A Proper Vacation!

Saturday, 20 June 2015
I work a lot. I’m an early riser. I don’t take naps, as a general rule, because I have so much to get done. And even when I’m on vacation, I don’t slow down much. I’m a doer, it seems. (My father was the same way.)

We’d been “doing” quite a bit already, since my arrival on Thursday morning. But it finally caught up with me: after I lay down last night, I didn’t move (in spite of the rock-hard mattress) until 6am. Got up, visited, the loo, and drifted right back to sleep.

In other words, we had a proper lie-in! (Although we did go down to breakfast a little earlier than yesterday: eight o’clock rather than nine.) Gerry hadn’t slept at all during the night, so when we came back, he lay back down and tried to sleep while I worked. (Yes, I had a manuscript with me.) But it was just stuffy enough in the room that I got sleepy, unbearably so, and couldn’t keep my eyes open. So I lay down and we both slept.

Now that’s a vacation! Sleep!

One of my goals for this visit was to do the sort of things I do at home—meet up with friends for lunch, for example. So I’d planned some things like that. Today we were meeting Gerry’s niece, Orla, and her gentleman friend, Conor, for late lunch, 3pm, at Farm, about five minutes’ walk from the hotel.

So we set off up Leeson Street.

These city townhouses don’t have much in the way of a “front yard”—but they certainly make a lot of what space they do have.

These city townhouses don’t have much in the way of a “front yard”—but they certainly make a lot of what space they do have.

One way to do that is to make an inviting front door—and you know that’s a thing with me. I was going nuts photographing lovely front doors.

How often do you see a pink door, really? And yet here are two of them!

How often do you see a pink door, really? And yet here are two of them!

The doors of Dublin are hard for me to resist. I love this yellow.

The doors of Dublin are hard for me to resist. I love this yellow.

People in Dublin aren’t afraid of a little color!

People in Dublin aren’t afraid of a little color!

Another irresistible Dublin door.

Another irresistible Dublin door.

For two days, now, we’d been looking at the spire of a church one street over from ours. And finally we were going to walk by it.

At last the church and its spire came into view.

At last the church and its spire came into view.

As I was researching this particular church building—the sign out front proclaims CHRIST CHURCH • LEESON PARK—I learned several interesting things. I’d never heard the phrase Anglo-Catholic, for example. It refers to certain congregations of the [Anglican] Church of Ireland (which arose, of course, when Henry VIII of England broke with the pope in Rome in the 1500s). Wikipedia says:

The Church of Ireland is a Christian church in Ireland and an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church is organised on an all-Ireland basis and is the second-largest Christian denomination on the island after Roman Catholicism. Like other Anglican churches, it has retained elements of pre-Reformation practice, notably its episcopal polity, while rejecting the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. Nevertheless, in theological and liturgical matters, it incorporates many principles of the Reformation, in particular the English Reformation. The church identifies as both Catholic and Reformed. Within the church, differences exist between those members who are more Catholic-leaning (high church) and those who are more Protestant-leaning (low church or evangelical). For historical and cultural reasons, the Church of Ireland is generally identified as a Protestant church.

Thus the high church–leaning congregations are often called Anglo-Catholic. Wikipedia further clarifies that:

When the Church of England broke communion with the Holy See, all but two of the bishops of the church in Ireland followed the Church of England, although almost no other clergy did so. The church then became the established church of Ireland, assuming possession of most church property. … [But] In Ireland, the substantial majority of the population continued to adhere to Roman Catholicism, despite the political and economic advantages of membership in the state church.

This was like discovering a missing link for me—and all because I wanted to get a little information about this church on Leeson Street. But there’s actually more—explained again by Wikipedia:

The Church of Ireland experienced major decline during the 20th century, both in Northern Ireland, where around 65% of its members live, and in the Republic of Ireland which contains upwards of 35%. However, the Church of Ireland in the Republic has shown substantial growth in the last two national censuses; its membership is now back to the levels of sixty years ago (albeit with fewer churches as many have been closed).

In fact, the Anglican congregation here at Leeson Park has merged into St. Batholomew’s (on Wellington Road in Ballsbridge), and in 2013 was only offering a Wednesday service. According to the sign out front (I photographed it), the main church offers Sunday services for both the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Methodist Centenary Church.

The trouble with photographing large buildings, of course, is you have to hike away from it in order to take it all in (not always easy in a city). Then you lose details—and those are the very things that interest me. For example, I loved the play of afternoon light on this lime-green tree, and the way it popped against the gray stone, both color and texture.

Tree and stone.

Tree and stone.

The church building is right across the street from the restaurant, and while I was busy zooming in and out, here came Orla and Conor. Gerry had met Conor already, but it was a first for me, and I was delighted to discover he is warm, welcoming, and friendly—I like that in a man—as well as smart, aware of current events and their meaning in the broader scope of the world, and a good conversationalist.

Gerry took this one of Conor, me, and Orla.

Gerry took this one of Conor, me, and Orla.

After our leisurely lunch, Gerry and I walked back to the hotel so I could work a little.

It had also become apparent that I was having a foot problem—swelling ankles and feet, with lots of pain. I’d had a similar reaction when I was here in May 2013; it lasted for most of the trip. Frankly, it was beginning to worry me: foot pain can suck the joy right out of a vacation. So … research. And as it turns out, it’s the flying that’s bringing it on, though age, with its attendant problems of lack of muscle tone and slowly falling arches, doesn’t help. (I know all this now, though not soon enough. I’ve got some exercises I’m working on.) My in-the-moment solution was to look for a massage therapist in the Portmarnock area, where we’d be headed on Monday. But first, we had a very easy Sunday in store. 🙂

 

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