Recently I took a day off and the Princess and I explored the delights of Dublin.
I took her for a bun (queen of tarts), then to Marsh’s library (where she was allowed to write with a quill and elderly Protestant ladies smiled at her with unmerited indulgence), then to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where she chanced her arm, then to Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street where I brought her two books and then to Milano’s for lunch. I am the best mother in the world. While I am writing of the joys Dublin has to offer residents and tourists, can I mention that we went on the Viking Splash again recently and it was very successful. The best bit is roaring at innocent passers-by. I am not making this up.
Temple Bar is Dublin’s “cultural quarter” (insert hollow laugh and any number of pubs here) and is almost entirely filled with tourists. Irish people do not go to Temple Bar except as a short cut to elsewhere. However, we were lured into Temple Bar recently for a free outdoor circus. As it was bucketing rain, we also took in Temple Bar’s “The Ark“, a cultural centre for children which, if you ask me, is a bit dull. As well as not going to Temple Bar, Irish people do not wear raincoats either (bear with me, I have a point). They are a sign of weakness. On looking out at the weather, the normal Irish reaction is either “it’s definitely clearing” or “it will hold off”. Regular readers (she said hopefully) and relatives will be aware that my husband was born in Canada and this can out in his use of rain gear. We were wandering around Temple Bar in the rain looking for the outdoor circus (found, incidentally, and, because it was in Dublin, pictured in the Irish Times subsequently) and the children and Mr. Waffle were all bundled up in their rain gear. As a proper Irish person, I was soaking in my non-waterproof summer coat. A Polish woman with leaflets approached us encouraging us to go for the early bird special in La Caverna. As she wasn’t a native English speaker, she couldn’t tell we were Irish by our accents. It is odd to be treated as a tourist at home but clearly, her instincts were spot on, wandering Temple Bar in rain coats, we could only be tourists.