Irish Landmark Trust, where you can book it for weekends or longer. It was absolutely gorgeous, wild, and wonderful. Waking up to the sea crashing all around you is quite different to college bells knelling the morning into action.
On the way back I read Ciaran Carson's translation of the Inferno (Granta: London, 2002) and I was entranced by it. He has approached it utterly unfettered by academic concerns for accuracy and has instead approached it as a poet working in a war-torn city (Belfast). The result is not at all what I expected. It bristles with life and action and it almost leaves you gasping for breath. It is wonderful, and I highly recommend it.
Yesterday I went to see Kingdom of Heaven. Oh dear. It could have been such a good film. But instead the whole thing is ridiculously implausible. If you like battle scenes this will inevitably satisfy, and if you like hoards of Christians going after hoards of Saracens, this is the one for you. If, on the other hand, you were unimpressed with Ridley Scott's portrayal of the American military at its best in Black Hawk Down, then you'll get more simplistic and unsatisfactory stuff here. All this as Newsweek is in the middle of its difficulty with the administration and the Pentagon. The State Dept. said that Newsweek's shoddy journalism was damaging America's reputation abroad. Imagine the gall? 'Damaging America's reputation' might imply that any of it is left intact.
Peter Hawkins' lecture (which will appear in PMLA) was wonderful - a brilliantly nuanced and beautifully expressed look at how important smiling is in the Commedia.