Ireland day 0224. Tuesday 10 May 2022- MoLI
(Before anyone asks what on earth I am doing posting a picture of an apparently homeless person in the banner image to this blog – read on. It is not what it seems!).
Val and I have been invited to an important wedding in a few months time and this has precipitated all manner of concern in the XX chromosome section of the Dawson household. Particularly in the matter of the most appropriate clothing. So far as I am concerned, so long as I am wearing a decent suit and don’t look too fat, I will be fine. It’s something that can be sorted out a couple of weeks before the wedding. But that is not an approach that is being taken universally over here. Rather, the choice of dress – and indeed of what goes under it – is a matter of great concern.
So today I had been persuaded that we needed to spend the day in Dublin starting to examine suitable options, even though the event itself is still, what seems to me, an extremely long time away. There are a couple of good department stores that Val wanted to try – Brown Thomas on Grafton Street, and Arnotts just off O’Connell Street. We thought we would head to Grafton Street first and if had no luck there, head north over the river to see what Arnotts could offer. But as we were googling the best way to get there, we noticed an unusual icon marked “MoLI” on the map. Curious to know more, we clicked on the icon and discovered that it was the Museum of Literature, that it was highly-rated, and that it was just around the corner from Grafton Street, on St Stephens Green.
So we thought we would just pop in to the museum to have a quick look round first, then perhaps have a quick cup of coffee in the café, and then resume our journey to the shops. Needless to say, things didn’t work out like that. As soon as we got to the museum, we realised that this was a place not to be rushed. Not just because it was expensive to get in (though somehow or other we managed to negotiate a student discount – for the second time in three days!). But because it was an absolutely lovely building with an absolutely lovely café with an absolutely lovely garden and and on an absolutely lovely day like today we decided that it would be a shame not to linger and make the most of it.
The building housing the museum is itself is worth a visit just to see the quality of the restoration and the excellence of the galleries. It was originally constructed around 1878 and is on the south side of St Stephen’s Green. Nowadays the museum is jointly owned by the National Library of Ireland and University College Dublin and it was opened in September 2019 (only to close promptly afterwards, presumably, because of the pandemic).
First though, it being late morning, we went to the café and got something to drink. By the time we’d had that, we were both feeling inexplicably hungry, so we decided to stay in the café a bit longer and have lunch. Then, while the sun was shining, we decided to have a quick look round the museum’s garden. It’s really pretty – an oasis of calm in a bustling city – and accessible through a gate in the wall from adjacent Iveagh Gardens (also definitely worth a visit), if you know where to look. With today’s bright blue skies and vivid green trees, it was looking particularly charming.
By that time, it was getting on to mid afternoon and while Val wanted to linger in the galleries featuring James Joyce and other Irish literary greats, I just had a quick look through then returned to the garden for a very enjoyable and stimulating video call to one of my friends in Houston. After an hour chewing the fat on every topic under the sun, from mangrove swamps to the merits of MBAs, I rejoined Val in the gallery. Together, we watched a really enjoyable short film about the poet Pat Ingoldsby – which had a special resonance for us as he was born in Malahide.
I’m not really a fan of poetry as I usually can’t understand it, but his works are simple, accessible and entertaining. So much so, in fact, that Val bought me a book of some of his best known pieces. This is where the banner image comes in – it is a still from the film – showing Ingoldsby in action, selling his books from just outside the Bank of Ireland on College Green. He self-publishes and judging from his publicity material (“Get one now before I’m dead and famous“), is clearly quite a character.
After all this, it was gone 5pm and clearly far too late to go clothes shopping. I was tempted to let out a sigh of relief when we jointly came to this realisation, but thought it might be unwise to do so, and kept my mouth shut.
On return to Malahide, I uncovered another exciting surprise from the postman – my new Irish driving licence! Hooray – a rather tense three week wait safely concluded. But on a slightly less positive note, I discovered that my new credit card doesn’t actually work, so doubtless another protracted call to the bank will be needed to sort it out. So I’d call it a score draw on the progress department, but definitely a one-nil win for culture v. shopping!
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
(No map today)