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devil duck

Ireland, Day 4

When we first went to London mumble-mumble years ago, we planned to spend a day between the Museum of London and the V&A. We ended up leaving the Museum of London for lunch, coming back, and spending the rest of the day there, with the V&A the following day. We had a similar experience at the National Museum of Dublin (History and Archaeology): we were at the door when it opened at 10:00, and by lunchtime, we had only just finished the "Prehistoric Ireland" section, so we left for lunch and came back for "Viking Ireland" and "Medieval Ireland", giving a miss to the Cypriot and Greco-Roman exhibits. Awesome stuff.

We were a little confused about photography: there were signs everywhere with an icon that appeared to read "no photography", but we saw dozens of people taking photographs of exhibits, right in front of the guards, with no consequences. So eventually I asked a guard: it turns out that the rule is "no video, no flash, but still photos are fine except in such-and-such room." (The "such-and-such room" contains fragments of an 8th-century psalter that was dug up, complete with its binding, in a peat bog in 2006. The binding is in pretty good shape, but most of the pages have only their edges surviving; there's just enough legible text for the conservators to tell that it's a psalter, and that Psalms 1, 51, and 101 are illustrated.) So we got a fair number of photos of exhibits in the Viking and Medieval sections, then went back and got a few in the Prehistoric section (e.g. 4000-year-old bronze ax heads with their stone molds).

Here are some pictures from the museum. There are more, and I have much higher-resolution versions of these, so let me know if you'd like to see them.

A late-medieval wooden bucket, with the staves conveniently numbered in Roman numerals.
bucket staves

The so-called "Brian Boru harp", although actually dated c. 15th century, on display at the Trinity College Library, a few rooms away from the Book of Kells and friends.
brian boru harp

Two photos of a 14th/15th-century wooden chest retrieved from a bog. The museum caption reads
Oak tool chest and tools

This chest, found in a bog, was the toolbox of a medieval craftsman. Some of his tools, such as the spoon bit, are for working with wood but others are for working stone.

14th/15th century

Cornaveagh, Co. Roscommon

bog chest 1
bog chest 2

13c bone flutes
A pair of 13c bone fipple-flutes

harp peg and needle case
A bone harp tuning peg and a bone needle case

brass pot
A brass pot with a remarkable resemblance to the ones discussed here

A cast bronze axe head, dated c. 1500BC...
1500bc axe
plus the two halves of a stone mold that very nearly matches it, same time:
1500bc axe mold 1
1500bc axe mold 2

The National Museum actually has four branches: History and Archaeology (which ate up yesterday), Decorative Arts, Natural History, and Country Life. Decorative Arts and Natural History are a block or two away from History and Archaeology, while Country Life is in a different County.

Those who have read The Hunger Games may be a little worried by this...

Anyway, today we're planning to pick up a rental car at the airport and visit a variety of attractions north of Dublin: the prehistoric passage graves at Newgrange, a couple of ruined medieval monasteries and abbeys, Trim Castle, etc. The excitement will presumably be driving on the left side of the road, but at least we don't have to drive any closer to the centre of Dublin than the suburb of Donnybrook, where our B&B is.

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