citadel – I kept half expecting the cast of Game of Thrones to appear from behind the books in Trinity’s eerily impressive Long Room.  The Book of Kells (which you are not allowed to photograph) is in a vault underneath here.
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