Dublin: My last post from Ireland

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July 26th 2009
Published: July 28th 2009
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Seen in a T-shirt shopSeen in a T-shirt shopSeen in a T-shirt shop

The Irish seem to love Obama, whose mother was of Irish heritage.
This will probably be my last post from Ireland, a somewhat random collection of comments and photos. I'm posting this just as, back in the States, Bob and the boys are leaving for Logan aiport, on their way to London!

Our students all left on Saturday, most home to the States, a few to travel a bit further in Ireland or the U.K. I have had a few days since then to just relax and explore Dublin.

Mike and I saw a fabulous production of Richard Sheridan’s The Rivals at the Abbey Theater. The Abbey is Ireland’s National Theater, founded by W.B. Yeats and others in 1904. The Rivals was written in 1775, and is a comedy about marriage prospects, somewhere in between Much Ado About Nothing and The Importance of Being Earnest. The acting, costume, and staging were all first rate.

I also saw a play called The Poor Mouth at a very small 66-seat theater. This was a two actor show, basically a satire on the kind of Irish language memoir and story that really dwells on the pain, misery, bad luck, and bad weather that is the fate of those who are from the west
Rainbow from Ha'penny BridgeRainbow from Ha'penny BridgeRainbow from Ha'penny Bridge

Frequent rainbow sightings are one benefit of having the weather so changeable. It is often raining and sunny at the same time!
of Ireland. The comedy was a little broad, but enjoyable.

One aspect of being in Ireland in July that I’ve become used to is that there are mobs of Italian teen-agers everywhere. We first encountered these groups staying on the campus of NUI-Galway with us, and there are more of them here in Dublin. Apparently, there is a tradition among the Italian, to send their children to Ireland for 2-3 weeks in the summer to learn English. (You wonder what sort of accent they end up with, don’t you?) They seem to be under-chaperoned, and they travel in large groups, blocking sidewalks and doorways. They seem to all wear tight jeans, glittery shoes, and lots of scarves. The boys wear tight jeans and t-shirts or soccer shirts.

Dublin's been bustling with lots of other visitors in the last few days, as the home town boys, U2, are in town for three concerts at Croke Park (80,000 people for each show.) I will not be attending, myself, but I've heard the sounds of the concerts from my window at Dublin City University. People from all over Europe are here for the show. Mike explained to me an element of the Irish psyche called "begrudgery", which is basically the idea that people need to be kept humble. No one, least of all an Irish person, should be allowed to think themselves too important or great. Bono comes in for a lot of this attitude from the Irish, although you can sense real pride in his success and his good work, as well. A cab driver told us, in a somewhat mocking tone, that if you go to a U2 concert, you need to be prepared to listen to Bono ramble on about Africa for half an hour. He told us another story about a U2 concert:

Bono is on stage, clapping his hands every second or two, and he says "Every time I clap my hands, a child dies in Africa." Someone in the crowd yells out, "Well, then stop clapping your f___ing hands!"

I'll be sorry to leave Ireland, but I'm meeting my family at the Dublin airport early Wednesday morning, and we all fly to London for our holiday. I hope to enlist my boys' help continuing the blog from there. Thanks to all who've been reading and commenting!

One last encounter with the Irish
Our group at the Guinness StorehouseOur group at the Guinness StorehouseOur group at the Guinness Storehouse

Not an official field trip, but an established tradition is a visit to the Guinness Storehouse after the course exam is done. The Gravity Bar, seven stories up, has panoramic views of the city, and really excellent stout. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout......mmmmmm.
to relate. When we first go to Dublin, we shared our flat with a 76-year old gentleman, originally from Ireland, who had lived most of his life in Canada. (He left Ireland at age 16, as it turns out, with a companion named Joe Glennon! My sense is that it is a common surname in many areas of Ireland.) I got a lot of information about his life, in a very short time, and he apologized for telling me his whole life story. But when I said good bye, he said “God Bless You, Sara.” Then he added “I say that only out of habit, not out of sincerity.” (!) I think there's something very Irish about that.

And.....for those of you wondering, "What happened to the socks, Sara?" I have the announcement that I've just finished one pair of socks! Voila. These were not difficult, but the legs seemed to take forever, just knitting around and around. I am really happy with how they look and how they fit. I've already begun another pair...perhaps those will be done before we leave London.

Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 24


One pair finished!One pair finished!
One pair finished!

It is really difficult to take a good photo of a pair of socks that you're wearing.
The Clarence HotelThe Clarence Hotel
The Clarence Hotel

Owned by Bono and The Edge, of U2
St. Stephen's GreenSt. Stephen's Green
St. Stephen's Green

This is a lovely park in Dublin, with its own connections to the 1916 rising. It was a sunny day when I was there, and lots of people were enjoying the day, eating lunch in the park and strolling about.
Classical Buskers on Grafton StreetClassical Buskers on Grafton Street
Classical Buskers on Grafton Street

Grafton Street is a high-end shopping area, with pedestrian-only streets, lots of pubs and restaurants, and a wide variety of street performers.
Oscar Wilde Statue in Merrion SquareOscar Wilde Statue in Merrion Square
Oscar Wilde Statue in Merrion Square

Merrion Square is another great Dublin park, more wooded and cozy. Wilde grew up in a house right across the street from this statue.
Statue of Brian Boru in Merrion SquareStatue of Brian Boru in Merrion Square
Statue of Brian Boru in Merrion Square

Brian Boru was the last High King of all Ireland. He was killed at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. It is his harp that you see on the Guinness bottle, the Irish euros, etc.
Irish schoolchildren in Merrion SquareIrish schoolchildren in Merrion Square
Irish schoolchildren in Merrion Square

Notice their uniforms. The girls all have straw boater hats with ribbons and cotton dresses. The boys have navy shorts and sweater vests.
Phoenix ParkPhoenix Park
Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park is an enormous park in Dublin, more than twice the size of Central Park. I spent a few hours on Sunday, walking around and enjoying another nice day.
Papal Cross in Phoenix ParkPapal Cross in Phoenix Park
Papal Cross in Phoenix Park

Site of John Paul II's visit in 1979.
Wellington Monument in Phoenix ParkWellington Monument in Phoenix Park
Wellington Monument in Phoenix Park

Most statues that commemorate important British military figures were blown up by the IRA over the years. It's a bit surprising this one still stands.
O'Connell StatueO'Connell Statue
O'Connell Statue

Daniel O'Connell is known as "The Liberator" as he fought in the early 19th century for Catholic Emancipation: giving Catholics the right to hold political office and serve in Parliament. This was when Ireland was still a part of the U.K. His statue is on O'Connell Street, the largest street in Dublin, right in the center of town, facing the O'Connell Bridge. He's sometimes compared to Lincoln in how important he was to the cause of Catholic rights.

No comment.
Glennon's Supermarket in DublinGlennon's Supermarket in Dublin
Glennon's Supermarket in Dublin

This is the grocery store at the entrance to Dublin City University, where we are staying.

28th July 2009

hello again!
Hi Sara- It's been such fun hearing of all your grand adventures. Can't wait to hear about them in person. I'm sure you're anxious to see the boys and I'm sure Bob will be relieved to have you back! (So to speak.) I just got back from visiting my cousin and his family up in Wilmington, VT. Of all times I'm up there and you're not! Bummer! They're from Idaho and have a summer place up there. Cute little town. Enjoy the rest of your vacation! Love Rene
28th July 2009

3rd January 2010

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