Tag Archives: Travel

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

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Magnumlady gave me an idea

Magnumladys’ blog pointed out there was a flea market yesterday so I ventured in to see if there was anything (books) I could buy (cheap books). Thank you Magnumlady. It was full of something for almost everyone. None of it has ever steered me away from looking for books apart for that one time I became a child for five minutes and badly wanted a working steam train. It ran on steam. Anyway, there was a light frosting of books among the stalls so looking took a while, but buying a secondhand book is like diamond mining. You may have to dig through a lot before you find a gem.

And there it was. A pile of National Geographic magazines. From 1940. Beautiful – a whole world apart from where we are now. They contain adds quoting doctors for this and that. Car ads. Articles from a time when the USA had not yet joined WWII. Articles on the silk road, South America – all from that time. A real delight. There was also a small section on artefacts being wrapped up in the Louvre to be sent to the basement. The photographs were not of the treasures, but of the rude hands forcing them into storage. I will scan them and post once I get the scanner working. Anyone looking forward to Monument Men coming out?

I haven’t had a chance to go through them properly yet as I had to be up at 4am to travel and am just back. If anyone is interested in any of the articles that might be in them – please let me know and I will have a look and perhaps post a list of what’s in there.

Good night all.

 

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Looking for light in darkness, but couldn’t find the darkness

My wife and I went out to Streedagh to see if we could watch or even catch a glimpse of the predicted Aurora Borealis. It is an ephemeral vision at this low latitude, but if there is a chance who would miss it? We missed it. We went out to Streedagh because it is a north facing beach which would give a clear view if indeed it showed up. There was a light mist but the moon was making a good show through and the hope was it would clear over the sea. It didn’t and the moonlight hitting the low (very thin – we could spot stars) cloud basically set up a light screen.

So far a blog about what hasn’t happened. Onwards.

The beach was being pounded by surf – clear in the moonlight. Further along the strand the mist coming off the surf seemed to dissolve the vista beautifully. The camera could not get enough light to capture the beauty of the scene, but as our eyes adjusted everything was crystal clear. The camera couldn’t capture a shot, but I could see our shadows. Amazing. So we went for a moonlit walk on the beach. Wonderful. The thing is, the human eye takes a while to adjust fully to the darkness, so nothing looked familiar when we were walking back (the car was parked behind the dunes). Found it eventually.

Now the best bit for a random reader passing through – this was a beach where a Spaniard was washed up. From the Armada. Three ships actually beached there, but he wrote letters to his brother at a later point and these were kept safe and translated. I do like to work a book or reading bit in. Its potentially the script for a slew of movies – war, capture, escape, slavery, women chasing him, defending castles, pirates, chases and so on. He was amazingly lucky, a liar, or a bit of both – you decide. His translations can be read here – http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T108200/index.html . Its an amazing site with a vast number of ancient manuscripts translated. If you do read Captain Cuellar’s translations – no pressure, please let me know what you think of them.

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Weekend

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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