Saturday, 28 July 2012

A Bit of Ancient Greece in Auld Dublin

On my daily trips to Dublin, which takes around two hours from Belfast. I like to avail of the time provided to read. My most reason book Full Circle: How the Classical World Came Back to Us This book opened my eyes to how familiar our lives are in relation to the ancient Romans and Greeks. Furthermore, how over the past 1500 years society has come full circle in the way we conduct ourselves in politics religion, and sexual morality. Even down to our thought processes. I was quite surprised to read that the first revival of the concept of spa and health center on the British Isles, was developed by an Anglo-Irishman in the 1820s. Dr Richard Barter of Cooldaniel Co. Cork, he opened the spa at St Anne's Hills, outside Blarney.

If you are visiting Dublin and are looking for a little bit of Greece? I recommend you visit our National Gallery admission is free and the collection holds many reverences to ancient Greek-art and philosophy. Much of Dublin's Goragian architecture is influenced by the ancient world. A short walk from the gallery is St Stephens Church. It is only one of many principle examples of the Greek revival in Dublin architecture. The church is better known to Dubliners as the pepper-canister, due to John Bowden's architectural influences. Mainly taken from the Erechtheion (temple of the four winds) Athens, and the chorogic monument of Lysicates. Apart form being a place of worship, St Stephan's plays host to classical music events through out the year. Which ties in nicely with the monument lysicrates, as it was dedicated to the arts. There is also the Georgian House museum which is situated on the same street (Mount St Up) The museum provides the visitor with a full picture of the whole social development of Georgian Dublin, from architecture to politics.

I have many cultural links on my website i.e Georgian Society, Trinity College Dublin, so if you are looking for heritage links visit Dublin Loyal Tours. I have also copied the words of Pericles speech, I'm of the opinion that every politician on the Island of Ireland should have this speech framed and placed in their office.

Pericles Speech On A Democratic Society

"Our political system dose not compete with institutions which are
elsewhere in force. We do not copy our neighbors, but try to be an example. Our administration favors the many instead of the few: this is way it is called democracy. The laws afford equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, but we do not ignore claim of excellence. When a citizen distinguishes himself, then he will be called to serve the State, in preference to others, not as a matter of privilege, but a reward of merit: and poverty is no bar... The freedom we enjoy extends also to ordinary life; we are not suspicius of one another, and do not nag our naighbours if he chooses to go his own way... But this freedom does not make us lawless, We are taught to respect the magistrates and the laws, and never to forget we must protect the injured. And we are also taught to observe the unwritten laws whose sanction lies only in the universal feeling of what is right.

Our city is throen open to the world; we never expel a foreigner... We are free to live exactly as we please, and yet we are always ready to face any danger... We love beauty without indulging in fancies, and although we try to improve our intellect, this does not weaken our will... To admit one's poverty is no disgrace with us; but we consider it an disgraceful not to make an effort to avoid it. An Athenians citizen does not neglect public affairs when attending to his private business... We consider a man who takes no interest in State not as harmless, but as useless; and although only a few may originate a policy; we are all able to judge it. We do not look upon discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of political action, but as an indispensable preliminary to acting wisely... We believe that happiness is the fruit of freedom and freedom that of valour, and we do not shrink from danger of war... To sum up. I claim that Athens is the school of Hellas, and that the individual Athenian" grows up to develop a happy reversibility, a readiness for emergencies, and self reliance. Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy

Chris Thackaberry: Irish historian and Failte Ireland & Dublin Tourism approved tour guide. For information on Irish history and guided tours visit