I’m back from my trip to Ireland. It was a short visit but I managed to pack in quite a bit of activity.
The day after we showed up, Jessica and I took a daytrip to The Hill Of Tara and the magnificent passage tomb of Newgrange in county Meath. Newgrange really is a remarkable structure. I took some pictures but they don’t come close to capturing what it feels like to enter a structure that was built before the pyramids were conceived.
On Saturday, I was left to my own devices while Jessica attended lectures as part of a symposium organised by graduates of Mount Holyoke College. I strolled around the streets of Dublin and wandered in and out of museums before meeting up with my good friend and Dublin resident, Diarmaid. We used to be in Art College together so, appropriately enough, we went to an exhibition of Jack B.Yeats paintings at Trinity College and perused the offerings on display at the National Gallery.
That same evening, I donned my glad rags to join Jessica and her fellow alumni in attending a banquet in the salubrious surroundings of the Royal College Of Surgeons. One of the lectures that Jessica had attended there was given by Dr. Garrett Fitzgerald. Throughout my teenage years, he was Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland. Irish politicians aren’t generally known for instilling feelings of respect, much less admiration, but Dr. Fitzgerald is almost universally regarded as a gentleman and a scholar. I was extremely pleased that he also came along to the post-lecture banquet. I was even more pleased when he came over to myself and Jessica to shoot the breeze.
All in all, it was a most stimulating weekend, filled with constant reminders and connections to Ireland’s history. But don’t get the wrong idea: it wasn’t all academia and culture. Many creamy, black pints were consumed with relish in the smoke-free environs of pubs that stayed open ‘till civilised hours.