Thank you for Sandycove, a quiet and plush beach outside Dublin with two of my favourite quirky spots in Ireland- Joyce's Martello tower being the second. Forty Foot deserves a post all of its own, and yes, it is getting one!
Thank you for beaches to play on and rocks to climb and walks to be had in the warm evening after a smooth drive down fast roads. Thank you for PC who just decided that we would go, that we would all go, and that we would all go for the whole weekend, and it just sort of happened and was just sort of perfect!
Thank you for the sweeping beauty of coastline and waves and intrepid human spirit. thank you for people who swim in the sea, wetsuits or no! I so wanted to be one of them on Friday night!
Thank you for unexpected and never quite believed fabulous weather, for blue skies and sun-drenched dusk. That's the top of the tower just to the right of the tree. I've still never made it inside, though I've read those opening pages of Ulysses three times now- once for every time I've tried to read the book- yes, a post coming on that too!
Thank you for the National Museum- and for the fact that it's free to get in- a frugal post coming up on Dublin too...- and for the novelty of getting off the Luas at the front gate! Thank you that we found both sites, and persuaded the strawberries inside them as well! Thank you for the heritage that is Ireland's, that Anglo-Irish mix. Is it a Chinese blessing or curse to live in interesting times?
Thank you for Molly Malone, and Trinity and Grafton Street and bikes and crowds and bustle and street performers and flower sellers and sun!
Oh thank you for two days of pure, unadulterated hot sun and blue skies and basking opportunities in St Stephen's Green. Thank you that we did think to buy suncream on the way down, and that we did pack sunhats- untouched in three years! If that was our Irish summer, thank you nonetheless!
And the rugby- well, thanks for an interesting experience! I have now learnt all sorts of chants though the "Are you Clancy in disguise?" one seemed a bit unfair to Clancy (apparently a linesman who does occasional and ineffective stints as a referee) because even I could see how rubbish the referee games official was!
Thank you for the hilarious crowds and the atmosphere and the craic! Thank you for the two hilarious Leinster supporters who talked to us all the way there on the bus. They were right to commiserate with us in advance!
Thank you for dry weather all through the day, as that terrace would have been no fun with two strawberries under a deluge! Thank you for that blue sky into which the Stiletto in the GhettoSpire of Dublin seems to disappear. Thank you for how long we all stood with chins in the air. I thought the Garda would come and move us on, as they did with the skateboarders!
Thank you as always for Dublin Zoo. It's flat. No hill to climb- not that Belfast Zoo can do much about its mountain, I suppose! And it's gorgeous. And there are playparks and ice-cream kiosks and shady benches everywhere! And lots and lots of feeding sessions.
But finding out that Africa Day was happening in the same place on the same day, well, that was a bonus. And that was interesting! So much celebration of diversity and community and identity. So much music and colour and kindness of strangers.
I think there would be a lot to learn on the subject of kindness in the whole field of identity and culture and community and flags.
And speaking of kindness, thank you for Ang of Tracing Rainbows. Thank you for her great concern, and kindness, and thoughtfulness, and sheer generosity. Their Great Stash really does have the perfect solution for every dilemma- even my virtual reading one! I can get further than the second page of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry now. It really has been a time of unlikely pilgrimages for me over the last week or so. Thank you for that. Let's see where they go!