Monday, October 29, 2007

From Limerick, Ireland

I am writing from an 18th century manor (which is really a castle) near Limerick, Ireland. (If you're interested you can search for Adare Manor on Google.) Unfortunately I do not have the ability to send photos... but I will try and give you a little update. Jon Keller and I left Princeton Saturday at 1:30 pm on the Dinky and 18 hours later (after flying to Frankfurt and sleeping on the floor during a one hour layover) we landed at the Dublin airport at 11:30 am. After buying 20 Euros (expensive at $1.47 per) we took the air coach to a quaint hotel near Trinity College. We were greeted by Jamie Rankin (the German professor) who was drinking tea in the hotel lobby. After waking up our other buddies, Jon and I changed out of our suits and we went to the Book of Kells exhibit in the Trinity Library. This collection is a display of early midieval manuscripts of the gospels and other books of the Bible that were painstakingly copied in calligraphy by monks and illustrated with beautiful drawings. The main historic library following the exhibit was this long cavernous room filled with two stories of books with little ladders for each book case. The room was really musty and smelled really ancient. Yesterday evening we ate a simple dinner of sandwiches at a nearby convenience store/deli and our room was asleep by 7pm.

This morning I woke up just after 6 and joined the runners in our group for an Irish (quite different than American) continental breakfast in the hotel. The thing I remember most was the grapefruit juice which was really sour. The two other non runners joined me around 7:30 and I had some eggs and sausage with them. We then walked over to the Marathon around 8:15 and we were warmed up by a drum corp and an announcer who complimented the "11000 hearty souls pursuing their dreams".

After the race started, the three of us strolled across Dublin to Saint Patrick's Cathedral. On the way I got a picture under a sign that read "Sinnott's Bar". The cathedral itself, was very beautiful, architecturally speaking and had a long spire. It was said to be built over the well where St. Patrick had baptized new converts. Inside, there were two granite gravestones from his era that were sculpted with Irish crosses. It used to be Roman Catholic but is now Anglican due to the British occupation of Ireland.

We walked back to near the finish line and cheered on our runners. They finished quite well: 2:45, 3:15, 3:55, but Ryan and I cheered for nearly 2 hours in the cold because we had only seen two of our friends and were still expecting the third. It was fun though, and we were able to lift a few spirits. We took a bus back to the airport after the race and then rented a car, albeit a very small stationwagon, where me and the luggage got to sit in the back and then drove 3 hours to our castle hotel. It is pretty amazing here, somewhat reminds me of Mohonk but more Gothic architectural style, and there is actually a wedding reception going on as I speak. Tomorrow we are going to tour the grounds, see some castle ruins and explore the place. We fly to Stanstead, England tomorrow afternoon from Shannon (which is in western Ireland).

It's been a great time so far--the weather is gorgeous, 50 degrees most often with a chance of rain, but just a really pretty, green, lush environment.
I feel very blessed to be here and miss you all. Cheers,