Bloomsday, the world-wide event that has been celebrated in hundreds of cities since the 1920s, commemorates the life of James Joyce as well as his first date in 1904 when he “walked out” with Nora Barnacle, who became his wife. She was also the inspiration for Molly Bloom, married to Leopold, the protagonist of Ulysses who wanders Dublin on June 16 from 8 am until the early hours of the morning, when Molly delivers her famous soliloquy that closes the book: “Yes I said yes I will Yes.”
With the fastest-growing economy in Europe, and a young, well-educated population fit for its expanding tech industry, the Irish hope for a flourishing future as they observe the 100th centenary year of Dublin’s Easter Rising of 1916. From the Docklands down the length of the Liffey River, past Guinness Brewery on one bank and Jameson’s Distillery on the other, to the Kilmainham Gaol where the Rising’s leaders were executed by the British, Dublin shimmers with prosperity and building.
Much of the streetscape is torn up to expand public transportation, but Dubliners seem to take that in stride as a necessary step. As my cabbie commented on the drive in from the airport, “It was a terrible thing, the Rising, as Yeats said. But without it we’d still be living in degraded destitution and savagery. Instead, we’re wealthy and free.” Many of the other nations that resisted the British Empire in the early 20th century are neither wealthy nor free, leaving Ireland to stand as a thought-provoking model.
Photo Credit: William Murphy
Dublin is a city bursting with culture – you just need to look around and you’ll be stunned at the wide variety of things to do and learn about the capital.
The city experts at the Dublin Pass have looked outside the guidebook and downtrodden tourist path, veering away from your typical museums and attractions in favor of quirky and little museums of Dublin. Let’s look at some of the best in their category; from little Irish leprechauns to celebrating the history of the capital through the ages – here are our top peculiar museums in Dublin.
PETA has been leveraging the power of street art recently, particularly in the United Kingdom. After chicken feet starting appearing all over London by New York City street artist Dan Witz, the latest is a guerrilla installation of donated furs, adapted into animal shapes around Dublin. This installation is by street artist Solus using fur coats from those who have changed their mind about the fur industry. Accompanying each piece is a sticker that leads to BanFurFarms.net, where they can join a growing list of over 30,000 people calling on Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to ban fur farms. Says Solus, “Re-shaping the fur coats into animals is a way to remind us of the life it that once inhabited those garments.”
Think street art and Dublin, the Irish capital, doesn’t spring to mind immediately, but the city has been undergoing somewhat of a transformation in recent years. No longer an underground activity, street art, graffiti, mural painting—call it what you will—has now become more than acceptable with businesses, arts organizations and Dublin City Council sponsoring and promoting artists. (more…)
There’s always an undercurrent of tragedy in Dublin, even if its inhabitants face it with unnerving courage. The capital that has weathered so much turmoil and seen so much bloodshed is candidly in touch with its own history, and it hasn’t shied away from any less-than-settling remembrances of its past. In fact, it’s extremely in touch with its dead. With our guide of crypts, museums, remains, and even literary homages to the dead and undead, you can get closer to the history of Dublin and Ireland than you probably ever wanted.
Ireland’s bogs, apparently, have the most incredible natural powers of preservation. The Archeology branch of the National Museum on Kildaire Street is lucky enough to have four mummies dating back to 400 BC that were excavated from the depth of Ireland’s bogs—at least, they have the greater part of four mummies. (more…)