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Once Upon a December in the National Gallery

Hey there! Happy weekend (if you’ve lost track of the days thanks to the global pandemic, today is Saturday May 2, 2020)! If you haven’t had a chance to catch up on my last two blog posts (here and here), I’ve been starting to write about my experiences living in Europe for a year from September 2018-2019. I realized (thanks to an amazing message from one of my favorite Villanova professors) that this timeline might be a bit confusing! I am currently in sunny Los Angeles, sheltering-in-home. My TV show I was working on went on forced hiatus in mid-March, and I've been in LA since that time! The past two posts have featured some photos of some great places in Dublin and some anecdotes, as well. Today I’ll be continuing to share some stuff from Dublin, though not necessarily in the way you’ve probably seen photos of Dublin before. When one is struck by something or beauty or experience, one tries to capture it (though hardly ever to the degree of physically being there). Sometimes it’s a type of photo that’s expected; other times it’s random.

While living in Dublin, I was able to enjoy free access to so many wonderful museums and galleries. Among these experiences was the National Gallery of Ireland (exterior pictured above). I spent a lot of time wandering its halls on my own, but I was also able to spend time there with one of my favorite professors and my classmates, taking in the art and each other’s company. Sometimes we really appreciated the beauty and weight of different pieces; sometimes we made inappropriate jokes about the art. The jokes were my favorite.

The first time I went to the National Gallery, however, I was completely struck by the first room I entered (pictured above left). It felt like something of another era, and since I’m American, it felt like something reminiscent of The Great Gatsby. A piano, a double-winding staircase, a large ballroom floor, gigantic windows, ornate columns - it felt like I was transported through time to an era I’ve only truly seen depicted in various works on film and television or in books with photographs from the past. When I went on my own for the first time, I had gone on a day mid-week when I didn’t have class in order to step away from research and writing. The room was empty, so it was entirely mine. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t waltz by myself a little bit. I admit that as a kid one of my favorite animated movies was Anastasia, so I of course hummed “Once Upon a December” to myself and then giggled at the absurdity of what I was doing. I’m sure there’s a security guard somewhere in Dublin who laughed at the silly American that day. You’re welcome, guard, whoever and wherever you are.

As I continued to wander through the museum, I came into contact with more and more people, though the numbers were still low given the mid-week adventure. I saw beautiful chandeliers, ornate mirrors that reminded me of mirrors and frames I saw a decade ago when I went to the Hermitage in Russia, and more beautiful art than I could possibly process in the couple hours I spent getting lost in the Gallery’s halls.

If you’re ever in Dublin, the National Gallery has free admission. The only things you would pay for would be anything at the cafe or gift shop and any exhibitions on display for a limited time. One of my favorite times I went was with my professor and classmates where we got to view an exhibit by Canaletto, which is an exhibit I’ll go into more depth about when I write about my trip to Venice!

Have you ever gotten lost in a museum or art gallery? I feel like it is something that has always happened to me but even more so now that I’m older - probably because when we’re young we don’t have as much of an appreciation for how quickly time passes. Do you think that’s true? Let me know! As I said in yesterday’s post, I really do read the messages that come through my submission/contact page!



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