Friday, November 29, 2013

Dublin {Trinity College}

Trinity College
founded in 1592
The Charter came from Queen Elizabeth
granting land from the Monastery of All Hallows 
for use as a college

Those are the facts. And unfortunately we didn't stick around to get details; except that the famous book of Kells is on display in the library, which I hear is lovely but we didn't want to pay the entry fee.

Mostly I'm posting these photos by themselves because the sky was  so beautiful the day we visited.  The concourse was crowded with tourists and the most random and friendly photo bomber ever. We visited the college between the archaeology museum and the science museum.

Famous Trinity College Graduates:
Jonathan Swift
George Berkeley
Edmund Burke
Oscar Wilde

(at least the one's I really care about :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ireland {Dublin}

At the University here we get this fantastic thing called "Reading Week." Basically, it's the equivalent to Thanksgiving Break in America.  The unfortunate thing is everyone doesn't get the same week off... who's idea was that?

My friend Renee had the week before me off.  But my class schedule is pretty fantastic and I would only have to miss one of my (two) modules for the week.  I sat down with the tutor and she said GO!

So, we went.  
And I'm so glad I got out of Wales.  Not that I don't like Wales.  Wales is beautiful but I had forgotten how small Aberystwyth is; it's the perfect starting point for and adventure.

Dublin was beautiful but the funny thing is our planning.  Once we decided to travel, everything got crazy.  I had an essay due just after I returned so I was scrambling around collecting sources; we were booking flights; and I was experiencing the new phenomenon of balancing the groceries to not run out too soon and not waste anything.  We wound up booking ourselves to fly into Dublin late on Halloween - that's probably why the ticket was so cheap!  

We were met by hoards of zombies in the street... friendly, tipsy, Irish zombies.

AFTER we arrived safely at our hostel, we had a good laugh about our planning skills.  Honestly everyone in Ireland was very kind and some costumed folks helped us find the Luas.  Live and Learn.

The next morning we hit the streets 
(this time we were the zombies with five hours of sleep).

We had no strategy.  We walked South, after buying croissants and stopping for coffee at a little newspaper stand/shop.  We crossed the river Liffey and took in the view.

I count 15 bridges crossing the River Liffey on my little touristy map - there's probably even more.  You could make a day of visiting all the bridges and we should have but we took like nomads to the city.  Without much plan we simply followed the church towers and chimneys. 

Dublin is a strange mash-up of old and new.  It's got an urban edge in the midst of historical buildings and my personal favorite, cathedrals.  My city pictures didn't turn out fantastic.  It started raining and there were always crowds blocking the view. But you can get an idea.

Temple Bar is apparently a famous part of Dublin.  The whole area is now named after the original bar.  We popped in momentarily but it was hugely crowded. I heard an interesting rumor that the name, Temple Bar, came about because originally Jews were barred from entering.  

Instead we found a little Irish restaurant a few doors down and tried some Guinness Stew and Irish Coffee, which was perfect after a day of walking in the misting rain.

This fantastic example of neoclassical architecture is the Four Courts, but now it only houses three courts: Supreme Court, High Court and the Dublin Circuit Court.  Formerly the Central Criminal court was also housed here.  Basically it was on our way to everywhere.  I love navigating European cities by landmarks.  If we got lost we could always ask for the Four Courts, or Jamesons Distillery, or St. Patrick's and wander our way home.

One day in Dublin was clear and one was overcast and misty.  I love the clear sky but it was cold!


Next up Cathedrals, Holy Trinity, Edinburgh, Cardiff and New Quay!  
Who's behind on blogging?

Almost daily photos posting at Community of Three.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Aberystwyth {St. Padarns Church, Llanbadarn Fawr}

It was just a Tuesday.

I hadn't put much thought into the day except that it was windy enough to grab a jacket on my way to lecture.  The thing about living in a place is you can take time to get lost.  I hadn't intended to to, but when I went walking to the National Library after class I found a heavily wooded walk, I thought - of course, why not.

The path crested a ridge above houses, with curious stepped yards and patios.  I was rewarded at the end of the path with a view of St. Padarn Church, the surrounding graveyard and a tantalizing arched entry - it was terribly tempting to creep through the gate and view closer the history.

The church is built on the hillside and, like so many buildings in Aberystwyth, it surprises you with a view when you least expect it.  I was first impressed that I hadn't seen it's height sooner.  It's now in the midst of very English houses, which rub shoulders just across narrow streets.  There's really no angle to capture the whole building - at least with my lens.

The silence inside the church was heavy, every movement interrupted the silence and the sound of the wind outside was magnified in the empty interior.  The church is a cruciform in structure.  The pews under the tower were cleared away beneath the vaulted wood ceiling because the BBC was coming to record a Christmas concert.

I pause here to think about the clash of old and new.  St. Padarn was a Celtic monk who settled in the barren land.  He would have worshiped in the open spaces and been buried simply as fitting his ascetic lifestyle.  The building is now a massive collection of history named after a man from the wilderness.  The foundations starts in the 3rd century but the tower was rebuilt in 1297 after the original church burned.  Since then it's been developed and the most recent noticeable additions are war memorials and 19th century gravestones.

I loved the significance of the discovery and how the light mixed through the stained glass windows inside.  Every ancient church needs to be discovered on a dark rainy day, in silence, awe and memory.  

Friday, September 27, 2013


Aberystwyth is a coastal town.  It's roots are in farming and there's proof in the hills of sheep and market Saturdays, two times monthly.

To me, Aberystwyth is like your favorite coffee shop, cozy and surprising.  Sometimes full of the locals and sometimes an eclectic collection of university students and tourists. 

Aberystwyth offers a million views and is probably photographer heaven.  To me it's a bit frustrating, trying to capture anything close to reality.  To begin, however, I've gathered a few shots close to home. Please note the Sun. Aberystwyth does live up to it's "resort" title occasionally.

The Promenade and colorful University Student Housing

It's just one week now since I rolled into Aberystwyth Railway Station (It's not a train station guys).  The city is full of old and new: banks and bars in beautiful old buildings and modern grocery stores at every turn.  The history is evident everywhere but so far all I can do is look and listen. The city has been growing up here for hundreds of years. 

 Aberystwyth Railway Station (and Bus Station)

I've been attempting to photograph Old College ever since I arrived but it's just so big - I can't quite capture it's ancient and academic awesomeness.  Old College now houses administration and perhaps a few art lectures.  The history of Aberystwyth University I intend to unravel at the National Library soon, but now is just for looking.

Finally, of course the sea.  My dorm room sadly faces inward and not to the sea but I can't really complain because these ocean views are on the way to nearly everywhere.  I can't get over the perfect shades of green, blue and grey that greet me; or the tides that surprise me, littering the beach with strange notions. I have never lived near the ocean before and the ever present gulls and sounds are slowly sinking into my psyche.  I find myself walking slower, even when the streets are crowded. And the little streets do crowd.

 More pictures posting daily at: Community of Three