The English Department Lower Sixth Reading Trip to Dublin

Armed with our copies of Dubliners and a wealth of different texts by Irish writers, 17 Lower Sixth students and three staff set off to the emerald isle in search of literary inspiration.

We had a busy and rewarding four days and the trip was a wonderful fusion of literature, culture and Irish history. Highlights included the James Joyce Tower in Sandycove where the opening of Ulysses is set and a visit to the Abbey Theatre for a talk on Irish theatre from a Trinity College lecturer. The evenings were given over to discussion sessions. The students lead seminars on a range of Irish writers from pivotal figures such as Sean O’Casey to contemporary female poets such as Paula Meehan.

Kilmainham Gaol was a sombre location to visit on the third day, but the tour around the prison gave us a valuable insight into why it is such an iconic place in the history of Ireland’s struggle for independence. The courtyard where the leaders of the 1916 rebellion were shot was particularly haunting. The day had begun with a visit to the WB Yeats exhibition, an excellent multimedia exhibition that takes you through all the different periods in Yeats’s writing.

Our final day was taken up with a visit to Trinity College and a journey back to the eighth century with the Book of Kells. We were also able to visit the Old Library with its imposing oak bookcases and three million titles.

Feeling a little weary, but richer in spirit, it was time to make our way back to the airport for another flight on Ryanair – and the return to reality.

Anne Durnford

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