I have really enjoyed the opportunity to take several classes in completely different disciplines here at UCD. I am taking everything from International Financial Management to Irish (yes, the language). Another unique course has been Exploring Archaeology, a subject that isn't really offered back home. Through the course I have taken two local field trips, one to the National Archaeology Museum of Ireland in Dublin and the other to the more rural Hill of Tara site. Both were interesting visits and I've included several pictures below.
The National Museum had a multitude of really amazing pieces inside. Some of my favorite artifacts were those found in the bogs around the country (that would have otherwise decomposed had it not been for very specific environmental conditions). Ireland's peat bogs surround objects deposited within them with wet, low temperature, anaerobic environments that do not allow organisms to survive and break them down. Some of the most well known examples of this are bog bodies, but there was also another item that was remarkably discovered in 2006 - a medieval manuscript. The Faddan More Psalter was found during a peat cutting in Tipperary. It was, and is, an unprecedented find and provides a unique look into the past - it was written around 800AD. In addition to the Psalter and other bog exhibits, there was also a great Viking exhibit with countless tools and swords. There was no shortage of gold on display either, with some of Ireland's most famous gold pieces, such a ornate gold neck collars, on display in the center of the museum.
The famous Faddan More Psalter (4 images below)
In addition to the National Archaeology Museum
of Ireland, I also took a look inside the Natural History Museum. It
was essentially a large taxidermy museum, but nonetheless an interesting
stop. There were a great diversity of animals represented, the most
eye catching for me being the Tasmanian Tiger. I had done a project on
this species in middle school and - it unfortunately went extinct in the
first half of the 20th century, so it was quite amazing to see one in
The Hill of Tara trip was organized as a class trip on a Saturday last
month. Tara, located in Co. Meath, is one of the most significant
archaeological sites in Ireland, with several monuments, (like ring
barrows and a Neolithic passage tomb) dating to many
different time periods scattered about the landscape. I would recommend a visit to Tara
since it is a place of great importance in Irish history, but only if
you have a guide/someone who is very knowledgeable about the site. We
were fortunate to have several archaeology professors with us to detail
what and where each monument was, otherwise most monuments would have
looked like nothing more than a grassy hill or ditch. With the history
behind everything though, it was very interesting.