A Visit to Dublin

Monument of Light
Image: Rory MacFlynn

The last time I was in Dublin about three years ago, I didn’t notice the above spire. I’m not sure why as it is 120 metres tall and soars into the sky; one can just barely see the top. It stands opposite the General Post Office (GPO) on O’Connell St. where I went to see a relatively recent permanent exhibition on the Easter Uprising in 1916. Since the GPO was the centre of the uprising, it made it more real being within the building where the battle started and a perfect location for the exhibit. Somehow, seeing the spire just outside seemed a fitting symbol of a nation rising against oppression. It stands on the site where Nelsons column once stood and was blown up by the IRA in 1966. After that, a reclining statue of Anna Livia sitting on a slope, with water flowing past her to represent the River Liffey, was installed which Dubliners quickly referred to asThe Floozie in the Jacuzzi.

I didn’t spend a lot of time sightseeing during my week there as my main goal was to catch up with as many friends as possible both in Belfast as well as in Dublin so I spent most of my time eating and drinking, Guinness of course!

I lived in Dublin for many years but the city has changed considerably since I lived there. One expects to see restorations and new buildings but I was taken aback and charmed by this building which I came across by accident and which I had never noticed before although it was certainly there during my time.

It’s the building occupied by the oldest charity in the city of Dublin who used it from 1855 to 1992. As you can see from the writing across the front, the charity is the Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Society established in 1790 to relieve the poverty which pervaded the city at that time. Unable to work and ashamed to beg, many people died from poverty in garrets and cellars. It was to help these people living in a particular part of the city, that the society was formed. The charity still exists and helps people who are experiencing temporary difficulties and need one time assistance to get back on their feet. I love the name of the Society.

Dublin was very festive coming up to Christmas with streets and shop windows beautifully decorated, much more so than Rome. However, today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and marks the start of the Christmas season here.

It happens to be the feast day of the neighbourhood I live in and there was the annual procession on our hill. I went to catch a bus at the bottom of the hill this afternoon and bumped into it as it came along the main road for a short stretch before going back up the hill again. People wait until today to put out their decorations and the Christmas lights in the streets will be turned on tonight.  The shopping has already begun.

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