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Galloping Through Ireland! Town And Gown.

The conference was at the lovely Queen's University Belfast. Here's an amusing thing to know about Belfast: The city has this amazing obsession with Queen Victoria. Almost every third item in the city is named after her. There's Queens University, Great Victoria Street, Queens Road, Victoria Park, Victoria Street, Victoria Road, Victoria College, even the Victoria Square Shopping Centre. All of this for a woman who spent a grand total of three hours of her life in the city.

But part of her legacy was Queens University . . .


41.  Main Campus Other Side

This is the main campus. It's a lovely place, with that kind of neo-Gothic red brick that the Victorians loved. Just on the far side of that photo is a little alley where you noodle around this place:

16.  On University Grounds

It's a chapel. Just beyond it is the music department, where all the fun happened. However, if you happened to be a few minutes early to the first paper session of the day, you could look up at the chapel and see these guys:

20.  Campus Gargoyles

The university is located in a lovely, hip neighborhood with plenty of fine restaurants.

27.  Street in University Hood

The city of Belfast also got in on the act. They decided to host a wine reception for all of us ethnomusicologists in Belfast's City Hall:

26.  City Hall Front

Take a look at that building. It is constructed of solid marble, inside and out. It is a singularly graceful and impressive piece of civic architecture. So what does the city of Belfast decide to put inside this solid-marble treasure, right in the large, hollow, echoing atrium, as a sonic treat for scholars who study music and culture? Why, a gen-you-wine Ulster pipe-and-drum band!

21.  Music to Annoy Catholics By

Observe the four snare drums, the large bass drum, and the corps of men playing shrill little fifes. This is not just a musical form that has no indoor voice; this is, as one off-duty ethnomusicologist told me, "music to annoy Catholics with." (Amusingly enough, this has also been the gist of more than one academic paper I've seen on these pipe bands. Just not stated quite so bluntly.) You literally could not hear yourself think, what with these guys playing outdoor Music To Annoy Catholics With inside a solid-marble atrium. You could certainly barely hear the followup Irish trad group over the residual buzzing in your head:

22.  Irish Followup Band

Or maybe that was just the wine.

One more post on Belfast, I think, and then onward.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
dot_o_choillmor
Apr. 23rd, 2013 06:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm glad I got to see a picture of the band!!

And that university we went to? That used be a Queen's College too, complete with statue of Victoria :-)
frenchpony
Apr. 23rd, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)
Frankly, I'm surprised you didn't actually hear the band all the way down in Cork! They were very good, and I'm glad I finally got to hear one of these bands in person, but dayum, they were loud! I think they even beat out Little Sister Pony's college graduation, in which her school decided that it was a good idea to put four bagpipers in a gymnasium.

I wonder how much time Victoria spent in Cork? The thing that makes Belfast's obsession with her so wonderful is that it was just the one three-hour visit.
fafojoy
Apr. 24th, 2013 06:33 am (UTC)
Very beautiful buildings and I had no idea that the Irish loved Queen Victoria! Did you learn why? Was she a sponsor oh theirs?
frenchpony
Apr. 24th, 2013 11:31 am (UTC)
Well, this part of Ireland has apparently been more pro-British than the rest (which is why it is still part of the UK), and I guess Victorians were just as Queen-of-England-mad as we are today, except there was more stuff lying around unnamed and ready to name after her. I bet that, if there had been a whole bunch of new unnamed streets and institutions in the 80s, they'd all have been named after Diana.
dot_o_choillmor
Apr. 24th, 2013 05:22 pm (UTC)
Basically it was under Queen Victoria that the universities were set up in Belfast, Cork and Galway. Until then there was only Trinity in Dublin and that was traditionally Protestant. So she granted a charter for further advancement of education or some such. We were under English rule at the time :-)
elliska
Apr. 26th, 2013 12:52 am (UTC)
Pretty campus and that marble building is incredible, but I was laughing about the acoustics. Yeah, you'd think it would be obvious that wouldn't be a good idea.
frenchpony
Apr. 26th, 2013 02:47 am (UTC)
Well, it certainly did manage to get our attention. This was an international conference in a fairly small discipline where most people know most people, and it was essentially a party featuring friends who don't see each other that often. Getting all of us to pay attention to one thing pretty much required the services of Music To Annoy Catholics By.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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