Infectious Leinster

Dublin turned a bright shade of red on Saturday. The city centre a couple of hours before Ireland’s biggest club rugby contest was an unsubtle shade of blood red Munster allegiance. The flags flown over the city all week sported the slogan ‘believe in Leinster’, which together with the lack of blue home shirts spread around the home of the Eastern province on match day convinced me that not many people actually do believe in Leinster rugby team anymore. Not a shocker, perhaps, as their past record against the team from down south suggested that the Munster lads only had to pull on their shirts and amble out at Croke Park to win the game.

The rest, of course, is history. Leinster’s battering of the Munster lads bought Dublin city centre to life in a way I’ve rarely seen before; a warm summer day with an atmospheric dose of that infamous Irish charm I’ve always found a little too difficult to track down. I watched the game in the wonderfully named ‘Oil Can Harry’s’ pub with my workmate Sean – one of the world’s biggest Munster fans – and spent the game trying hard not to be to openly seduced by the underdogs fluent dominance. What a game.

Just before the match I’d drifted round the Trinity Gallery’s new exhibition, ‘Infectious’, which, considering it started a month back, showed an impressive amount of foresight.  When you walk into the exhibition you’re scanned for ‘infections’ and handed an electronic tag to wear around your neck, which indicates whether or not you’re ‘infected’ or not. The whole systems a model which the university uses to demonstrate how infections are spread; standing too close to another visitor for any length of time passes the virtual infection on, and TVs spread around the gallery let the visitors monitor who’s infected and who isn’t. I got infected at some point on the second floor, though I couldn’t work out exactly when.

The other exhibits were pretty interesting too. One showed viruses as sparkling glass models, attempting to debunk the garish-coloured images the media uses to show them as something ‘evil’. There’s a computer model that allows you to alter various factors in order to model the spread of a pandemic virus across the globe by air travel, and live experiments that include having your own DNA tested (decided not to pay for that one!) and a strange set up that allowed visitors to listen to the different tune a ‘water flea’ makes depending on it’s proximity to a virus. All in all, very impressive.

Saturday’s shenanigans aside, it’s pedal to the metal with India preparations now. We’re about half packed, I have one day left at Berlitz followed by one more day teaching privately and then we’re clearing out and heading off down to Galway for a couple of days on Monday. The end of our time in Dublin seems to have come up pretty fast, and I think landing in India’s going to come as a bit of shock when it arrives, despite the fact we’re perfectly well prepared.

Now, back to that packing….

James x

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