Monday, 8 October 2001
Irish for a night.
One of the goals I had for this trip was to attend the Abbey Theater. This is a playhouse begun by Yeats and his patron, Lady Gregory, just after 1910, I think. At a social gathering once, Yeats dared Lord Dunsany (who had just published his first book of stories) to write a play. Dunsany took the dare, and the “The Glittering Gate” was presented as a one-act opening play sometime in the first year of the Abbey’s existence.
It’s not the same physical structure Yeats and Dunsany knew (that burned down in the early 1950s), but is a nice theater of an excellent size for plays (i.e., not too big). Tonight’s play (“Whistle in the Dark” by Tom Murphy) was a play by an Irish playwright for an Irish audience about being Irish. A wonderful play, and excellently acted. As I left, I found myself whistling and singing Irish songs (having, of course, to make them up on the spot), and I walked down O’Connell street to the quay streets and home. *
Before that, it was mostly a book shopping spree, but I did ride one of the double-decker tour buses (before the inevitable afternoon rain) for a while. The Guinness factory takes up more area of Dublin than most towns in Ireland are large.
Tomorrow, I’ll see about shipping all these books home. I was already max’d on luggage (with my laptop and photo equipment), so I hope the post office has a box big enough...
I took these pictures within a very few blocks of my central downtown hotel (The Harding), which is to say Dublin proper (it’s not all that big). In addition to general street scenes, the sites include Dublin Castle (now, city offices) and Trinity College (yes, I saw the Book of Kells).
Guides tell us tourists that in the home of the Irish president (the last picture) a light is kept burning as a sign to all those of Irish heritage that they’re welcome home at any time. With the name ‘Michael’, I’m automatically Irish, but I didn’t drop in and see whether Mom had an extra cup of tea. Still, I know where it is…