Ok, fine, I come to the National Museum probably a bit more than is good for me. But it’s just that it’s so good and there’s so much fun stuff and I never have enough time. Plus, it’s free. And I love free things. Like, despite being an adult who makes money, the best way to ensure I go to an event is to tell me there will be free food. I love free things, and the museum is free. And it has dead things.
It has things that aren’t dead, too, and actually, most of it is devoted to things that aren’t dead. There’s quite a lot of beautiful artifacts that show the amazing early art styles of the Irish and things that I have no idea how someone could have a hand so steady as to complete. I would have to use a computer to do that sort of thing. A perfect example is the Ardagh Chalice, which is insanely complex and detailed. There’s even a little mirror in the display so you can see the work on the bottom of the Chalice, which was put in there so that in the few seconds were the bottom of the glass was upturned by the priest, there would still be beautiful detail showing. These sorts of things are interesting, and some are even fascinating, but it just comes down to the fact that I happen to find the dead things an interesting long-term study. Plus, there’s this little issue that I keep having to leave before I get to see the bog bodies, which are the main dead things of interest (and the hip girdles, because those are good things to use to practice determining a skeleton’s sex by sight). Regardless, I didn’t manage to see the bog bodies yet again, which only means that I will have to come back. Again.
What I did get to see is one of the most painstakingly reassembled manuscripts in the history of Ireland–The Fadden More Psalter. If you want to cringe over a lot of research work, you’ll like the story of this one. When they first found the book and opened it, essentially all of the letters fell out and someone had to go through the painstaking process of reassembling the pages like the world’s most gigantic jigsaw puzzle (this is the reason I am not specializing in manuscript preservation–a skeletal jigsaw puzzle is more finite and not in a dead language). The Psalter was also doubly tricky to deal with as it was first found in the same manner as many of the bog bodies: a farmer ran into it while tending his fields, and it was quite waterlogged. This probably helped contribute to the disintegration of the pages. I’m just surprised that the ink handled the situation so well.
We had to leave after going through the viking artifacts so we could catch our train back to Cork. Once we get there (it takes a few hours!) we will finally be home, and we can finally sleep for days. Well, probably not for days, as we have things like class that need to be attended to, but definitely for longer than we have been.