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01 May 2005

a saint's heart in a cage

breakfast was exactly the same as yesterday's and very tasty. i'd met steve, a canadian, the day before and we ate breakfast together. he told me the two italians were planning to attend a gaelic football game that afternoon and asked if i wanted to join them. sounded like fun. a cross between soccer and rugby so we thought. at some point i need to take in a real football game here in europe. back in the room, nick and david, the italians, confirmed. we'd meet back at the hostel at 3pm.

some more wandering. the christ church cathedral. the guide book said to check the northern wall, which had been leaning precariously since 1562. i couldn't see the leaning wall from the outside and then again the dilemma... should i pay the admission price (five euros in this case) for what could be just a ten minute visit of possibly nothing really special or would there be something surprising and wonderful inside. i wanted to see the leaning wall. here's my five euros. yes, i will pay five euros to see your leaning wall. one wall, please, reel away.

inside. ooh, an informational page? impressive. color coded by language. english was yellow. the yellow page provided a small map of the cathedral with points of interest. i followed the guide around the cathedral. very very cool. beautiful. complete with a saint's heart in a cage and a mummified cat and rat discovered in the organ pipes. wow. i wondered if they really had a human heart in that cage. deeper. i had to be _reminded_ about the leaning wall by the lovely yellow. i couldn't see it, this wall which deviated from the perpendicular by 18 degrees. i'll ask. 'that wall right there. go up to the pulpit and look down and you'll see it.' still nothing and then [AHH] there it is. wow. so much so that it seemed the wall would topple but as it's been leaning like that since 1562 i figured i was in no risk of making the irish news. tourists killed in dublin as the christ church leaning wall finally fails. practically invisible in the picture.

then, on the BACK of the yellow page... more tour... down into the crypt. what a great word... crypt. crypt. encrypt. decrypt. crypt. one can't go wrong with a crypt. i descended into the depths of the crypt. the christ church cathedral crypts were once the site of a marketplace between the columns which support much of the cathedral. a video presentation and artifacts. some special plate given to the cathedral by a king. research. the crypts are the oldest structure in dublin, so the yellow sheet claimed.

as i ascended from the crypt i heard the organ music. ah. this was soft and soothing organ, like a flute. at some point i'd like to hear a powerful organ reverberating through a stone cathedral. this was mostly on the soothing side and less on the [this is a sound in my head: one long rich heavy chord sustaining for five seconds and releasing and still reverberating through] side, but it was a beautifully soothing organ in a very old cathedral and i was very happy. stood not quite directly under the organist but back just a bit and watched and listened. an older man, he seemed to be making a few mistakes and fiddled madly with the pushing and pulling organ controls. i smiled. a man and a woman on my left were repositioning a microphone and drew my attention to a giant entanglement of microphone cables on the hundreds of years old cathedral stone. cables wrapped carelessly and tangled. new and old. i must have looked like i was working as well... another tourist gestured 'is it all right if i come in there [the somewhat enclosed choir area]?' with accompanying questioning facial expression... i nodded sure without giving away that i too was just a tourist.

five euros less in my pocket and very satisfied. very.

i met steve, nick, and david back at the hostel at 3pm and we left for the gaelic football game. we didn't know who was playing, how the game was played, or how to get to the stadium. we knew the general direction of the stadium and followed a small crowd of people. 15 euro ticket in the standing section. 5 euros had i been a student. blah. where to enter the stadium...

'can we enter here?'

[hahaha] 'no, keep going.'

'is this our section?'

[hahaha] 'no, you're around back.'

after walking another two hours or so [or maybe five minutes] we made our way to the opposite side of the stadium and into the standing section. bag searches aren't very effective... how can a quick glance into a bag determine whether or not there are alcohol or firearms concealed beneath? can't. lots of team colors, orange and green. the search was a little more thorough for them. i watched.

two games were played in the stadium today... the previous game had just finished and monaghan (where my great grandparents were married... go monaghan!) had won. the monaghan fans, wearing blue and white, had stormed the field and it took about 15 minutes for the police to coerce everyone back into their seats. lots of pregame marching, a song, and a moment of silence. the game began.

steve learned that players could score one point by kicking the ball through the uprights and three points for kicking the ball through the goal. 95% of all of the points were made by kicking the ball through the uprights. i chose the green side. the green side lost. i just realized i didn't take any pictures of the game being played.

i was saving myself for a dublin guinness. the home of guinness. we hit a pub in the temple bar area and i sipped my first. dark. rich. smooth. cold. i wouldn't say it was delicious, but it was a far cry from the 'heavy, thick, and bitter' i'd heard used to describe guinness in the past. i spent fifty euros in the pubs. somehow. somewhere, fifty euros. had a great time with nick, david, and steve.

posted by paul on Sun 01 May 2005 at 00:00:00 est (-05:00)

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