May 4, 2017
The afternoon began with a trip to the downtown shopping district, where we were given free time to explore, visit museums, shop, etc. We were supposed to meet back in front of a store called Killkenny. I said we could remember that by thinking of “South Park,’ but no one caught what I meant. They were thinking of a shopping mall in south Charlotte. I chose to head around the corner and wound up at the National Museum of Ireland. The building I found was the archaeology division. Exhibits covered pre-history and ancient times, and there were exhibits of Greek and Roman artifacts and art. It was much too much to take in during my brief time there, so I took a quick look around everything, but concentrated on the beautiful Irish metalwork.
I got back to the meeting place a little early, so I looked around some shops and went in with Becky while she had a t-shirt printed. Then it was time to head over to Christ Church Cathedral to have our pictures made with the Homeless Jesus, take the extended tour, and attend Evensong.
They were expecting us and welcomed us royally with a reception with real food and everything. The officials and staff of the cathedral greeted us, and we had a time to talk with them. A host said they had heard there was an organist in the group, so they had invited the music director to be present, so I walked over to meet him.
Then we went outside to have a group photo made with the Homeless Jesus. You can see the picture and some commentary at the bottom of this page. You can see my right eye is about all. While you are there, check out Paige Baker's photos from the cathedral. I've found it interesting to see how she and I differed in our way of seeing the same things.
Then we went back inside for the tour. The guide there was knowledgeable, but a bit over the top as an entertainer. But that was fine.
The organ was built in 1984, following a major restoration of the building. It was overhauled and revoiced by Flentrop in 2004 and a 32' Contra Trombone was added in the pedal. It has a really big sound for an intrument of its size.
The Royal Plate (candlesticks, Communion set, and alms plate) was presented to the cathedral by William III following the victory at the Battle of the Boyne. The cathedral served as the Chapel Royal for William and Mary in Ireland. The set was moved to the chapel at Dublin Castle when it took over that function. In 1922 with Irish independence, and thus no more Chapel Royal, the set was moved back to the cathedral.
There was an exhibit of costumes used in the series The Tudors.
After the tour we headed into the nave for Evensong. At both Canterbury and York we sat in the extensive choir areas for the service, instead of the nave. The picture shows the organist getting prepared to play. During the service our group was welcomed, and as I recall, there was acknowledgment of the gift of the Homeless Jesus statue. At the conclusion of the service they used American music, presumably in our honor. The choir sang an arrangement of a spiritual for the anthem, and then the congregational hymn was “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” sung at a brisk tempo. The organ prelude had been an improvisation in a French style. For the postlude, the organist improvised in a more adventurous French style, using elements of the Battle Hymn. But I was also convinced that he incorporated bits and pieces of the main Star Wars theme, especially in the pedal. It was May the Fourth, after all, Star Wars Day. (May the Fourth be with you!)
Following the service it was time to head back to the hotel for dinner and an early night. We would get up early on Friday to head to the airport for our flight home.