Jon Crispin's Notebook

Kilmainham Gaol / Guinness / Home

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

Our time in Dublin was limited, and it was difficult to decide what to do for the last day and a half we were there.  We were really interested in seeing the historic Kilmainham Gaol, as it was highly recommended.  The only way to get in is with a guide, but Brian was really knowledgeable and we learned a ton about the history of Ireland.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

My interest in institutional architecture and abandoned buildings goes way back, and it was a treat to be able to walk through this important historic site and have time to photograph.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

For me walking through hallways like this is the best way for me to connect with the history of a place.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

The building was abandoned for many years and left to deteriorate, but a group largely made up of volunteers has worked for years to make it accessible to the public.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

The tour was fairly crowded, but it was pretty easy to hang back and photograph whenever I saw something interesting.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

The main hall in the first photograph was built based on an idea of imprisonment that came from the Pentonville prison in England, whereby prisoners were isolated in individual cells rather than thrown together in large rooms.  This was meant to foster a more peaceful environment to aid in rehabilitation , but conditions were still quite brutal.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

The cross at this end of the yard marks the spot where James Connolly was executed by firing squad.  If you get a chance to read about him in the link, the story of his life and death is very moving.  I think the best thing about the tour of the gaol is how much Irish history we learned.

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After the prison, a trip to the Guinness Brewery seemed like a good idea.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

This is an enormous industrial complex in Dublin.  Another tour, but this one was self guided but also quite informative.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

It was cool to see this little monument to William Sealy Gosset since I had just seen an article in the Times of London about his work on probability and how Nate Silver uses the same basic model to predict US elections.  The article is behind a paywall, but you might be able to sign up for a free trial.  It is worth a read.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

This is the handle of a big safe that held the yeast strain that is still used in making Guinness. / The tour ended with a complimentary pint of the black stuff, which as always, goes down a treat.

We had a few hours on the day we flew home so were able to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. We were told not to miss it and it was amazing.  No photos are allowed in the exhibit, but the tour does include a visit to the Long Room Library.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

More crowds, but the room is stunning. Love the marble busts.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

Here is old Demosthenes checking things out.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

There is an active conservator’s lab that the public can view, and I was reminded of my work on the suitcases as the cotton string used to wrap the books is the same that the New York State Museum used on the cases.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

Here is a piece of it tied to the grate that separates the conservators from the public.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

We had a bit of time before catching the bus to the airport to walk through St Stephen’s Green and enjoy the beautiful autumn day.

Kilmainham Gaol,Guinness Brewery,Trinity College, Dublin

Back home now to return to spending a lot of time editing the suitcases, and  to begin reaching out to publishers and museums. Thanks for following.

Durbar Square / Hindu Gods

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

Cris starts work tomorrow, so today was a day to walk around a bit.  The earthquake damage is very obvious with piles of brick everywhere and scaffolding around many buildings.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

These shots are all from around Durbar Square.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

Cris would gasp just about every time we turned a corner in this part of Kathmandu.  She came here first in 1979 as a Peace Corps volunteer, has subsequently come back to work in Nepal on a regular basis, and is really familiar with the city. It is really shocking to see the devastation.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

As we were walking back to the hotel I started noticing pictures of Hindu gods that were about 3 feet off the ground and which were spread out about every five yards along a huge brick wall.  They are evocative in the odd way that things that attract my attention are.  I began taking pictures of them when I saw this next guy, who looked much more contemporary than the rest.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

These next two are Krishna.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

He is almost always depicted with a cow and a flute.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

And often a milkmaid.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

This sign was higher up on the wall and Cris was looking at it and smiling as I walked past her.  It is amazing to come to a place like Nepal with someone who speaks and reads the language.  It basically says, don’t piss or shit on the wall.  Which is why the images of the gods are placed just about the height at which a man’s stream would fall.  It seems a pretty effective deterrent.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

The issue of public defecation is something that the current government has begun to work on (for obvious reasons).

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

We like Ganesh as he is the remover of obstacles and the patron of the arts and sciences. For some reason, we have always associated him with travel, which is something we do quite often.  Finally, here is Hanuman, the monkey god.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

Thanks for following. We are a bit sketchy on Hindu lore, so please pardon me if I have gotten anything wrong about the gods.

Bradley Airport Terminal B

Bradley Airport Terminal B

Peter and I used to drop off Cristine at this terminal when she would be leaving on some of her long trips to South Asia for work.  After she went to her gate he and I would sit on a bench at curbside and record the names and numbers on the shuttle vans as they came past.  I still have some of the notebooks that we used all those years ago.

On Friday I drove her to the airport for a brief trip to DC and on the approach road, this is what we saw.  I guess I knew that they would be tearing it down at some point, but it was still a bit of a shock. / She flies in later tonight, but I came down early to try to get a shot.  The sun went below the horizon within 30 seconds of taking this photo and the light changed completely.  It is always amazing to me that a building once so full of activity could be reduced to this.  It will be completely gone very soon.

Another Connecticut Avenue Apartment Building

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, historic buildings by joncrispin on 27/11/2015

Connecticut Avenue Apartment Building

Here’s another Connecticut Avenue  apartment building.  Clearly of a different era from the ones I posted this morning.

Sulgrave Manor / La Reine

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, historic buildings, historic preservation, History by joncrispin on 27/11/2015

sulgrave manor

Cris and I are in DC for a few days visiting Peter.  There are so many nice apartment buildings along Connecticut Avenue, and these two caught my eye this morning.

la reine

These residential prewar buildings are so common throughout the district.  They sure don’t build ’em like they used to.

Men’s Room, Stockbridge Hall, UMASS

Posted in Architecture, bathrooms, Buildings, public toilets, restrooms, toilets by joncrispin on 22/03/2015

I was really happy to have an assignment in Stockbridge Hall today.  It gave me the chance to visit one of the best public toilets in the area.  The building was built in 1915, and most of this room seems original.  One of the sinks on the left is missing but the space is otherwise mostly intact.  Look at those urinals! / Here is a different angle↓.

It is really rare to find a bathroom in an institutional setting that hasn’t been completely destroyed by modernization.  This room would be so easy to restore to its original state, but given that it is on the grounds of a public university, that is something that will probably never happen.  Several years ago I shot a 360° panorama in here, and unbeknownst to me, there was a guy in one of the stalls!

Kalamazoo Asylum for the Insane

Posted in Abandoned Buildings, Architecture, Asylums, Buildings, Travel by joncrispin on 12/12/2014

After my fantastic visit to Wittenberg University I drove up to Kalamazoo, Michigan to visit my great friend Ken Schaefer.  We were taking a tour of Western Michigan University, where he works, and I looked to the south and saw this.  Amazing.  The State Hospital has an interesting history, and dates back to the earliest of New York State’s asylums.  The only building that remains from the original Kirkbride plan buildings is the water tower, and it is huge.

Driving back home tomorrow.  It is about 14 hours and I might break it up back in Erie.  We’ll see.

Hallway 2

Posted in Buildings, hallways, hotel hallways by joncrispin on 07/12/2014

I made it to Springfield.  Off for a beer and then to work on my presentations.

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Berlin

Posted in Abandoned Buildings, Architecture, Buildings, Community, Government, History, Travel by joncrispin on 10/11/2014

I moved to Berlin in January of 1986.  I really needed to get away from Ithaca, and I had some issues which needed attention.  I spent mornings at the Goethe Institute studying German and the rest of the day photographing.  I was drawn to the city because of the division; one could see the extremes of Capitalism on the West side, then go through a checkpoint on the same day and see what the Commies were up to.  It was like stepping back forty years.

I like the phrase “wer mauert hat’s nötig” which I always took to mean “whoever builds walls needs them”.  Which is relevant here as the East Germans built the thing and then called it an “anti-facist barrier”.

In looking over my contact sheets this morning I realized that there are very few people in any of my wall photographs.  It always amazed me that even on the West side, people stayed away from it (except the graffiti folks who must have worked at odd hours, as I never saw anyone writing on the thing).

I used to like to take the bus to Steinstücken and wander around.  It was an odd little Western enclave almost totally surrounded by the East.  You can read about it here.  There was a rail line running straight through it and you could stick your head around a corner and be face to face with a guard tower.  It always seemed a likely place for a crossing, but I never heard of one. / I met a lot of Berliners and was always interested to hear stories of unique situations with the wall.  I was once told that at some locations there were gates where Westerners could use a key to access their gardens in the East.  Probably not true, but interesting to think about.

Here is Checkpoint Charlie at night.

The wall has been down for 25 years now.  I seriously doubt it was Reagan’s “Mr Gorbachev, bring down this wall” plea that had anything to do with it opening up.  More like the East Germans made some really stupid mistakes, which is not surprising as they were running a completely effed up and vile organization.

Mr Turner and More

Posted in Architecture, Art, Birds, Buildings, Cities, Jon Crispin, Travel by joncrispin on 08/10/2014

We made it to the Tate Britain today to see the Turner show.  It was amazing.  No photography in the temporary exhibits, so no pics, but oh my, what an exhibit.  He was it.

The rest of the museum was nice.  All Brit artists and huge, with lots of variety.

Walked around London afterwards and saw these coots in St. James’s Park.  I love coots.

Long bus ride out to Hammersmith to have a few pints at The Dove.

To me, it is the nicest and most welcoming pub in London.

John and I have a long history here.  We never made it to the V and A for the Constable exhibit.  Maybe tomorrow or Friday.

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