The rest of our time in Dublin went so fast, meeting up with friends on Saturday for a fabulous lunch at Matt the Threshers, just around the corner from our gorgeous hotel, so many delicious flavours – Dublin Bay prawns or dressed crab salad to mention only two! Somehow lunch morphed into dinner, with drinks at the Shelbourne first. Dinner was organised for the Fade Street Social, a gastro pub with a tapas style menu, sharing plates of traditional Irish food – a great concept! Back to the fire at the Merrion hotel for a small Irish whisky before retiring!
On Sunday we thought it might be a good idea to walk off all the food from Saturday and in anticipation of the upcoming lunches and dinners as part of the meeting Michael was attending! So a few of us set off on the Dart, away from the centre of Dublin which was bedecked in pink for the finish of the Gira Italia, heading for the seaside suburb, which is pronounced Dunleary but spelt Dun Laoghaire, for a walk along the famous pier. Windswept, wet and cold we headed onto Dalkey, had a walk around the town and down to the little harbour with very pretty Georgian houses and quite a selection of restaurants, our choice was the incongruously named Ouzo where we enjoyed another great meal. Back through the crowds at the end of the big race to get ready for our Black tie dinner after the first meeting for Michael and his colleagues.
Monday was a tourist day – the highlight for me was the Long Room in the library at Trinity College Dublin – I suspect it is the ultimate fantasy of any book lover with that wonderful smell of old books. The library is above the display of the Book of Kells – a beautiful book, containing the 4 Gospels, illustrated by Columban Monks from Iona, or maybe Kells, in 800 AD. It was extraordinary seeing such an exquisite old book, although the term old book hardly seems adequate.
We then were fortunate enough to be invited to one of the lectures at the meeting, given by the great-nephew of the second surgeon on the Titanic, he told the tale of the last few days of his great-uncle’s life. His description of Ellis Island was very moving, stories of families being broken up as either a parent or child were sent home if they were discovered to have a disease which might be a burden to the American purse – trachoma was common and tuberculosis came a close second as reasons to be rejected. After a while the US Government placed the burden of responsibility on the shipping companies who would be fined if those deemed inappropriate landed at Ellis Island. It sounded so inhumane but no more inhumane than the treatment of asylum seekers in Australia nowadays.
The Guinness factory, Simon’s weekend, Arrowsmith news and the beautiful spring green of Peterborough will have to wait for another day!