Ireland day 0662. Saturday 22 July 2023- Geology in Art *

Ireland day 0662. Saturday 22 July 2023- Geology in Art
Today’s summary “Field trip” round the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Dublin Natural History Museum with the Irish Geological Association
Today’s weather Dull all day with heavy rain from early evening onwards.   Hardly any wind.   Appx 19C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The blue line shows where we walked)
(No GPX today)

(Summary blog only.   Last full blog was Day 0368).

With Val being away, I had another day to myself so I decided to go on a slightly quirky “Field Trip” organised by the Irish Geological Association.  It wasn’t so much a field trip, actually, as a trip to an art gallery and a museum, under the guise of linking the visual landscape to the geological subterranean which gives rise to it.   Definitely a niche subject but actually quite interesting.

We met outside the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) in Ely Place (which incidentally in Ireland is pronounced “Eel-eye”, not “Eel-ih”) at 11am.   Which is actually quite an inconvenient time to get into Dublin from Malahide on a Saturday because of a big mid-morning gap in the train timetable, which meant I arrived over an hour early.   Still, it meant I had plenty of time to find a rather nice breakfast in the nearby National Gallery beforehand.

The visit was interesting and I learned, among other things, that the RHA only displays local artists, unlike the National which takes exhibits from all over the world.   It is a venue that gives up and coming new Irish artists the opportunity to exhibit to a wider audience.  It was an interesting visit though I did struggle slightly to see the geological context of some (perhaps even most) of the exhibits.   Though our guide today did have a good way of putting it: “the visible landscape is like a thin tablecloth draped over the underlying geology” which I thought gave a nice idea of just how diaphanous the whole world with which we interact actually is.

After a quick lunch in the RHA café, a few of us went on to the Natural History Museum to check out some of the fossil displays, with the expert guidance of a “proper” geologist.  The museum is closing for seven years of restorations in November, so this was possibly just about the last chance I would have to get a good look round.

We had an interesting discussion about why there was no evidence of hominid inhabitation of Ireland in interglacials prior to the one we are living in now (in “mainland” GB, there is evidence from several previous interglacials, dating back perhaps 600,000 years, whereas in ireland the earliest remains are only about 10,000 years old).   Although the perceived wisdom is that there was indeed no habitation here prior to 10,000 years ago, we agreed that it seems unlikely that this was actually the case, as GB was occupied hundreds of thousands of years before to this, and there was probably a land bridge to Ireland for much of that time, too.   So it is improbable that our forebears wouldn’t have thought to cross it.

Eventually the day drew to a close, so I caught the train to Malahide and arrived back just as the heavens opened again.   Time now to digest what I learned today, and also more to the point decided what I am going to have for dinner.   An fascinating day indeed.


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Interesting announcement about a “New Venue – opening soon” outside the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Westland Row.   I’ll have to check out what up-coming events are being laid on Compulsory refreshment (in the National Gallery of Ireland café) before starting the visit.   It’s a beautiful setting for a café but the staff working in it are a bit haphazard
In the Royal Irish Academy, trying to find geological interpretations of the various exhibits Definitely not geological, but interesting nonetheless.   It’s supposed to represent the path of a fly buzzing about in a room
The Natural History Museum in Merrion Street Upper.   Apparently it’s closing for extensive repairs, renovations and building work starting from November this year, and will remain shut until 2030.   So visit soon! No record of a trip to the “Dead Zoo” would be complete without a photo of the magnificent Megalocerus skeletons which you almost literally bump into as soon as you walk in
A fascinating display about Ailsa Craig granite – uniquely found in one Scottish island, apart from a few glacial erratics carried to Killiney beach.   It is used for making curling stones.   Ice to ice, I suppose.
Interactive map

(No map today)

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