Sunday, 7 October 2001

Hmmm. I was sound asleep again when my bed began to shake from the bass guitar. So, I’ve got the secret: the party begins at midnight and closes down about 2, but last night (Saturday) it stayed open til 3. So did I, of course. At first, I rather enjoyed it. The music was techno-pop, so popular in Europe but heard less (by me, anyway) in this country. But then it degenerated into the same disco stuff I’d heard the previous evening. As I checked out this morning (surely, the only guest), I asked whether they have a party every night. “Oh, the disco next door you mean? A little loud was it?” I just smiled.

But this was a leisurely day, sort of. I had only one goal before leaving for Dublin (whence I am writing), and that was to see Tara. I don’t think the Dunsanys ever “owned” this supreme Irish heritage site (it figures more in Irish myth than in any known pre-Christian history), but I was shown one edge of their current land, as I peered from a Tara bookstore. In fact, I am requested to inform the lord of that manor (my new buddy) that his hedges need trimming. Once again, the morning was simply glorious, and I can only hope that the photographs reflect some of that green beauty I saw so much this morning.

Dublin is a short drive from Dunsany. I think I lucked into a good time to enter Dublin (early Sunday afternoon). As I was walking around my new neighborhood a while ago, I saw an electronic sign on what must be a commuter passageway that notes the current number of parking space vacancies in the city (by location). I’ve got one, and I’m not giving it up until I leave.

Speaking of Dublin, I saw in the paper this morning that Aer Lingus (my carrier to and from Ireland) is not going to be allowed financial help from the Irish government. In fact, this EU judgment appeared to include restrictions on the flights that can be flown from the US and Europe, and my Shannon route is going to disappear. Two others have already been cancelled. The EU decision also includes a warning about governments attempting to keep flag carriers aloft. I guess that means that Aer Lingus will eventually dissolve and become part of some more successful airline. Going only to Dublin.

Few impressions of Dublin so far. It’s been raining almost continually since I got here, and the city appears to close down rather more on Sundays than other places I’ve been. Other signs of the strong Catholic influence are a simply amazing number of young mothers. And I’ve seen that throughout Ireland. Too often in my country those young mothers are all by themselves, but here most seem to be married.

Dublin (or, at least, the few parts I’ve seen on my walk) is undergoing an incredible amount of construction. Although more than one tourist destination has remarked upon the sad effect of the recent tragedy on world travel, whatever in this country doesn’t depend upon that kind of business certainly appears to be doing well. County Meath (where Dunsany is located) looked very prosperous, even though it’s nearly all farms. Again, no visible crops but lots of grassland, which means hay, I guess.

Tomorrow, everything should be open, and I’ll have a better look at Dublin’s city center. My only cultural goal while here is to attend the Abbey Theater. This is Theater week (or month) in Dublin, so we’ll see whether I can get a seat....

Tara, County Meath

Okay, okay—it’s just grass. But you’ve never seen grass pictures this good.
The idea of Tara always runs the danger of being spoiled by its New Age associations, but here we get down to the green basics.

Quite seriously, Mr. Slavin’s book on Tara makes sense of it all, and describes and illustrates the history and myth of the place. Very Old Age.

“…like many an Irish mind, hers was stored with legends of kings at the head of the table in the long hall at Tara, which with her were as good as memories.”  (Mona Sheehy, Lord Dunsany)