I think I will remember this summer a little different than the group Bagatelle, who released the song “Summer in Dublin” in 2018. The Liffey did not stink, rather it glistened in the evening twilight, and I did not receive any advice from drunken passengers on the public transportation.
Yet, their refrain has been stuck in my head since I returned from Ireland last month. Among many memories will be my college days at Trinity, both of them. What a unique experience.
During the crowded tourist season Trinity College rents out their dormitories to travelers for half of what you might pay for a hotel, and you are close to Temple Bar and many other tourist attractions within a mile’s walk. I spent two nights in a brand-new living space with a double bed and modern fixtures in the bathroom. I do not recall my Ohio State dormitory being half as nice.
I will also remember visiting “The Door of Reconciliation.” I wrote about it in my April column. I must have been overwhelmed by all the history in Dublin. It did not even dawn on me as I pointed out our proximity to St. Patrick’s Cathedral that I was actually going to come face to face with THE door. As we crossed the street to the cathedral and its adjacent courtyard, my friend pointed out that this was where the door resided.
I immediately became like a young boy about to meet his sports idol. Yes, of course I “chanced my arm” and put my hand through the door. Even though my friend and I were not at odds, he obliged me and shook hands for a picture.
It is amazing the treasures great and small that you will find waiting around the next corner. A short Google search and a few map directions later, we were in a Lidl grocery store. I thought it was to get his son some sustenance after walking all morning. No, it was to see Viking ruins buried beneath the store’s floor.
A thick acrylic flooring covered a pit where 11th century Norse ruins were found. This was believed to be a basement of a house. It consisted of local limestone and wooden planks just feet below the eggs and vegetable on the store shelves.
These were just the Dublin treasures. I have many more memories which will undoubtedly show up in the future, include the relics of St. Valentine. Yes, the guy who spawned a greeting card industry. That story and many more, including a stop “down at the pub” in Cong, will have to wait. (Over there, they pronounce it Co-han’s).
A More Troubled History
Judge Michael Mentel, who actually did attend Trinity College for a semester of legal studies, has authored a book researched from declassified documents related to the 1981 Hunger Strikes. Judge Mentel will be discussing his book on November 9 at the Shamrock Club in Columbus. See michaelcmentel.com for all the details and to order your copy of the book.
The book tells the story of the protest by ten men in H-Block of Long Kesh prison, who, as political prisoners, were denied basic human rights by the British government. Mentel also examines decisions made by the British leaders which caused the hunger strike, and their failed attempts to end the protests.
Having watched the recent PBS series, Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland, I look forward to hearing what went on behind the scenes during this time.
Around the City
Byrne’s Pub will be hosting their annual golf fundraiser on 10/8/2023. Proceeds benefit Crohn’s & Colitis Research. For more information, go to Byrne’s Pub Facebook page.
The Greater Columbus Irish Cultural Foundation will host their Fall Road Bowling Classic on 10/28/2023 at Deer Creek State Park. The event features teams of four bowlers competing to reach the end of a mile and a half course in the fewest number of bowls. If you have not seen Irish Road Bowling, look it up on YouTube and join us. You will not be sorry.
The Shamrock Club hosted their annual Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day event on 9/16/2023, featuring Columbus’ own Drowsy Lads. If there is a finer group out there right now, you would be hard pressed to find them. The Drowsy Lads got their start at the Shamrock Club over 15 years ago and are now a top act at many festivals across the Midwest. Check them out at thedrowsylads.com.
After a successful summer of cornhole and horse leagues outdoors, Shamrock Club activities will move indoors with Men’s, Women’s, and Co-Ed dart leagues. Stop down at the pub. Teams are often looking for players to fill in.
Find this column and others from the October 2023 issue here!