Delighted to share the blog today with Ash N. Finn, a wonderfully talented writer and Tweep friend to share her life in Dublin:
I am Ash N. Finn, and I live, work and write in Dublin, Ireland. The picture above is really me, but no, please don’t worry, it is not necessary to wear a helmet all the time whilst living in Ireland.
Dublin is the capital city of the Republic of Ireland, and it was originally founded as a Viking settlement. That would be the reason why, when walking around the city centre, you’re likely to get startled ever so often by big roars coming from people wearing Viking helmets atop a brightly painted WWII amphibious vehicle. I have yet to go on one of these Viking splash tours myself. Next time we have visitors from abroad I’ll be sure to instigate that.
The part of Dublin I live in is Kilmainham. Speaking of Vikings, we had the first longphort in Ireland in this area. Later on, in the 12th century, we had the Knights Templars here for a bit until the order was suppressed and the Knights of St John of Jerusalem took over. They had their priory on the site where the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, which is now the IMMA (the Irish Museum of Modern Art), was built in 1684 as a home for retired soldiers. It’s a pretty impressive building built in the style of Les Invalides in Paris.
From a distance walking up towards it, you can see why it’s a popular spot for lunch breaks in the sun – whenever the sun shines.
On the grounds of the Royal Hospital is a cemetery called Bully’s Acre. It’s one of the oldest cemeteries in Dublin. Brian Boru is said to have camped there before the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 and a son and grandson of his are believed to have been buried there along with some others killed in the battle.
There are quite a few fascinating stories around this cemetery. The eeriest of them is that it was a popular hunting ground for body snatchers at one time. It seems to have been rather easily accessible. The walls around it weren’t very high. The Irish boxer Dan Donnelly’s body was buried in an unmarked grave here in 1820 and the body snatchers took him and sold him to a Dublin surgeon by the name of Hall. Donnelly’s fans tracked the body down and confronted Hall who agreed to give the body back if he could cut off and keep the right arm. Donnelly’s arm was passed around a good bit then over the years. The longest it stayed in one place seems to have been in Jim Byrne’s pub in Kilcullen. It’s been to the United States and back since 2006.
There’s one other remarkable place here in Kilmainham which I’d like to show you while we’re so close to it. Right across the road from the Royal Hospital is Kilmainham Gaol where the leaders of the Easter Rising were executed.
There’s plenty more to see in Dublin than what I have shown you here. I hope you visit some time, or return if you’ve already been here. Stay a while if you can and travel westward where life moves at a slower pace than in the city and where you get to see beautiful views like the one below in County Leitrim.
If you’d like see a few samples of my writing and read a few more stories, please feel free to visit me at my blog: http://ashnfinn.wordpress.com/