On the Rocky Road to Dublin

One, two, three, four, five,
Hunt the hare and turn her
Down the rocky road
All the way to Dublin,
Whack-fol-lul-lee-ra. 

After listening to the High Kings every day, months before travel, this song was on repeat in my mind the entire bus ride south–that is, when I wasn’t asleep! Turning down the back roads due to construction, the rocky road to Dublin was a reality. Watching the grassy land, the sheep, and cows through the rain-streaked windows of the bus, Ireland’s countryside came alive. Sooner than later, we realized we’d left one country and entered another, the only visible changes being the currency and the road signs. The fields blurred together, forming the stereotypical green, grassy, grazing fields of Ireland. It was beautiful.

We arrived in a rainy Dublin, a starkly different city compared to both Belfast and Derry. You could feel the city around you. Stopping briefly to check-in to the hotel, we soon set off for the nearby Hugh Lane Gallery.  The gallery housed the transported studio of Francis Bacon, messy and chaotic as ever. While everyone crowded to see this, my eye was drawn to a tiny room dedicated to stained glass. This was not your everyday stained glass, or even common church stained glass, but incredibly intricate works, including “The Eve of St. Agnes” by Harry Clarke. The colors of the glass are so vibrant, and the detail is gorgeous. Its fantasy images depict the story told in the poem by John Keats, my favorite poet. Each panel has a quote from his poem, telling the story with images and few words.  Photos weren’t allowed to be taken in the gallery, but this video does a nice job of showing you the piece and telling you a bit. Hearing his fascination with the work reminds me that I didn’t imagine its sheer beauty.

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