I’ve been working on my Irish citizenship application for a while now and I bought a cheap Ryan Air ticket from Krakow and popped over for a couple days to finalize everything with the solicitor. If everything goes well Ireland will be home base in as little as two years.
I’ll still be an international school teacher, so I’ll still be away from home 9 months a year, but when I’m home, home will be Ireland.
While I was there I had to see a couple things I had missed while there last time, mainly mummies. Mummies and a prison.
Mummified cat and rat found deep inside an organ? Check. I suppose it’s an old church or something too… whatever. I was there for the mummified critters.
Oh wait! They have a 14th century copy of the Magna Carta too! And they gave a pretty good little history lesson for anyone who takes the time to read it about how even though the Magna Carta was brought to Ireland it didn’t do anything to help the Irish people. Hell, in the 14th century the Magna Carta wasn’t helping the English people. It only served the lords. It was a neat thing to read for us history nerds. It basically said: Yeah, so here’s this book we have it’s old so it’s cool cos old things are cool but don’t think we don’t know what it was used for. It didn’t help our people. It helped oppress our people.
It’s a pity how few people will even bother to read the placard and then how few more will even understand it. Actually..gasp… do people even know what the Magna Carta is? Wait. Don’t answer that. I don’t want to know.
Next I saw the mummies at St. Michan’s Church. It was funny to me how few Dubliners seemed to know about these mummies. Every time someone asked me what are you up to today/what did you do today and I’d say I’m going to/went to St. Michan’s to see the mummies they’d say “St. Michael’s?” and I’d say no St. Michan’s. I had one guy argue with me that there was no such church in Dublin and I must be wrong. Depressing. It’s right here in the middle of the city surrounded by office and apartment buildings.
Anyway, I saw the mummies at St. Michan’s. I recommend the trip. The tourguide was witty, charming, and aware of the world. When I told him I live in Kazakhstan he didn’t miss a beat before bringing up the January 6th uprising. He was genuinely interested in talking about it with someone who lives there.
I was only there two nights and since I was in Dublin I kinda had to go out and have a drink. It’s obligatory isn’t it? But I’m not a big fan of huge crowds of tourists, especially huge crowds of drunken tourists and in case you don’t know here’s your warning: that’s what Temple Bar area of Dublin is: swarms of drunken Americans. So, I asked the security guard at my hotel where I could go to have a nice drink and avoid them.
Answer? I’m not going to tell you because then it might ruin the place. But I went to the suggested place and it did not disappoint. I met a pretty cool dog groomer while sitting at the bar. I’ve met some of my best friends in the world in fleeting moments. I’m a world traveler. I’m never in one place for too long. In just a few hours I can meet someone I’ll be friends with for life. Heck, a Venezuelan guy living in Russia who my husband and I met 8 years ago while he was traveling in China is literally here in our apartment in Krakow right now! He’s living in Prague now and said I’m driving up to see you!!! I meet someone walking down a sidewalk, or sitting in a cafe, or a bar, or whatever, and if I think they’re cool I ask for their contact. It’s 2022 and I’m a nomad. It’s easy enough to never see a person again. It takes effort to stay in touch and I try with the cool ones. So, I ask this guy for his contact, he suggests Instagram, I follow him, and he never follows me back. I guess I wasn’t as cool to him. Shit. What an intersting world we live in. Just a big combination of fleeting moments. It’s funny to me how much such a tiny little thing like not following back can say but it really says a lot. I was thinking whoa! Cool. Another friend. And he probably got up from that barstool and never thought about me again.
I taught middle schoolers for several years and always had to teach them about this stuff. One kid would be really hurt about something and the other kid was just going about their merry day without the slightest clue that anything was wrong. I’d have bawling, crying 12 year olds at my desk and there I was trying to explain human behavior to them.
My last day in Ireland I went to Kilmainham Gaol Prison Museum . It was cool. Since I’m such a history nerd I already knew most of the stories the tour guide told, but it was still great to hear them told with an Irish accent and not simply read in a book. This place was used not only as a holding cell for prisoners awaiting shipment to Austrailia, but also shorter term criminal prisoners, and political prisoners.
One story I didn’t know before was that the youngest single prisoner ever recorded in the books was three years old. Yes, you read that right. Three years old. They imprisoned a three year old boy for stealing bread. Why I called him a single prisoner was there was also a two year old prisoner on the books, but he was imprisoned with his mother. But the three year old? He was alone. Just him.
Leaders of the Irish independence movement were imprisoned and executed here. The British crown called them traitors.
I was walking down the street and saw this wonderful Karl Mark sticker.
From the artsy neighborhood:
The Guinness Brewery. I didn’t go inside but I did read the placard. Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease for 45£ a year for the brewery. 9,000 year lease!
Traditional Irish breakfast:
My favorite bar while there, but I only saw a few because bars weren’t really my priority and they’re not really my thing anyway:
A pretty building:
Totally affordable, down to earth bakery I fell in love with and would probably eat lunch at every day if I lived there right in Temple Bar:
And a plug for all my volunteer work. Please consider donating. I know you’re tired of reading about it, but you know what? People are tired of having their homes blown up and people are tired of living in refugee shelters. I’m here in Krakow for two more weeks helping here I can. Want to donate? My Venmo is @TravelTeachRead. Once again, I don’t need your money. It’s not for me. Anything you give will go directly help.