Ireland day 0167. Monday 14 March 2022- Miscellany

Ireland day 0167. Monday 14 March 2022- Miscellany
Today’s summary Went into Dublin in the morning to meet up with the friends who are still here on their visit from France.   Quick look round Treaty and Chester Beattie exhibitions then lunch.   Walked over to Merrion Square in afternoon to have a look round.
Today’s weather Damp and overcast in the morning, sunny and bright in afternoon.   Light westerly breeze.   About 7C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where I walked before lunch – afternoon walk not shown)
(No GPX download today as the walk was too short to merit it)

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)

Last time I had been to the Chester Beattie gallery, the roof garden was closed.   But today it had just reopened and it’s a nice oasis high up in the middle of Dublin.   There was nobody there apart from the security guard, so it was peaceful with brilliant views to the left, across the Dubh Linn garden The Chester Beattie had a special exhibition about 15th century Isfahan, in Safavid Iran.   It was quite interesting to have a look around, but to be honest I am having difficulty enough getting my head around the convolutions of Irish history and I suspect that of the Middle East is an order of magnitude more contorted.   So I looked at the pictures and read the words, but I’m afraid that not a lot actually sank in
Dubray’s bookshop in Grafton Street is a nice spot to spend a comfortable hour or so just browsing – which I did.   But I did wonder whether, if you were already surrounded by idiots, you would really want to buy another one, even if it were a half price bargain? Dawson Street is, in my unbiased opinion, one of the finest thoroughfares in Dublin.   And the Mansion House – seat of the Lord Mayor of Dublin’s office, is one of the finest buildings on it.   Although it’s a working government office, you can go on tours of the interior, but I didn’t have time to arrange anything today, unfortunately
Merrion Square – at the heart of one of the most prosperous suburbs of Dublin.   It’s named after the Fitzwilliams of Merrion, a powerful family that commissioned construction in the area in the mid 1700s.   The Fitzwilliams had lived in a castle in Merrion – a then-suburb of south Dublin.  The Fitzwilliams moved to Ireland from Yorkshire in about 1200.   Merrion castle was probably built by Thomas Bagod about 1330 and the Fitzwilliams moved in about a hundred years later.   How the suburb of Merrion got its name I don’t know, but it seems to have been in existence for the best part of a thousand years.   Curiously there is a Merrion Centre in Leeds, Yorkshire, but I don’t really know how that got its name either.
Because of its proximity to Leinster House and the seat of the Irish Government, “Merrion Street” is sometimes used as a general term for matters related to the Government, in a similar way that “Whitehall” in London is used to refer to British Government matters
The Jokers Chair in Merrion square.   It was commissioned in memory of Dermot Morgan, the actor who played Father Ted in the satirical TV show
Oscar Wilde looking a bit laid back in the corner of Merrion Square this afternoon.   He was born in a street close to this spot, and a year after he was born, his parents moved into no 1 Merrion Square – just across the road from his statue
Interactive map

(No map today as the walk was too short)

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