Sunday, August 2, 2009
Ireland: Part I Dublin
I arrived in Dublin on Friday July 17th. Thanks to No Jetlag, a homeopathic product from New Zealand, I arrived tired but not disoriented. I was staying at Jurys Inn Christchurch which is adjacent to Dublin Castle (good) and Temple Bar (not so good-more later), and a great central location. After leaving my luggage at 9 am, I had to fill the hours until 1 pm check-in. So I wandered over to The Chorus Cafe for a light breakfast, so-named because it is adjacent to the site where Handel's Messiah was first performed. I then crossed over to Dublin Castle which I had never seen despite many extended visits to Dublin. I skipped the tour, and opted instead to visit the Chester Beatty Library behind the castle, home to many rare manuscripts, particularly religious books, and free admission.
Then I found my way to Powerscourt Center and This Is Knit, the well-known Dublin yarn store. The women working there were delightful. They now have two spaces in this shopping center that are across from one another. They moved into the new space recently, and closed their original store in Blackrock (a suburb south of Dublin). I bought one skein of lovely yarn from a hand-dyer in Wales. Independent dyers and yarn makers are very rare in Ireland (one is Dublin Dye Company), though the number is growing in the UK. The shop also carries British brands such as Rowan and Debbie Bliss, as well as the Irish Kilcara Tweed. But the prices weren't much less than U.S. prices.
Saturday I visited the James Joyce Centre with a small exhibit, and tiny bookshop, it is modest when considering the glory that Joyce brought to Irish literature, and the city of Dublin. Perhaps it is a reflection of the ambivalence of many Dubliners, and Irish towards Joyce. I met one of my former students for brunch at Odessa, a very nice restaurant with choices averaging 10 Euros - a bargain in Dublin. Later in the afternoon, I visited a friend I have known for over 35 years, who is now 80, and full of stories, and interesting political insights. She is well known in Dublin, and lives in a wonderful Georgian house she inherited from her aunt in the 1970's. Below is a picture of her door.