Pangur Bán

One text containing the thoughts of a 10th century Irish monk in the Book of Kells exhibition was particularly interesting. ‘Being with a book is much better than going out seeking praise’ he wrote (he wouldn’t have been a good politician). He also mused about his cat, Pangur Bán, and how it would catch mice in the room as he wrote. It’s difficult to relate to that since my parents’ cat, instead of catching mice, enjoys bringing live ones in from the garage and then releasing them in the cupboards.

I did my best to scrimp and save money after seeing for myself how expensive Dublin was. While someone might possibly be interested in all my rice and bean burritos, I’ll stick with the places I saw.

The Old Library of Trinity College is a treat. While the Book of Kells exhibition is very crowded, seeing the 63 meter long wood-paneled library stopped everyone in their tracks (it’s no wonder it was used in the Harry Potter movies). Trinity College also has a (free) science exhibition room. The theme during my visit was the science of sound. It was fun playing the musical pinball machine with a docent as the soft sounds of the ball hitting the strings followed by the sharp jowls of the flippers sounded just like the background music a nature documentary uses when an alligator surprises its dinner.

The Chester Beatty Library is another (free) place worth visiting. In addition to all the old texts, there are artifacts from all over the world ranging from Chinese books made of Jade to Burmese objects containing a distinctive square text. My favorite item was a silk scroll painted with the members of the zodiac having a poetry competition. Nearly everyone, from the deer (not a zodiac creature) judging the contestants to the dragon in a green kimono, has something said in a text bubble. However, an angry badger (not a zodiac animal), dismayed at being excluded, silently lurks in the corner in its white robe with two swords (samurai garb?) and an plotting expression. 


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