Well, the long-awaited sequel to ‘Darcy Chooses’ will be available this week, and I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the sights that Darcy and Elizabeth saw back then. They are on a monthlong honeymoon to the Emerald Isle, reconnecting with old friends in Darcy’s case and meeting with new friends in Elizabeth’s case.
And our two lovebirds are traveling in style on a Baltimore Clipper Ship. Clipper Ships were built for one thing: speed. Darcy wishes to spend time with his new wife but not the entire time on a ship. So, they are taking the swift little Clipper Ship and will travel from Liverpool to Dublin in about 10-12 hours traveling about 12-14 knots (16 mph).
Although clipper ships’ popularity was at its peak in the middle third of the 1800’s, they were first built ca. 1770 and there were one or more utilized during the War of 1812. With very shallow hulls and plenty of sails, they were ideal for shipping expensive items such as tea, spices, and even opium quickly to their destinations. Yes, England allowed opium in the country because they thought it a medical necessity. Opium was used for Laudanum during Regency times as a painkiller and treatment for anxiety. Unfortunately, even Laudanum became addictive for some people.
One of the first things that comes to mind concerning our two Bibliophiles is books. So, of course, they had to make a trip to Trinity College Library where a large number of Ireland’s National Treasures dwell.
The original Long Room had a much lower roof than now. Here is a watercolor showing how it was in the beginning containing thousands of books. After the roof was raised, they eventually added something like 6 million or more books purchased or given to the library.
“Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0”
As you can see, many more books have been added as well as busts of famous people and a Celtic harp.
Two of the National Treasures are the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow, both of which are hand-painted books of the gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John found in the Bible. These books were done by monks over 1,000 years ago, and yet the pages are still colorful and beautiful.
Another interesting item is a Celtic harp that is thought to be the oldest harp of its kind in the world. It has 29 strings and only a proficient could play it adequately after lots of practice.
I do hope you enjoy reading about the Darcys going to a friend’s pub incognito. And they are going for the entertainment. Sorry, I don’t have a picture of Patrick’s Pub.
At the time William and Elizabeth are in Dublin, St. George’s Church is under construction. When they visit the construction site, they are entertained by a humorous story in connection with the bell that would find its way to the spire of the finished church. In later years, the church would experience problems with the weight of the spire and the roof and would need reinforcements so the walls didn’t collapse. Christ Church and St. Patrick’s periodically have also experienced weaknesses in their structures including walls collapsing. I never really found the reasons why whether it was shifting ground, poor construction, or just simply time. All three have needed expensive repairs over the years.
After spending a fortnight in Dublin, our dear couple head to Cork. Yes, Darcy has friends there also who live in Blarney House and own Blarney Castle. You heard correctly: Blarney as in Blarney Stone. The Stone itself is at the top of an 82-foot high castle. Back in Jane Austen’s day, the only way to reach the Stone to kiss it was to walk up eight stories of staircase.
By the way, do you know that castles’ stairwells were clockwise spirals? Why? It was part of their defense systems. If besiegers managed to storm the castle (without having arrows, boiling water or boiling oil rained down on them) and started up the staircase, they were at a disadvantage. Most people are right-handed. When ascending the steps, they would find their sword hands against the interior curve of the wall. This made it difficult to swing their swords. However, defenders coming down the staircase would find room to use their swords giving their bodies a bit of protection as well. I found it fascinating to read about the multiple lines of defense each castle had that usually started with the moat.
So, the question is ‘Do the Darcys kiss the Blarney Stone?’ You’ll have to read the book to find out. 🙂
‘Elizabeth’s Choice’ will be available this week, hopefully, on Tuesday. But you never know about Amazon.
For further information concerning these different places and things, go to Wikipedia.org.