I discovered today that it is in fact possible to visit The Book of Kells at Trinity College in only 20 minutes. I mean, I wouldn't recommend it, but it can be done.
After a long day of work and a series of phone calls, I dashed across the campus in central Dublin and breathlessly reached the ticket office with minutes to spare. "You know we're about to close, right?" the good-looking Irishman manning the booth in a very manly manner asked.
"Yes, I know," I replied, batting my eyelashes.
I then swept through the exhibit, pausing only to read the most interesting of panels describing the 1,200-year old manuscript that contains lavish copies of the four gospels. Admired the book itself, which displays two of its vellum pages at a time, in shockingly brilliant colors, considering its age. There was orange on one of the pages it was open to. Orange! This might sound ridiculous, but I'm not sure I even knew they had the color orange in the 9th century. I thought things were just generally...brown. New appreciation for color!
The last few of my precious 20 minutes were spent upstairs in the Long Room, which houses 200,000 of Trinity College Library's oldest books under its barrel-vaulted ceiling, not to mention the oldest harp in Ireland, the same one, in fact, that appears on Irish coins to this day.
So much I wish I'd had more time for. But sometimes a little of something is better than nothing. I love to travel, love to explore, love to learn. Going to new places allows me to do all those things, supplemented by a little research before and after. I love that feeling of excitement, of suddenly knowing something that I didn't even know I didn't know. (You know?)
After being kicked out of the Library at closing time, I strolled back and blew a kiss at the statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square. Stolen moments indeed.