Dunsink Lane, Dublin 15, D15 XR2R

#2 Cookies & Confidence

June 17th 2019

By Oscar O’Hara

With a mission in mind, and a cuppa in hand the three musketeers swung a left out the front door. Our sights firmly set on Trinity, we began the short walk, with the unusual feeling of sun on our faces. Walking along, our conversation drifted off topic and very quickly to food (as it often does). Tess made a very bold claim, she’d found the “best cookies in all of Dublin”, in the bakery “Hansel and Gretel!”. Met with two sceptical looks and a volley of questions, we demanded to try them for ourselves. The debate ended as we entered the Berkeley library and began looking for the admission desk. We filed the research forms out and were each given what felt like a golden ticket… We had access to the manuscript archives!

Pushing through the sea of tourists that often occupy Fellows Square, we walked right up to security at the front door and told them why we were here, met with a “I’ll inform them you are on your way up”. With a smile of confidence and not a second of queuing and we were in the door, walking against the flow and into the Long Room. Our eyes couldn’t stay put, scanning the room eager to take in the beautiful dark varnish wood ceiling and the walls lined with books older than the three of us combined. Tess and I had to guide Gabriel along, as it was his first time here and as a result he was firmly fixated on anything but where he was going. Arriving at a velvet rope blocking our way, two towering wooden doors behind, a guard lifted the rope and allowed us through as the tourists stared in jealousy.

We climbed down a grand staircase alone, confused and very lost, speaking about the maze within the library we’d stumbled across. Perhaps we should have left a trail of breadcrumbs, the bakery,  the cookies… a trail of cookie crumbs! Today must’ve been our lucky day: there, in front of us, looking over the stairs was the first Royal Astronomer of Ireland John Brinkley. Not in the flesh, but rather sculpted out of a pale white marble. After an adequate amount of time, staring at the almost lifelike form, pointing out features such as the telescope, globe, bishops hat and taking the mandatory picture, we said our goodbyes, continuing on our way.

Finally arriving at the Manuscript archives, we stood like headless chickens wondering what to do next, where to stand, how to stand. Luckily a member of staff then came to our rescue, guiding us to a reading room and digging out the manuscripts we’d been looking for. We were presented with two abnormally large leather bound books. Tess was given the first, a large catalogue from the early 20th century full of correspondence within Trinity college. The second was the accompanying board minutes, written by the registrar of trinity.

The Challenge: Locate an unreferenced quote pertaining to Trinity and Dunsink observatory from 1909 & 1910.

The Contestants: Three bubbling Astro Interns.

Time Frame: Our attention span.


After a couple of hours scouring what felt like ancient tomes of Trinity’s history, we proved unsuccessful. This however wasn’t all bad news, for our digging had uncovered mountains of fascinating documentation. Tess pulled out letters addressed to the Provost, enquiring about acknowledging Trinity’s first female degrees, and a schedule for Trinity week 1909. Gabriel even found a board discussion to install electric lights in the college libraries.

Feeling slightly disheartened, the three musketeers set off! Not home, not just yet, but a (needed) quick pitstop. They’d been on our minds all morning and now, they would be in our bellies, the cookies! Running in and out, we clutched one each and begun what felt like a hike up the longest road in all of Dublin! The kettle was put on as each of the cookies where simultaneously removed from their stained brown paper bags. Then silence, well silence apart from the occasional munch and nod of approval. Tess then made yet another bold claim, “I also know where the best muffins are! There is a cafe just down from the Molly Malone statue…”. Knowing the answer I blurted “Keoghs!”.