Elizabeth’s Choice and Ireland

Elizabeth’s Choice and Ireland

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.

Before they raised the roof.

After they raised the roof.

“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.

Book of Kells

Book of Durrow

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.

Celtic Harp

Photo by Marshall Henrie

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.

St. George’s Church

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.

Clockwise Spiral Stairwell

Castle with moat

Blarney Castle – No 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.

16 Responses to Elizabeth’s Choice and Ireland

  1. As an Irishwoman, I’d like to thank you for your lovely piece, Gianna. I learned facts I didn’t know before, such as the existence of clockwise staircases.I’ve seen the Book of Kells several times – it truly is stunning. I think the Darcys would have enjoyed it. The bardic harp is actually the symbol on the front of the Irish passport, so deeply intertwined is it in Irish/Celtic culture. It’s been a lovely ice breaker when travelling in remote spots of the world too – hitherto grim customs officials have often commented on or asked me why I have a musical instrument on the front of my passport rather than something more imperious/imposing.
    In my own novel, Four Riddles for Jane Austen, an imaginary Jane comes into contact with a certain Mr Dorsey, who is involved in Wolfe Tone’s United Irishmen, the political movement inspired by the French Revolution that was fighting for Irish independence in the early nineteenth century, with the support of Napoloenic France. Therefore, the Irish were regarded with deep suspicion by Regency England (plus ca change!). The UI were led largely by educated Protestant members of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy, since the native population had been frozen out of education and land or property ownership. I wonder if the Darcys might have been entertained on their honeymoon tour by fellow aristos who were fifth columnists for the UI?
    Gabrielle x

  2. Congratulations on the launch of your new book. Those pictures were amazing, thank you for sharing them. I loved seeing the different places and I believe I would burst into tears upon seeing that library. OMG!!

    • Thank you. Hit a snag. Probably be Friday or Saturday. Ireland is an amazing place, and that library is something else beautiful. Would love to see it myself and some of the ancient books they have. They have quite a history. Glad you enjoyed the post, J.W..

  3. This is a lovely post I enjoyed seeing all the pics as I live in Ireland. When my daughter attended Trinity College she took me on a tour of the Library one day. Words couldn’t describe the feeling you get walking around and looking at the book of Kells gave me shivers. Blarney Castle is in a beautiful spot even though there isn’t much of the castle left. I kissed the stone on a visit many many years ago. It can be quite scary as you have to lay on your back and kiss it with your head tilted back.
    Ireland is a beautiful country but oh my word the rain!!!! This year so far it’s like we have had it every single day.

    • Thank you, Teresa. I’m glad you enjoyed it. The library looks very impressive and beautiful as well. I forgot to mention that I’m not good with heights so I’d never hang off the edge of anything over a dropoff much less Blarney castle’s battlement. 🙁 And your country looks lovely. It really has earned the title Emerald Isle. I’m sure the rain keeps it that way. But I hope the winter storm does not repeat itself anytime soon. Is it very cold during the winter? I know that the weather overall since 1800 has warmed and hoped I have kept that in mind with my P&P’s. Let me know if I missed something or had it wrong in the book. I try to be accurate but sometimes something escapes me. 🙂

  4. Congratulations! I loved the photos! In the Fall of 2016, I did a tour with my sister of Ireland from Dublin to Galway. One of the many highlights was the library at Trinity College…my only wish was that there were less people…it was jammed. The Book of Kells was amazing as well. There were also two displays of framed gorgeous Irish lace on display as well, just before you went in. I now wish I had taken a picture of them. We also went to Blarney Castle and despite a short downpour, found the grounds around the castle beautiful. I climbed to the top, but didn’t kiss the stone…just watching the others was enough for me!
    I must go back and look at all the photos I took again. It is a beautiful country!!!

    • Thank you, Carole. If I ever deign to travel, I would love to go to Ireland. I did a whole bunch of research for this book especially Ireland. Blarney Castle has beautiful grounds from the pictures I saw and the descriptions that I read. And they even have a poison garden full of poisonous plants. Makes me want to write a book. 🙂 As to the Blarney Stone, if they would disinfect it after each person, I might consider kissing it. But my father was a doctor and my mother a nurse, and I grew up washing my hands frequently. Look at your pictures, Carole. I bet you’ll bring up a lot of fun memories. Glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  5. Those are beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing. I’m going to Ireland soon for the first time. I’m very excited about the trip.

    Also exciting, you’re upcoming book! Congratulations! That’s great news!! I’m sure it will be every bit worth the wait, and I’m excited to see the full cover. Will they match? It’s always nice to see series covers together. Happy New Release Day! (In advance)

  6. I’m looking forward to this one as I loved Darcy Chooses. I didn’t know you were writing a sequel and I really enjoy stories of their married life. I will look out for it.
    Thank you for this post, that library looks amazing and is possibly a rival for Pemberley library 🙂

    • You’re welcome. I’m delighted you loved ‘Darcy Chooses,’ Glynis, and I hope you love ‘Elizabeth’s Choice’ also. Trinity College Library is probably known worldwide. Not only do they have a ton of books, including the medieval books, most of the busts were done by the renowned sculptor, Peter Scheemakers. Add the Celtic harp, and it definitely is a special place. My Darcy is aware of how special it is, but I neglected to ask him which library was larger and which he preferred. 🙂

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