Surface archaeology on the streets of Dublin

“The farther one travels, the less one knows.” – Laozi (Lao-Tsu) in Tao Te Ching

Last time I visited Dublin, two and a half years ago, I barely looked up from the literary past as I followed the footsteps of Yeats, Joyce, and Shaw. Evidence of the country’s turbulent history is everywhere in Dublin, but the capitol of the Republic of Ireland is not some sort of ossified open-air museum content to obsess over its own past. What struck me this time, though, was just how modern Dublin is on the surface while still not diminishing its connection to history.

Royal College of Surgeons & Luas

My photo above captures this perfectly, I think. A Luas tram stands at the St. Stephen’s Green station in front of the Royal College of Surgeons, its columns riddled with bullet holes from the 1916 Easter Rising (though they’re hard to see in the picture at this size).

This theme repeats itself across the city — generally as a wonderful synthesis of old and new, but occasionally in a jarring juxtaposition. Like this McDonald’s on the first floor of a Georgian building.

McDonald's - Dublin

Nevertheless, I love Dublin for its many layers. I know I’ve only brushed a few grains from the visible surface, picking up a few stray artifacts along the way, and there are still stories from thousands of years left to discover — both in the past and in the future.