Ireland day 0167. Monday 14 March 2022- Miscellany
Now that we have got the car, and more to the point successfully managed to get it taxed and insured, we have to start the process of exchanging our UK driving licences for Irish ones – again. We had a false start late last year but for a variety of reasons postponed the process. But I thought I would check once again whether it would be possible to keep our UK licences as well as applying for Irish ones. I had briefly toyed with this idea a few weeks ago but dismissed it on the grounds that the process was inordinately complicated. But I thought – maybe in the weeks since I last looked, the post-Brexit world might have settled down a bit and maybe the process would be a bit easier.
So as I was in Dublin today anyway, I thought I would drop into Easons book shop on O’Connell street and read up about the process for getting an Irish driving licence in the official NDLS handbook. One look at the fourteen stage flow-chart explaining how to do it was enough to convince me immediately that although things might have become clearer, they certainly hadn’t become any easier.
From the look of it, I think that I probably could apply for an Irish licence and keep my UK one as well (though I am not actually certain it would be legal to do so), but the process would involve having driving lessons, taking a compulsory twelve stage driving course, and not being able to drive on my own for at least six months. It was a useful thought-experiment but a complete non-starter in the real world. So as soon as Val gets back (tomorrow) we will re-start the exchange process. Which will kick-off with getting our eye tests done – yet again. I must admit I am glad I am not in the habit of regularly moving country because I think if I was the bureaucracy would probably drive me completely round the bend.
The reason why I was in Dublin was primarily social. My friends from France were still on their visit here so we arranged to meet up mid-morning and have a look round the Treaty Exhibition in the old coach house by the Dubh Linn garden. It’s the second time I’ve been, but it was definitely a worthwhile repeat visit, as I picked up lots of interesting information that I had missed the first time around. We spent almost an hour looking at the Treaty, then hopped over to the nearby Chester Beatty gallery for a look around and then lunch.
A bit like the Treaty exhibition, I’d been to the Chester Beatty once before but still found the second visit interesting. For one thing, the secluded garden on the roof, which was closed last time, had reopened, and it was a bit of a hidden gem. And for another, I took the time to look around the “Meeting in Isfahan – Vision and Exchange in Safavid Iran” exhibition, which I had previously missed. It was all very interesting, but a bit heavy going and I didn’t really know where to start to get the most out of it.
I won’t write up the Treaty and Chester Beatty visits here as I’ve gone on about both of them before and don’t want to bore everyone to death
After lunch, we said our farewells and I headed off to try and buy a map in Dubray bookshop in Grafton St – no luck but I did manage to download an electronic version so all was not lost. I ended up my rather miscellaneous day by having a wander around the rather lovely and fascinating Merrion Square, just behind Leinster House. It’s a large, smart, square a bit like Grosvenor Square in London, and plays host to some impressive statuary and also a fascinating sculpture garden dedicated to Oscar Wilde. Some of his best-known quotes are carved in the plinths, including the one about people being brilliant at breakfast, which I could fully relate to.
And by the way – readers may recall from a blog a couple of weeks back that there is, strangely, no formal Catholic cathedral in Dublin. To rectify this situation, in 1930 the Catholic Church bought the land at Merrion Square with the intention of building a cathedral on the site. But it never happened and the area was preserved as a public park.
Well I think that’s quite enough for one day. From Driving Licences to Catholic Cathedrals – I am sure Oscar himself would have approved of today’s eclectic journey. I hope you’ve enjoyed it too!
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
(No map today as the walk was too short)