Dublin, Ireland and Dogs

by Mary Haight on March 28, 2009

Trinity College, Dublin
Image by marco83 via Flickr


From the Berkeley Hotel, Dublin, Ireland, March 28

As I sit here thinking about what I’ve seen, and what I haven’t seen in Dublin, getting ready for the next two workshops and final plenary session of the conference in Galway, I’m pondering the similarities between here and home. 

Dublin is a very easy going and informal place and people will stop and talk to you and share the things they love most about their city, as if you were family from afar.  Mention any ancestral connection and they’ll impart at least five minutes of knowledge about the place your great grandmother came from. 

I had a 20-minute conversation with a stranger about his theory of how Mayor Daley’s power extends far beyond Chicago, and of course he had to know where my ancestors came from, remarking on the logic of the Danish Viking/Irish Celt marriage and that strangely paired with the self-contained Finnish background. 

It’s odd how I, and others I know, go about our days at home, self-contained, saying hello to neighbors, maybe, but more often keeping to ourselves.  On reflection, I see this changing a little with the bad economy–people sharing more than “hello” with strangers.  I’m thinking that the Dubliners I’ve met have taught even me–the ultimate introvert– that this is a good thing!

And on another Dublin note or two:

It’s really odd and more than a little disconcerting that I haven’t seen more than four dogs in as many days(two bully breeds, one Norwich terrier, and a true mutt)…what’s up with that? Perhaps all dogs stay in neighborhoods and don’t get out much in the city! 

The above photo is Trinity College(Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath if you speak Gallic, as everyone here does), founded in 1592, where you can see one of Ireland’s national treasures, the Book of Kells, in the library.  This is an illuminated manuscript containing the four gospels of the New Testament as transcribed by Celtic Monks around the year 800, and is an incredibly beautiful work of calligraphy.

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