16 June 2016

The English Department Reading Trip to Dublin

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Armed with our copies of Dubliners and a wealth of different texts by Irish writers, 12 Lower Sixth students and 2 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 the Dublin Writers’ Museum. Given this year is the centenary of the Easter Uprising, a visit to the city Post Office – where Patrick Pearse read the proclamation of independence on Easter Monday, April 1916 – was particularly poignant. The evenings were given over to discussion sessions. Each student had chosen one work to read, present and lead a seminar on, covering a range of writers from Sean O’Casey to Anne Enright.

Kilmainham Goal was a sombre location to visit on Day 3 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 W.B. Yeats exhibition, an excellent multi-media exhibition that takes you through all the different periods in Yeats’ writing.

Our final day was taken up with a visit to Trinity College and a journey back to the 8th 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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