Tag Archives: holidays

Trinity College Book Sale

This wonderful event is on the 4th to 6th of March this year. Imagine living close to the event – more time spent ferrying new purchases home than browsing if it was me. As it stands I will be driving there and spending short trips to the car with rucksacks full of books.
To set the scene first – Trinity is in the middle of Dublin. Its portal opens on to the mad traffic close to the Quays, O’Connell street and the north side, Dame street and pedestrians coming and going to the shops in the Grafton street area. Generally anyone can step inside the college during the daytime. When you arrive at the doors they should be open so in you go. Inside the courtyards it starts to quieten. There may be people who try to get you to join a tour – up to you. The oldest building is facing you as you come into the first open square – a redbrick building I believe is called the “Rubrics”. Bring your flask and sandwiches and walk towards the building. It lies across your path so keep to the right and you pass the “Long Room” which is the old library. You enter on the right corner of another square behind the redbrick building so keep moving along on the right side till the grounds open up – for cricket and rugby mostly – on your right. You will find ornamental cherry trees and benches close by. Have a peaceful picnic in this oasis of calm with a book – a world away from the crowds. Peace is a wonderful thing to my mind.
Anyway – the book sale. It is held every year. Any book donations to the library during the year that are judged better sold than kept will be held for the annual sale. The dates vary but it starts on a Thursday evening with an auction for the most valuable objects – letters, signed copies, rare items, etc. The open sale begins Friday in a hall on the right as you come through the main entrance. People with boxes of books mark the way. Each book has a price on it and the books are laid out on sorted subject tables. A vast number of subjects are represented and books from all ages are there. My oldest purchase was a reprinted history book from 1804 – first printed in 1794. History started in 4004 BC and moved seamlessly forward to cover Biblical, Greek and Roman events before addressing more recent happenings. I believe the reprint was to change the words using the letter F as the letter S, with the actual letter S. Most such changes happened in print around that time, I believe. Saturday is my favourite – half price morning – everything is half price. At 2.10 pm that day they will sell off the remainder by the boxload for what ever price can be achieved. Each time I fill a rucksack I run a reality check to make sure I haven’t bought too many books. Considerations include not breaking the back axle of the car with the weight of books, not financially ruining my family, not buying books I may never read, etc. Pace myself and be brutal with choices – but I still need a rucksack.
My favourite sections are History, Travel, Hobbies (I got “How to Drive a Steamtrain” there), Fiction, Archaeology, Woodworking, Bookshelves and Libraries, Gardening, Buildings and everything else I find of interest (not being flippant but saving your time with my sometimes wild magpie choices list). As you become more involved in books you will see that not everyone judges the category of a book as you do. I got a beautiful book on the archaeology of Carthage with glorious illustrations once at that sale. It was in the Archaeology section, but it turns out the text was in French. I really must remember the pacing and brutality of choice thing. Some years are better than others and you may find too much, loads, or room to include the more fringe choices – its all down to the random donations during the year. Maybe I will see you there. I am looking forward to it.

Trinity Book Sale

Trinity Book Sale



Filed under Books and their home.


image 2 image 3 image 6 image 15 image 17 image 18 image 38 image 49 image Photo0656 Photo0661 Photo0671Archaeology conference on Saturday last. Amazing stuff as the speakers were interdisciplinary. There were sociologists, geophysists (with results from Stonehenge), archaeologists, anthropologists and a football supporter. They came from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, the US and Norway (and perhaps other places as well. The conference was about gatherings with an obvious archaeological slant. These people watch people so well it was amazing, from football to protests, from current patriotism to past rituals, from rock concerts to railways. I missed the medieval music and the Sunday talks due to a funeral (Michael Parker Pearson from timeteam was talking on the Sunday), but enjoyed what I did see and hear. Wordwell was also there and I got a few books from him – one was a book introducing the architectural inventory of the area, which I found very interesting indeed.

Monday I went to the northerly shore of the Island. Giants Causeway and the Carrick a Rede rope bridge. The weather was “dramatic” with the storm towards the south – so several seasons in one day. The bridge was open and worth a visit. There was a lady who couldn’t make it across but the guide there was amazing and helped her across with her partner. It was only a problem for me in that there were a few ladies behind me and one of them thought it would be funny to jump up and down. No issue with heights and the visual drama was appreciated, but I was slightly seasick upon arrival at the other end. The Giants causeway was great to see (go at low tide and wear appropriate gear, especially shoes) and I had a good chat with one of the guides out on the rocks. As I said to him – he has a tougher job than a shepherd, as sheep have more sense than some people. The site is wild and in no way softened for visitors who in any way wish to behave recklessly. Wet basalt rocks are no place for high heels, climbing with children who can not walk, or wearing a papoose with a baby in it and brogue shoes. People watching again I suppose, it may be catching. The northern shore is also home to the main supply of flint for the island (and was used very effectively in the Mesolithic and Neolithic ages. Where it couldn’t be found Chert was used. Good week so far.

1 Comment

Filed under Books and their home.

Sligo – home of a fantastic array of Neolithic/Megalithic monuments

Had an amazing day. Looking at the landscape and mentally stripping away the houses, masts, large buildings, roads and bridges leaves the North West of Ireland as a very special place indeed. We are looking at the oldest visible parts of prehistory first – so its the tombs. Not just the tombs themselves, but how they were seen and built together – and in relation to other sites locally. Looking at some close to 6000 years old. Think the area has approx 40% of all the passage tombs on the island. Carrowmore and Carrowkeel would be two places of focus. Littered with other eras as well – castle ruins, etc. Quite a bit to learn. Shell middens (dumps) we were shown are places where people gathered seafood and cooked them (the firecracked stones are there as well) over thousands of years. Possibly they were feasting sites.

Fair amount of reading involved, but a person has to be somewhat picky as there are a huge amount of works on the subject, and evidence, ideas and theories change. Good weather does put a shine on the country, which is a bonus as we would have to go out regardless of conditions – as do all archaeologists. I think its a Finnish expression that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. I do not have one to hand, but if you can find a decent photo of Knocknarea – its worth a look. Knoc Na Re – Hill of Kings.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books and their home.

The last from Seville with a slightly smokey bookish theme

I learned about this place after I blundered into and wandered through it. Its was a tobacco factory, built as a tobacco factory and imho, how all factories should look.


Funnily enough, it was taken over by the university. Good call.


Filed under Books and their home.

Seville, aside from books, just this once.

There is more to life than books and their shelves (you know – other stuff) so here are a few pictures from Seville in general.


Filed under Books and their home.

The Archives

The General Archives of the Indes is now in a building that used to be the Merchants Guild for Seville and America. The building stands (to show its importance) between the old palace and the cathedral. On an aside, the pillars around the cathedral that are chained together indicate that church law applies inside the chains. The merchants put pillars and chains around their building as well – for merchant law.

To highlight that you are entering the real deal, you will meet something like three security people and a metal detector – on the way in. Upstairs there are one each for each vantage point in the archives – do not attempt to take a photo. Downstairs it’s ok. Now is a somewhat back to front way – what is the “Archives”? It houses all documents that relate to Spain and its interaction with the Americas – from the start to the start of the last century. The documents are sometimes beautiful (some are always on display) but all seem to be actual working papers – so they are in spanish, not latin. The maps and illustrations are of interest to everyone. Would you like to see the original drawn line of Agreement? Everything to the west was to be for Portugal – the east, Spain. Thats where Brazil got its language from. All beautifully done – sometimes illustrated with the writers House coat of arms, scroll work, etc. The shelf uprights are of carved Cuban Mahogany and the shelves themselves are of Cedar – done by a sculptor. The downstairs shelves are of the same shape but of more robust metal. The also have some artifacts of the conquest and just after.

Worth a visit if anyone is passing. I saw three other people. It is also (of course) temp and humidity controlled.

The only picture that needs some explaining (as I see it, feel free to ask) was the artifact picture I will put here. The heads are stirrups and the spur spikes are some 5 inches long.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Filed under Books and their home.

Before leaving the Cathedral

Before leaving the Cathedral, I feel the need to mention some of the other treasures to be found there. Unless you work in some nations gold reserve building, you will not see more gold in one place in your life than behind the main altar. This was closed off for renovation while I was there. Around the church everyone will see many wonders.

Have to include Colombus, as his son did such a good job. The four figures carrying the coffin are the four kings of conquering Spain (Al Andalus was conquered so its not included). They were the kings of Navarra, Castille, Aragon and Leon. {I haven’t had my laptop for some days now, but will try to repair the pic of the tomb of Colombus when I get it back}

There we go.

Relics were regarded as hugely powerful by the church and great churches gathered them as best they could. Relics of saints were good to get – specially if the saint was a crowd puller, but anything to do with the life of Christ was top league. There was a time when Knights would be given a quest to get some of the True Cross, the Crown of Thorns, the Grail, His last robe, etc. They won fame if they could gain such relics for their church. The crusades caused something of a flood. Relics have been of interest to me since my boys and I had an “Indiana Jones” type half an hour in Piza hunting La Spina. And there it was, the only exposed relic – Espina. The others were covered in purple cloth.

Writing and reading was also central to the church. As the gold poured into Spain, things got a bit fancy.

Finally, just a mention for the timber – mostly “spanish” or Cuban Mahogany. It is so old, it has gone almost black. It drinks in the light and is hard to photograph it, but worth looking at. The carvings of biblical scenes are a wonder in themselves.

Thats not it by a long shot for Seville. The stunning grandeur of the Cathedral, the palace, the archives, the shops, the tobacco factory (nothing to do with tobacco now), the gold tower, the beautiful private courtyards, the lack of crime or litter, the welcome of everyone we met, the carriage rides, the food, the music, the….. Good and bad it is a beautiful place. We went to Cordoba as well so something from there later. Some of these things I photographed. Things like wandering on a beach, driving in a convertable car with the top down doing the ton through the oranges, grape vines, olive groves, mown wheat fields, the old walled in haciendas, (ok, ok, I was on the road, but they were close by), meeting people from home (happens to Irish everywhere in the world), the beggars, tasting different foods, festivals, cycling in Seville, haggling with the leather workers in Mijas (some will not sell to you if you take their first price – you insult them, some need the money), avoiding cyclists on the motorway, shopping in Marbella, finding the best of your favourite food in the array of restraunts, people watching on the streets, night time horse racing, watching the Guardia Civil during an opperation, flamenco displays – you will have to do (and should do) for yourself.  Adios.


Filed under Books and their home.