Sunday, October 28, 2007

Details, details . . .

Everyone is demanding details of the Dublin trip so here goes . . .

DAY ONE - Tuesday

Dublin airport is only a hop and a skip from here, flying that is. It's getting to Airport A (Robin Hood Doncaster/Sheffield) and getting away from Airpot (Dublin) that adds time to the journey. All the same, we left here at 9am on Tuesday morning and by about 2pm were settled in Bewleys Coffee House.

The later part of this journey was made so much simpler by the fact that we were met at Dublin Airport by the delightful Abby Green who acted as tour guide and chauffeur from the start and took us into the city swiftly and easily.

Once unpacked and settled into a room with a huge kingsize bed, we introduced the Offspring and his girlfriend to the delights of Bewleys where a late lunch of salads was followed some of the best chocolate brownies I have ever tasted. And then we started a wander around the city to reacquaint ourselves with it and show the Offspring places that he had last seen 18 years ago! With the BM acting as navigator, this of course meant that we ended up in various bookshops en route to Merrion Square.

The main reason for visiting Merrion Square was research for the Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Dublin book which involved phorographing a particular house. I don't know the story behind this event but no doubt I will find it out when the book is done. But at the same time I was able to wander round and spot the plaques that mark the famous inhabitants of these Georgian houses in the past - names that reads like a roll call of literature.

In the past, Oscar Wilde's parents lived in Number 1, now the American college, and William Butler Yeats lived in Nos. 52 and 82. Other famous residents include Sheridan Le Fanu (No. 70) and Daniel O'Connell (No. 58). Today the square houses The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI), the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), The National University (NUI) and the Royal Society of Antiquarians of Ireland, as well as the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, where Erwin Schrodinger worked from 1939 to 1956.

In the square itself are many sculptures. There is the Oscar Wilde garden opposite the home of his parents William and Speranza in the north-west corner and the jester's chair dedicated to Dermot Morgan (the star of the ITV series "Father Ted")

Walking back to the hotel meant checking out other bookshops including Murder Ink - where I lost both the BM and the Offspring for a long time.

In the evening we met up with Abby again and spent eating pasta, drinking wine and talking. The waiter was highly amused to discover that Abby and I were both romance novelists - specially when we asked for a large Greek to share! We meant a salad - not sure what was going through his mind!
The evening ended in another literary landmark in Dyblin's history - McDaid's pub which has retained its character by not changing its essential design, its still looks pretty much the same as it was fifty years ago.

McDaid's played a part in Dublin's literary history as the local of playwright and novelist, Brendan Behan. McDaid's became the centre of a new generation of writers in the 1940s and 1950s who met in pubs in reaction to the quaint lives of older Irish writers.McDaid's was also the one time haunt of Patrick Kavanagh, Flann O'Brien, J.P. Donleavy and Liam O'Flaherty. It is said that Behan based some of his characters in The Hostage and Borstal Boy on publicans he met in McDaid's and Donleavy's main character in The Ginger Man was supposed to be based on McDaid's regular, Ganor Christ.
So as well as sipping some wine, we were also absorbing the literary atmosphere.

And that was day one - more tomorrow when I have 'tweaked' my Greek (large or otherwise) in order to get him back to my editor tomorrow.

Oh - and Jan, you can assure Merlin and Archer that the VICs (Very Important Cats) were well looked after while we were away. Danny from three doors down the road has been cat sitting the furry guys for the last four years or more. We're just grateful that he has a couple more years before he goes to university as they are bery attached to him and have been known to go down and bang on his window if he's late with their tea!


Anne McAllister said...

Lovely post, Kate. Thank you for taking me back to Dublin in your words. Just wish I could have been there in person. I'd have been delighted to share the large Greek, too!

Kate Hardy said...

Thank you for sharing, Kate. I feel as if I've been to Dublin, now.

(WB Yeats - I think we've had this conversation... among many! 'Tread softly' etc.)

India said...

It all sounds so fabulous, and I know from talking to the tour guide in question that you all had a brilliant time. That shop, from whence the coats came... I want to go! And the film set-- cooooool...

Next time I'm hiding in your handbag.

Nell said...

Sounds like a good trip!

Jan Jones said...

Glad to hear Danny was on the VICs' case. I have the same trouble when I'm feeding next-door's cats. They settle down on my doorstep and miouw at me


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