Lazy Dublin Sunday

Sunday, 21 June 2015
It’s not oversleeping when you’re on vacation, right? I didn’t even stir until 8:30am, which is really late for me. We staggered down to breakfast, then came back up and showered and got ready for the day. And—more of my proper vacation—my sweet Orla called and we set up a date for a mid-afternoon brunch later today.

In the meantime, Gerry and I cabbed up to the National Concert Hall. I find it fascinating that this gorgeous building was originally built for the 1865 Dublin International Exhibition of Arts and Manufactures—a world’s fair! Some of the most interesting structures in the world today were built to house something for some Exhibition or Exposition, many of them from the Victorian era (think: Paris’s Eiffel Tower, Nashville’s replica of the Parthenon, Chicago’s Art Institute of Chicago … just to name three).

This is only the center hall. It actually takes up most of the block along Earlsfort Terrace.

This is only the center hall. It actually takes up most of the block along Earlsfort Terrace.

The building belonged to University College Dublin from 1908, but in 1981 it became the National Concert Hall.

I think it’s lovely. And the gate … look closely.

I think it’s lovely. And the gate … look closely.

When I saw this, I was truly sorry I wasn’t going to be in Dublin all summer. Beethoven, I must tell you, was my first celebrity crush. I fell in love with him when I was about eight years old and never fell out. :)

When I saw this, I was truly sorry I wasn’t going to be in Dublin all summer. Beethoven, I must tell you, was my first celebrity crush. I fell in love with him when I was about eight years old and never fell out. 🙂

But what, you might ask, were we doing loitering outside the NCH on a quiet Sunday morning? I’ll tell you. I’ve been slowly getting around to many of Dublin’s green spaces (not all—that would take the rest of my lifetime, and I have other cities and countries to see) and I’ve had the Iveagh Gardens on my list since 2012 but it just hasn’t happened. So Gerry made it happen. 🙂

Had I looked for the garden on my own, I never would have found it; it’s known as Dublin’s Secret Garden for a good reason. We walked along the front of the National Concert Hall, ducked under the arm of the gate leading to the stage door, passed through the parking lot, slipped past the trash bins … What’s that?

It’s a hole in that twenty-foot wall. The sign above it reads Iveagh Gardens in Irish and English. (Click and you can zoom in.)

It’s a hole in that twenty-foot wall. The sign above it reads Iveagh Gardens in Irish and English. (Click and you can zoom in.)

It looks like something out of a fairy tale. Will you dare to go in?

It looks like something out of a fairy tale. Will you dare to go in?

If you are lucky enough to locate a door to the Iveagh Gardens, you should definitely go in.

If you are lucky enough to locate a door to the Iveagh Gardens, you should definitely go in.

There are only three gates. The garden is completely walled. You won’t wander by it by accident—you’ll have to look for it, and know what you’re looking for.

Designated as a National Historic Property, the garden has a complicated history (which you can read here), but the green space as we know it now was designed in 1865 at the expense of Benjamin Lee Guinness, who acquired the land to act as a garden for his town house mansion.

Step through the hedgerow and prepare to be wowed.

Step through the hedgerow and prepare to be wowed.

These matching, facing fountains are magnificent.

These matching, facing fountains are magnificent.

Just gorgeous.

Just gorgeous.

We just about had the place to ourselves. We sat on a bench and just enjoyed the sun and the quiet.

The garden is described as “an intermediate design between the French Formal and the English Landscape styles.” The fountains set in the wide expanse of lawn are clearly the French Formal.

This is the English Landscape style, with deliberate plantings intended to seem like nature, with the sunken lawn. (None of these buildings have access to the garden, btw.)

This is the English Landscape style, with deliberate plantings intended to seem like nature, with the sunken lawn. (None of these buildings have access to the garden, btw.)

For awhile we walked all the paths, seeing what there was to see.

This is the Clonmel Street entrance. I don’t know whose back garden that is, but it opens right into Iveagh Gardens!

This is the Clonmel Street entrance. I don’t know whose back garden that is, but it also opens right into Iveagh Gardens!

This is the gate to a little grotto just beside the waterfall.

This is the gate to a little grotto just beside the waterfall.

Statuary is scattered around, but not too much. It’s understanded, for a Victorian garden.

Statuary is scattered around, but not too much. It’s understanded, for a Victorian garden.

But wait—what’s that?

See the metal arches in the distance? (I have no idea what the glass building is; it’s outside the garden.)

See the metal arches in the distance? (I have no idea what the glass building is; it’s outside the garden.)

It’s another garden, a garden within the garden!

It’s another garden, a garden within the garden!

The Rosarium—it’s a little jewel box!

The Rosarium—it’s a little jewel box!

So we sat in the rose garden for awhile.

In the Iveagh Gardens, June 2015.

In the Iveagh Gardens, June 2015.

These are old-fashioned rose bushes that pre-date 1865.

I was charmed by every single thing in the rosarium.

I was charmed by every single thing in the rosarium.

Just look at these beautiful old roses!

Just look at these beautiful old roses! How delicate they are …

This is the third gate—the entrance on Hatch Street Upper, near the Rosarium.

This is the third gate—the entrance on Hatch Street Upper, near the Rosarium.

We retraced our steps, exiting the same way we came in, and then walked across the big park and around to the Little Museum of Dublin, which is right on the other side of Stephen’s Green.

C’mon in to the Little Museum of Dublin!

C’mon in to the Little Museum of Dublin!

It’s what they call a people’s museum—much of what is displayed in the eighteenth-century Georgian townhouse was donated or loaned by Dubliners. It’s an interesting way to put together an exhibit, not always coherent but a lot to look at. The tour, though, is for the tourists. Too silly for Gerry, who lost patience quickly. So when they moved on, we ditched the tour.

You’ll know why this one appealed to me. :)

You’ll know why this one appealed to me. 🙂

This would be the rock-and-roll room. :)

This would be the rock-and-roll room. 🙂

Looking out at Stephen’s Green across the street, I saw this: a temporary housing for equipment used on street work … decorated with a full-size W. B. Yeats poster. Seriously—only in Ireland.

Looking out at Stephen’s Green across the street, I saw this: a temporary housing for equipment used on street work … decorated with a full-size W. B. Yeats poster. Seriously—only in Ireland.

Most recently the Little Museum purchased an archive of work by Christy Brown, the mid-century Irish artist, writer, poet who had cerebral palsy. You know him from his memoir, My Left Foot.

After the museum, we walked down past the Shelbourne Hotel to something I’d noticed the day before. It’s the sort of thing most people walk by and don’t even notice, but there it is, just a few steps from St. Stephen’s Green—the Huguenot Cemetery (here’s a bird’s-eye view).

Just this little oasis, dwarfed in the big city. And no one paying much attention.

Just this little oasis, dwarfed in the big city. And no one paying much attention.

Huguenots were French Protestants inspired by the writings of John Calvin, who fell under the hostility of the Catholic Church in the 1600s. More than half a million fled France, looking for religious freedom; some were encouraged to settle in Ireland by James Butler, Duke of Ormonde. Wikipedia says,

The Huguenots quickly established a thriving community in Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland based on their skills in textiles, watchmaking and finance. Within a short time they had become an integral part of the commercial and civic life of Dublin.

They were welcomed. They married Irish folk. They integrated themselves into local society (read more here). Eventually they needed a cemetery. There are 239 family names inscribed on a plaque here, though I can’t imagine all of them having a member buried here.

Established in 1693, it was restored in the 1970s and is now cared for by the city. The gates are locked. I did what I could through the bars.

Notice the 300-year-old difference in the accepted spelling of Huguenot.

Notice the 300-year-old difference in the accepted spelling of Huguenot.

It looked like it was a little overdue for a cleanup crew.

It looked like it was a little overdue for a cleanup crew.

The little door in the back probably once let out into an alley. Now there’s a building there.

The little door in the back probably once let out into an alley. Now there’s a building there.

When we got back to the hotel, Gerry settled down to watch a game, and I called Orla, who came and picked me up. She lives in Ranelagh, a residential area now—but it was once a village just outside Dublin. It is—ahem—a very tony place. (Just how tony? Have a look at this realtor’s listing.)

“I want to show you something,” she said. “I think you’ll like it.” I’ve known this beautiful woman since she was a teenager, and—my heart swells as I type this—she does know me, and knows exactly what I’d like to see.

She took me to Dartmouth Square. It’s a green space, a park, surrounded by Victorian-era townhomes.

Victorian townhouses on Dartmouth Square. These are in the range of 1+ million euro.

Victorian townhouses on Dartmouth Square. These sell in the range of 1+ million euro nowadays.

The park itself is spacious.

This little bower bisects the park. There’s a gate on each end.

This little bower bisects the park. There’s a gate on each end.

Standing in the bower looking west. What a beautiful space! And they have yoga here twice a week!

Standing in the bower looking west. What a beautiful space! And they have yoga here twice a week!

While we stood just inside the gate, two beautiful unleashed dogs rushed up the outside sidewalk and very clearly intended to come in. Orla and I looked at each other; what should we do? And about that moment their owner caught up and all three came in together. The dogs were very glad to be at their park.

Two beautiful dogs … the larger one was carrying the stick and trying to keep it away from the smaller, younger dog, who kept catching up and grabbing hold.

Two beautiful dogs … the larger one was carrying the stick and trying to keep it away from the smaller, younger dog, who kept catching up and grabbing hold.

From here we went to Orla’s place, parked, and walked into the village. And we walked through yet another green space—Ranelagh Gardens! (Her street dead-ends at the park. Very convenient!) Here’s an overhead view.

Stepping into Ranelagh Gardens.

Stepping into Ranelagh Gardens.

The Dublin City Public Library has this to say about this history of the park:

This small park is all that is left of the five acres of pleasure gardens which were created in 1775. Called after Lord Ranelagh, the intention was to copy the gardens of the same name in London. Richard Crosbie launched the first hot air balloon in Ireland from here in 1785. In the 19th century the gardens became part of the grounds of a religious order, but in the 1980s the gardens were again opened up to the public, albeit on a much smaller scale.

It was very peaceful on Sunday afternoon. The sleeping ducks didn’t even move as we walked by.

It was very peaceful on Sunday afternoon. The sleeping ducks didn’t even move as we walked by.

We were on our way to Cinnamon, a popular coffee house / restaurant right on Main Street in Ranelagh Village. It was crowded and had just the sort of ambience (noisy but not too noisy) for a pair of girlfriends to work their way through a pot of tea, brunch, and all the problems of the world. The chat was especially nice. 🙂

Afterward we walked back through the village and garden, had another cup of tea at Orla’s place, and then she brought me back to the hotel. As we pulled up I realized we hadn’t taken a photograph together.

Problem solved. :)

Problem solved. 🙂

For the rest of the evening Gerry and I laid around, reading, working, watching TV. It was the perfect finish to a lazy Sunday.

Getting My Feet Under Me: Second Day in Dublin

Friday, 19 June 2015
I mentioned the heat, right? I was awake at 1am and had trouble dropping back off … still awake at 4am, still trying hard to go back to sleep. That’s not like me; I’m a good sleeper, usually. But the heat coupled with an uncomfortable bed made it hard. Thought about getting up and starting to type up my notes but I really wanted to be asleep, dagnabbit. I dropped off right after I looked at my watch but was awake again at 5:30. So then I did get up to write:

It’s just so HOT. It’s only in the mid-60s outside but on the fourth floor of a building with no air conditioning (or fans) in the rooms, it becomes very stuffy very fast. I wonder how they keep Americans happy? I mean, I’m REALLY happy to be here and I’m still a bit cranky about the heat.

(Remember, later this day we’d run into an American couple in the elevator who were also grumpy about the heat, but by that time I was zen with it.)

After I wrote a few notes, I lay back down and finally, to my astonishment, fell sleep. Aaah. So we got a late start—but we had no agenda and nowhere to be. Sleep was the right thing to do. 🙂

When we went down to breakfast, the place was packed. Well, June is tourist season, and the place was hopping. I’ve become very used to my quiet house, and my quiet breakfasts watching the birds outside the window. I like to ease into my mornings.

Watching a mourning dove from the breakfast table at home.

Watching a mourning dove from the breakfast table at home.

The dining room at the Doubletree was the opposite of that. People everywhere. We had to be seated first, then we left our newspaper on the table to go through the buffet. When we came back, the Spaniards at the table next to us had just finished snatching our table and chairs to enlarge theirs. Well, good grief, my cranky, sleep-deprived self thought. And then: “Hey!” I said. “That’s our table!” They put it back. 🙂

After breakfast we decided to walk into town. This is the sight that greeted us every day just outside the hotel: colorful buildings and luxury cars.

It’s a car-rental agency, conveniently located near the Doubletree.

It’s a car-rental agency, conveniently located near the Doubletree.

We retraced more of our steps, crossing the canal at the Leeson Street Bridge.

View of the Grand Canal from the Leeson Street bridge, looking west.

View of the Grand Canal from the Leeson Street bridge, looking west.

Gerry pointed out that we were surrounded by quite a bit of Victorian-era architecture. And what in the world was that pipe business on the bridge?

It looks like something straight out of a steampunk novel.

It looks like something straight out of a steampunk novel.

But there was more Victoriana.

Here are some Victorian rowhouses …

Here are some Victorian rowhouses …

… but just across the street, Georgian-era rowhouses.

… but just across the street, Georgian-era rowhouses.

And on the opposite side of the street, Fitzwilliam Hall, a twentieth-century era office building. (I just thought it was pretty with the ivy.)

And on the opposite side of the street, Fitzwilliam Hall, a twentieth-century era office building. (I just thought it was pretty with the ivy.)

I took other photos for curiosity’s sake too.

The dogs caught my eye. As they would. This is House Dublin, a nightclub.

The dogs caught my eye. As they would. This is House Dublin, a nightclub. Remember, you can click on any photo to enlarge it.

We were headed to Stephen’s Green. As one does when one is in Dublin. I’d never gone through the Leeson Street gate—this is the beauty of a very large park: many things to see—so this was my first time to see the Three Fates, who spin and measure the thread of man’s destiny.

“With Gratitude for the help given to German children by the Irish people after World War II. —Roman Herzog, President of the Federal Republic of Germany”

“With Gratitude for the help given to German children by the Irish people after World War II. —Roman Herzog, President of the Federal Republic of Germany”

And then we rested. 🙂 (Well, I rested, and Gerry humored me.)

First official selfie. (Not my best angle, but I’m also not sure I have a good one.) Note we are wearing jackets.

First official selfie. (Not my best angle, but I’m not sure I have a good one.) Note we are wearing jackets.

We strolled through the park, and I took a zillion photos.

“Spring” was bustin’ out all over.

“Spring” was bustin’ out all over.

The pond is a popular place for humans and … seabirds. Just after this a huge swan landed right there. His wings flapping sounded like the blades of a helicopter: whup, whup, whup …

The pond is a popular place for humans and … seabirds. Just after I took this a huge swan landed right … there. His flapping wings sounded like the blades of a helicopter: whup, whup, whup

A pretty view of the pond from the bridge.

A pretty view of the pond from the bridge.

One of these days I’ll map the park and see (and photograph) everything at once. But for now, we were headed to the Fusiliers’ Arch, which is the Grafton Street entrance to the park. I don’t know how I’d missed it before.

It’s lovely. Fusiliers’ Arch, Dublin, 2015.

It’s lovely. Fusiliers’ Arch, Dublin, 2015.

The Royal Dublin Fusiliers—an Irish infantry regiment of the British Army—was active from 1881 to 1922. Forty-one years. During that time the regiment distinguished itself in the Second Boer War and also in World War One.

Funded by public subscription, the arch was erected in 1907 to memorialize the officers, noncommissioned officers, and enlisted men of the Royal Rublin Fusiliers who fought and died in the Second Boer War. And although some nationalists nicknamed the monument Traitor’s Gate, it should be noted that this memorial is “one of the few colonialist monuments in Dublin not blown up” by the IRA. That’s something.

Detail of the Fusiliers’ Arch.

Detail of the Fusiliers’ Arch.

More details of the Fusiliers’ Arch.

More details of the Fusiliers’ Arch. Click to enlarge.

It’s quite large.

It’s not a wimpy monument.

Nature was calling me, but my Dubliner husband knew exactly where to go: the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre—what you and I would call a mall. A mall built on the site of an old market.

And just look at what they’ve done with the place!

And just look at what they’ve done with the place!

We wandered a little—I bought a pretty scarf—but our real destination was Grafton Street: I needed to replenish my supply of Molton Brown shampoo (I normally get it at Brown Thomas, an upscale department store) and we wanted to drop by Sheridan’s Cheesemongers on Anne Street.

You can imagine my delight when I looked up and saw a Molton Brown storefront right on Grafton Street—no need to go further down to Brown Thomas! Bought my product, sampled others. Oh my. My husband patiently tarried while I was fawned over by the staff.

From there we nipped around the corner to Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, a store I’d read about and lusted after. Yes, I bought cheese! How could I not?

Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Anne Street, Dublin.

Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Anne Street, Dublin.

Anne Street is just two blocks long … but everywhere you look, there’s something you might explore. Just look: What’s that at the end of the street there?

What’s that at the end of the street there?

What’s that at the end of the street there?

It’s St. Ann’s Parish Church, of course, an eighteenth-century baroque-style Anglican church.

A closer look at St. Ann’s on Dawson Street, Dublin.

A closer look at St. Ann’s on Dawson Street, Dublin.

Just next door to the church is Mansion House, the “official residence” of the Lord Mayor of Dublin. There are public rooms you can tour, and an events venue. I suspect the Lord Mayor throws fabulous parties. 🙂

We did a little more shopping then walked to the cab stand near St. Stephen’s Green, because my energy was flagging. But I had to pause to take a photo of the Bank of Ireland building on the corner.

I love this ivy-covered row of buildings.

I love this ivy-covered row of buildings.

In addition to the bank there’s a restaurant and a men’s club and a lawyer’s office. It is so distinctive, this building, and on such a busy corner, that it often turns up in news stories and movies in which Dublin plays a part. Show this image, and it’s recognized.

Me, I’m just fascinated by the art on the walls. :)

Me, I’m just fascinated by the art on the walls. 🙂

At the hotel we had a little bit of relaxation and quiet time—because we were meeting our friend Robert Doran for dinner. Later we cabbed to the Shelbourne and walked up to Temple Bar. The restaurant we were headed for was Pichet.

Temple Bar is a neighborhood of tight little medieval-era streets just south of the River Liffey, filled with pubs and restaurants and gallerys and so on. Have a look here:

Pichet on the left. The space between Pichet and the oddly shaped building that houses the Bankers (pub) is Dame Lane (an alley, really), and past the tan building is Dame Street. The modern-looking building is actually on the far side of Dame Street. We’re standing on the other side of Trinity Street, where St. Andrews Lane intersects it. (Whew.)

Pichet is on the left. The space between Pichet and the oddly shaped building that houses the Bankers (pub) is Dame Lane (an alley, really), and past the tan building is Dame Street. The modern-looking building is actually on the far side of Dame Street. We’re standing on the other side of Trinity Street, where St. Andrews Lane intersects it. (Whew.)

While I was taking the photo above, a wedding party walked passed us! I wish I’d had the presence of mind to take a photo, because they were all gorgeous, the bride and probably three maids, the groom and his groomsmen, all dressed to the nines. It was hard to tell where they’d come from (parking? a neighborhood church?) or where they were going; it was 5:30 so I suspect they were on their way to a hotel for dinner. The bride … oh! She was wearing a beautiful dark-ivory cocktail-length but obviously a wedding dress, a little fascinator hat, same color … and aqua-blue heels! She looked fabulous and tasteful.

And about that moment, there was the delightful Robert Doran, who I hadn’t seen in two years! Robert is, as we Yanks say, good people.

I love this guy!

I love this guy!

Robert is a freelance editor like me, with a background in book retailing and as an editor with an Irish publisher. In addition, he is a principal at Kazoo Independent Publishing Services, and he’d brought me one of their latest books: Entertaining with Andrew Rudd. It’s a gorgeous book.

We had a wonderful meal (thank you, Robert!), a delightful conversation, and a good time on a Friday night, sitting in the window at Pichet, watching the world go by. This is exactly what I wanted my vacation to be.

On our way back down Grafton Street we stopped at a bookshop so I could pick up the new novel from Anne Enright (The Green Road). I’d mentioned this to Robert and he warned me that in Ireland, fiction—even by hot, award-winning authors—tends to come out in trade paperback rather than hardback. I’d gotten an inkling of this in 2013 when I went looking for the Irish edition of Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic, so it was OK.

Back to the cab stand at the Shelbourne, then home. I was in bed by 8:30 and lights out by 10.

More Gardening, More Books … My Kinda Day! (Part 2)

27 May 2013, Monday

Now duly fortified with my new (though much less lovely) rain hat, I walked up Nassau Street to Kilkenny Design to buy some things—I wanted to get a Nicholas Mosse mug for a friend, for one thing. I first visited the Nicholas Mosse shop out in Co. Kilkenny in 2006, and just fell in love with a particular design on a particular mug, which I have used every single day of my life since then. Gosh, I love that mug. It’s the “Old Rose” pattern. Naturally, on this day, I saw a new pattern, and even though I was sure I’d never love any mug as much as my Old Rose, I had to have it.

This pattern is called “Clover.”

This pattern is called “Clover.”

When I was done here, I went back to Dawson Street and headed south, stopping at Hodges Figgis, a venerable old Dublin bookstore (founded in 1768, the bookmarks say, although now it’s owned by Waterstone’s, the British equivalent of, say, Waldenbooks, or B. Dalton’s). I did pick up a couple more books on my list.

But this really wasn’t intended to be a shopping tour—I shopped last fall, you’ll remember. No, this was intended to be a sightseeing tour. The parks and churches tour! I’d seen both already on this trip. And my next destination was St. Stephen’s Green—Ireland’s best-known public park.

The visitor’s guide tells us the name, St. Stephen’s Green, dates back to the thirteenth century, when it was adjacent to a a church called St. Stephen’s. The land was marshy and used by locals to graze livestock. In 1635 these twenty-seven acres became, officially, a park, and by the early 1700s—with the advent of Grafton and Dawson Streets—Stephen’s Green was a fashionable location of several promenades. But, as things do, the park deteriorated over a hundred years or so. In 1814 local homeowners took it over—and locked it, which was a source of some contention, until Arthur E. Guinness, a scion of the Guinness brewing family, made it possible for the park to return to public use (in 1877). Guinness also paid for the renovations that made the park what you can see today.

And it is still, after all these years, Stephen’s Green—no name change to honor Arthur Guinness’s generosity and none for Queen Vicky’s husband either. My fave story from the Wikipedia article is this one:

After the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria suggested that St Stephen’s Green be renamed Albert Green and have a statue of Albert at its center—a suggestion rejected with indignation by the Dublin Corporation and the people of the city, to the Queen’s chagrin.

Outside Stephen’s Green, having just crossed the street called Stephen’s Green North.

Outside Stephen’s Green, having just crossed the street called Stephen’s Green North.

So. I entered, really, from a side entrance, if you consider the Fusiliers’ Arch the entrance; I am a goof for having missed that. (However, here is a Flickr walking tour of the park if you’d like—and it starts at the Arch. The Fusiliers’ Arch, at the Grafton Street corner, commemorates the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who died in the Second Boer War—1899–1902. They were fighting in the British Army, of course, and in its early days—it was added in 1907—this monument was called “Traitors’ Gate” by Irish nationalists.)

It was a lovely lush day for a walk in the park.

The duck pond at Stephen’s Green.

The duck pond at Stephen’s Green. Don’t forget, you can click to zoom in.

There were swans. And baby swans! I took quite a few shots of this and it was very difficult to decide which to use. :)

There were swans. And baby swans! I took quite a few shots of this and it was very difficult to decide which to use. 🙂

The park was redesigned to a Victorian-era design in 1880, and this knot-work pattern is a reflection of that. I’ve just crossed O’Connell Bridge; the pond is behind me now.

The park was redesigned to a Victorian-era design in 1880, and this knot-work pattern is a reflection of that. I’ve just crossed O’Connell Bridge; the pond is behind me now.

I was also doing some people- and dog-watching. I loved these two in their little sweaters, tho’ I was never able to get a shot when they were facing me. Be sure to zoom in by clicking on the photos.

I was also doing some people- and dog-watching. I loved these two in their little sweaters, tho’ I was never able to get a shot when they were facing me. Be sure to zoom in by clicking on the photos.

This really was the end of the line for the tulips, but I was pleased to see a few still in bloom. The lawn is truly manicured!

This really was the end of the line for the tulips, but I was pleased to see a few still in bloom. The lawn is truly manicured!

There are a variety of statues in the park, including this one of poet James Clarence Mangan, born James Mangan (1 May 1803, Dublin–20 June 1849). This bust was sculpted by Oliver Sheppard and erected in 1909.

I thought I had a map with information about who this woman is … but I do not. She’s lovely though.

I thought I had a map with information about who this woman is … but I do not. She’s lovely though.

I was cold and wet, so I kept moving through the outer circle of the park. I didn’t have the energy to see every single statue, and haven’t posted all the photos I took of the ones I did see.

I was really most interested in the nature scenes. Look at these trees!

I was really most interested in the nature scenes. Look at these trees!

And these! There are more than 750 species of trees in Stephen’s Green.

And these! There are more than 750 species of trees in Stephen’s Green.

And here’s the exit on to the southern edge of the park. I’ll admit this gentleman gave me pause.

And here’s the exit on to the southern edge of the park. I’ll admit this gentleman gave me pause.

Back at the hotel (which was still a few blocks’ hike), I read a little until Gerry got back from work. We’d planned an early supper at a Middle Eastern restaurant—one of our favorite ethnic meals—we’d both discovered independently. Gerry’s office isn’t far from this neighborhood, and walking through one day he’d seen the Damascus Gate restaurant. Meanwhile, I’d heard of it on the blog of my friend Patrick Comerford. You can imagine my delight when we began to compare notes. 🙂 There are many fantastic (yummy-looking from the outside, and also well-reviewed) restaurants within just steps of the Camden Court Hotel, though. It was hard to choose.

I’m not kidding when I say “across the street.” At the Damascus Gate Restaurant on Camden Street, Dublin.

I’m not kidding when I say “across the street.” At the Damascus Gate Restaurant on Camden Street, Dublin.

This starter—Hummus bel lahmeh—was delicious. As was the rest of our meal.

This starter—Hummus bel lahmeh—was delicious. As was the rest of our meal.

After supper we strolled around the neighborhood.

On a quiet side street, some Dublin townhomes with those lovely old Georgian doors Dublin is so famous for.

On a quiet side street, some Dublin townhomes with those lovely old Georgian doors Dublin is so famous for.

Tiniest bank in the world! And it had an ATM!

Tiniest bank in the world! And it had an ATM!

Before we’d even gotten to the canal, we could see what Gerry called, simply, Rathmines Church, but whose official name is the Church of Mary Immaculate, Refuge of Sinners. It has a very distinctive copper dome. The first church was built here and consecrated in 1830; it was enlarged in 1856 and the portico added in 1881. Sadly, much of the church burned in an electrical fire in 1920; the original dome collapsed with a sound that was heard for miles. Reconstruction began immediately, and the dome was replaced with one (constructed in Galsgow) that had been intended for a Russian orthodox church in St. Petersburg, until the revolutions of 1917. So here it landed.

I think this dome must have been intended for a larger church—because even from this distance (three or four blocks) it seems huge. I love the mural on the side of the black building, which is a pub and venue—The Bernard Shaw.

I think this dome must have been intended for a larger church—because even from this distance (three or four blocks) it seems huge. I love the mural on the side of the black building, which is a pub and venue—The Bernard Shaw.

It was a lovely day altogether! Back at the hotel we relaxed, worked, and later watched a movie on the iPad … which was quite convenient! (Also, it was Seven Psychopaths—which was hilarious. Particularly Christopher Walken. OMG.)

Afternoon Tea? Why Yes, I Believe I Will!

Day 7 / Monday, 17 September 2012

Gerry laughed at me when I’d asked him if a restaurant that served breakfast would be easy to find. The thing is, in my three visits to Ireland I haven’t seen a breakfast-diner culture here the way we have in the States. We have Cracker Barrel, Shoney’s, Denny’s, and Bob Evans’ restaurants, the I-Hop and the Waffle House, not to mention Nashville’s famous Pancake Pantry. We have a breakfast culture here, and it’s on display, tackily so.

Ireland has a breakfast culture, too—we’ve discussed the Full Irish—but it’s in the B&Bs and the hotels, as far as I know. That’s the only place I’d ever had breakfast, other than in Gerry’s fine kitchen. I’d been quite relieved when Margaret noticed the Red Rose Café in Bettystown a couple days ago—she’s good at noticing small details, the things I miss—and we went back there this morning.

We were going to spend the day in Dublin today, which would culminate in a special treat: traditional afternoon tea at a downtown hotel. We drove into Dublin and parked at Gerry’s place; there is no way I’d want to drive—much less find a place to park—in Dublin. So we took a cab into the city center.

First stop was Johnson’s Court, an alley that connects Clarendon and Grafton Streets. I’d been corresponding with a jeweler located there, trying to obtain a coin bezel for an antique Irish coin I’ve had for years. As it turns out, the man I’d corresponded with got a little carried away, I guess; I’d sent him precise measurements taken by a jeweler here, and he’d assured me he had a bezel to fit, but … that was not the case.

Johnson’s Court looking toward Grafton St. (Margaret took this photo.)

Gerry had mentioned that since we’d be in the area, we should duck into St. Teresa’s Church—“it’s very pretty,” he said. It’s also Dublin’s oldest Roman Catholic church, built in 1793 for the Order of the Discalced (Barefoot) Carmelites. And we did try to see it; mass was being held when we stopped by, though, so we didn’t go in. If you’re in the area, note the city has grown up around it, so it might be easy to miss.

St. Teresa’s has a pretty gate, with gilt floral details on the ironwork, at a diminutive courtyard entry. (Margaret’s words and photo.) The courtyard is all that holds the city at bay.

We walked back down Johnson’s Court to Grafton Street and began shopping our way down toward St. Stephen’s Green. Probably the most upmarket shopping district in Dublin, Grafton Street is closed to traffic (mostly), which makes it fun to shop—and it has everything from souvenir shops to Prada. I was hoping to splurge on some Moulton Brown hair car products. (A hotel we stayed in on the Inishowen Peninsula nine years ago had Moulton Brown in the bathroom, and I fell in love with it. Prices on this side of the Pond are ridiculous, though. Google it; you’ll see. I did not pay anything close to that in Dublin, and the bottles were twice the size.) I found my Moulton Brown at Brown Thomas (a natural fit, don’t you think?), a high-end department store. They had a lot of other lovely things, though most were out of my price range. 🙂 Then we went across the street to Marks & Sparks (actually, Marks & Spencer)—another department store but more like Target in price range and clientele. We also wandered around a nice bookstore, but I used great restraint and didn’t buy a single book. (Actually, I’d forgotten the list of Irish books I wanted to pick up back in Laytown. Darn!)

Grafton Street: pedestrian traffic only. (Margaret took this photo.)

Even in the light rain, Grafton Street was busy in the early afternoon. There were shoppers of every stripe, plus street buskers and more, like these guys:

What would you call these guys? They’re not mimes, ’cause they don’t move much. Statue imitators? (Margaret took this photo.) Note that if you click on the photo, you can see it much larger.

I stood right in front of them, and I could have sworn I took a picture from very close, but that is not the case, apparently. They were very, very good (at standing and sitting very still in heavy makeup).

At last we arrived at the Shelbourne!

Entrance to the Shelbourne. (Photo by Margaret.)

Lovely ivy-covered buildings just down the street from the Shelbourne (you can see them in the photo above if you look closely).

The Shelbourne is a Dublin landmark, founded in 1824 (the current building dates from 1867) and overlooks St. Stephen’s Green. In 1922, the Irish Free State’s constitution was drafted (by Michael Collins and others) in one of the rooms there. (It’s now called, appropriately enough, the Constitution Room—I wish I’d known we could visit it!) Be sure to look at the Wikipedia entry on the Shelbourne, for a couple of good photographs and more information. Who knew those statues were “Nubian princesses and their shackled slave girls”?

Statue on the other side of the entrance. This must be one of the princesses. (Photo by Margaret.)

The foyer is just gorgeous.

And those flowers are fresh, not fake. (Photo by Margaret.) Taken from a little sitting area that is just outside the Lord Mayor’s Lounge, where tea is served.

Tea at the Shelbourne was Margaret’s gift to the ladies of the Clarke and Hampson families—and it was everything any of us hoped it would be. (When I last visited my sister, she’d taken me to a lovely tearoom in San Jose, where the tea was professionally prepared and served in delightful surroundings. It was lovely. But the Shelbourne takes that to a whole new level.) The Dubliners among us—Bridie, Gwen, Clare, and Orla (you’ll remember them all from the wedding, of course)—had never been to tea here, so they were as delighted as we Yanks were.

There are twenty-one possible choices of tea, my friends. 🙂 (I wish I’d noted what I had—but someone else at that table chose it, too, so perhaps she’ll chime in.) We were served, first, palate cleansers—a choice of cold or frozen things that none of us could identify. (If anything, I wish I’d asked more questions.)

See? One cold liquid, one frozen. Don’t know what they were. We showed off our purchases, too, not that shampoo and conditioner were all that exciting to look at. L–R: Margaret, Orla, Jill, Alli. (Note also the clever use of mirrors, not only the one you see framed, but the two on either side, which make the room seem larger. That’s a “hidden” door on the left, behind which the servers prepared all the lovely serving dishes and teapots.)

More palate cleansers. And look at that hydrangea! Clare and Bridie.

Next we were brought finger sandwiches (and yes, the crusts were properly cut off!)—egg salad, ham with mustard, smoked salmon, and cucumber and cream cheese—and shortly thereafter, the tea pots arrived.

Sandwiches and tea. Alli and Gwen. The windows you see in the background look out on St. Stephen’s Green, which is across the street. (Photo by Margaret.)

It was all so leisurely, so relaxed. The room was beautiful, with windows looking out on the busy street and Stephen’s Green beyond. And it was full of all sorts of interesting folks: there was a man near the door, alone, who looked like something straight out of Joyce—sixties, tousled grey hair, dark-lensed glasses on the end of his nose, corduroy suit, deep in a newspaper. Remember: if you don’t have a reservation, you will likely not be served.

As sandwiches were finished and more tea consumed, here came the sweets. All I can tell you is this: you only wish you were me that afternoon! Everything was scrumptious.

On the bottom rack, scones (pronounce this SCAHNs), both plain and with raisins. On the second rack, butter, strawberry jam, and clotted cream. (You’ve heard me say this before: I want to be buried in clotted cream.) The top rack held the most delightful treats of all,  although I don’t know what to call them. (This is a sample menu, but it’s not accurate, because, for one thing, we only had four different goodies.) In my notes, I called them “macaroons (French style), chocolate mousse in a chocolate cup, raspberry mousse, and a four-layered thing.”

Jill considering the goody tray. Those triangular pink things had raspberry mousse inside. The little sandwich cookies were the French-style macaroons. (Photo by Margaret.)

Here you can see the other side: the molded chocolate teacups filled with chocolate mousse and that four-layered thing. (Photo by Margaret.)

I am tired of calling it the four-layered thing but have no other words for it. So I’ll just describe it: the top layer was a passionfruit-flavored aspic layer; the thick yellow layer was lemon-flavored sponge cake so moist it was practically dripping; the next layer was raspberry; and the bottom was an almond cookie-ish layer. It was astonishing.

We were at the Shelbourne for two hours, and it was heaven. At one point, Gerry dropped by on his way home from work and took a photo.

L–R: Clare, Bridie, Margaret, Orla, Jill, Alli, and Gwen. (And a little bit of me. Ha.)

Then Jill and Alli walked back to their downtown hotel; Clare, Orla, and their mother cabbed home; and Bridie came with Margaret and I. What a wonderful day!

Today’s Image

You get so used to handling money at home, it’s a shock when you have a wallet-full of paper and coins that, at a glance, are meaningless. It’s so frustrating to have to turn each coin over to see the amount. (Sure, sure, I can tell one- and two-euro coins quickly, and the fifty-cent piece has a ruffled edge that makes it stand out. But the rest? Fuggedaboutit.) An inventory of countries represented on coins in my pocket currently: Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain.

HoHo (Hop On, Hop Off) Dublin (1/2)

Thursday, 25 September 2003
Dublin city, Co. Dublin

If you haven’t been keeping track, this is how my trip looked from an itinerary perspective: two days in Dublin to acclimate, ten days driving around the country seeing the sights outside the Pale, then finishing up with five days in Dublin at the end. And we spent one of those days looking for lost jewelry and trying to recover from the ten spent on the road. 🙂

Now here’s a start on the rest of those Dublin Days …

Dublin is a city with a lot of history … and a lot of historic sights, many of which are concentrated in and near the city centre. In addition to its splendid public buildings, Dublin is particularly rich in domestic architecture of the eighteenth century (the Georgian period, as we’ve discussed earlier).

And there are two tour bus companies that offer hop-on-hop-off tours for a flat fee. This means you can climb onto one of those famous double-decker buses (open on the top!) and get off and back on at any one of over thirty stops, and you can do so for a full twenty-four hours. That sounds like a lot of time, but, now that I’ve done it, I’ve concluded there’s no possible way to see, and do justice to, every single stop on the tour in twenty-four hours. It’s a good way to get an overview, though, and I would definitely recommend it.

So, fortified by a “full Irish” (what the locals call that Big Irish Breakfast), we took a cab (like New York City, Dublin is a place that visitors might do best not to try to drive—or park—in) downtown to the heart of the city, literally to O’Connell Street. Named for Daniel O’Connell—the famous politician who campaigned for Catholic Emancipation and repeal of the Act of Union—the street is unusually wide, and is lined in the middle with statues commemorating Irish heroes, including Charles Stewart Parnell (patriot) and Big Jim Larkin (labor leader), as well as O’Connell. (It is also home to the Spire of Dublin, or “the Spike,” as the locals call it, installed just this year, but that’s another story entirely.)

Known as “the Liberator,” O’Connell’s memory is revered in Ireland, and one can find an O’Connell Street in almost every town of any size. Why Liberator? You’ll recall Oliver Cromwell from an earlier episode, the Protestant head of England who had it in for Catholics, and banished all of them “to hell or Connaught” in the 1650s. The Cromwell-controlled British parliament also issued a series of Penal Laws:

The Irish Catholic was forbidden the exercise of his religion.
He was forbidden to receive education.
He was forbidden to enter a profession.
He was forbidden to hold public office.
He was forbidden to engage in trade or commerce.
He was forbidden to live in a corporate town or within five miles thereof.
He was forbidden to own a horse of greater value than five pounds.
He was forbidden to purchase land.
He was forbidden to lease land.
He was forbidden to vote.
He was forbidden to keep any arms for his protection.
He was forbidden to hold a life annuity.
He could not be guardian to a child.
He could not himself educate his child.

Sometimes I find it astonishing the Irish have survived at all.

O’Connell the Liberator: he was born in 1775 to a well-to-do Catholic family who, in spite of their wealth, were denied status, opportunity, and influence due to the discriminatory legislation of the time (see that list). He was educated abroad—although that, too, was illegal—and it was during these college years that he became committed to religious tolerance, freedom of conscience, democracy and the separation of church and state. O’Connell returned to Ireland as a qualified lawyer and became involved in the Catholic Emancipation movement. A powerful nationwide organization quickly emerged, fired by O’Connell’s oratory and with the help of the clergy. In 1828, he won election to the House of Commons, but unwillingness to take the anti-Catholic oath of supremacy kept him out of Westminster. The following year, the government conceded Catholic emancipation, and O’Connell finally entered parliament. Little wonder they call him the Liberator.

Daniel O’Connell in Dublin (from Wikipedia).

Daniel O’Connell in Dublin (from Wikipedia).

We boarded the City Tour bus in O’Connell Street, then, and began the tour. It was a glorious day, and we sat on the roof of the bus to enjoy it. First a loop up around Parnell Square and the Garden of Remembrance there, dedicated to the memory of all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom. Then back down O’Connell Street, across the River Liffey, and to a stop at which we hopped off, in front of Trinity College.

It’s actually the University of Dublin, Trinity College, and was founded in 1592 by Elizabeth I, which makes it the oldest university in Ireland. It’s located on College Green in the absolute heart of Dublin. Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett are among its graduates, as well as Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland and recently the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The grounds are fully open to the public, and while the main gate and the Campanile are certainly focal points, it is the library that drew us to visit, because that’s where they keep the Book of Kells.

This bell tower is called the Campanile. The building beyond the firetruck is the Graduates Memorial Building. I have no idea what was going on with the firetruck.

This bell tower is called the Campanile. The building beyond the firetruck is the Graduates Memorial Building. I have no idea what was going on with the firetruck.

“Over 1000 years ago, when the Book of Kells was written,” the official guide pamphlet says,

Ireland had a population of less than a half a million people living in fortified homesteads along its coasts and inland waterways. The Irish church was largely monastic in organization. Monks lived in communities devoted to the study of God’s word, fasts, and manual work. The message of Christ’s life was spread primarily through gospel books, and the scribes and artists who produced them held an honored place in Irish society. The Book of Kells contains a lavishly decorated copy, in Latin, of the four gospels. It has long been associated with St. Colum Cille (ca. 521–597 AD), who founded his principal monastery on the island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland, in about 561. The Book of Kells was probably produced early in the 9th century by the monks of Iona, working wholly or partially at Iona itself or at Kells, County Meath, where they moved after 806 AD, when Iona was attacked by Vikings in a raid which left sixty-eight monks dead. The Book was sent to Dublin around 1653 for reasons of security during the Cromwellian period. It came to Trinity College through the agency of Henry Jones, after he became bishop of Meath in 1661.

So you see—the story of the Book of Kells encapsulates all the Irish history I have been giving you in pieces throughout this travelogue! 🙂

It is gorgeous, and, frankly, its beauty cannot be described. (But you can look at it yourself here.) Most of you know how I feel about books, so you can imagine how excited I was to finally see this treasure, which is kept, of course, in a climate-controlled case. The 340 folios are bound in four volumes now, and generally two volumes can be seen at a time, one opened to display a major decorated page, and one to show two pages of script. They only turn the pages every six weeks (or maybe it’s every six months! I overheard someone ask this question and can’t quite remember the answer, but I remember being disappointed that I couldn’t have seen something different during the course of my visit).

The Old Library at Trinity was built in 1732, and that original building is now known as the Long Room.

The Long Room is lined with marble busts: great philosophers, writers, and men connected with Trinity, such as Jonathan Swift.

The Long Room is lined with marble busts: great philosophers, writers, and men connected with Trinity, such as Jonathan Swift.

Currently it contains 4.25 million volumes, thirty thousand current serials, significant holdings of maps and music and an extensive collection of manuscripts (the most famous, of course, being the Book of Kells), spread out in eight buildings. It is the largest research library in Ireland. The Long Room houses 200,000 of the library’s oldest books and manuscripts, and is quite a magnificent sight in its own right. We strolled through this lovely room, and I was awestruck. (Here is a link to my visit a decade later.)

Across the street from Trinity’s main gate is a massive building that now houses the Bank of Ireland; but until the Act of Union in 1800, this building was the Irish Houses of Parliament. Everywhere you turn in this city, there’s a little (or not so little: this building is huge!) piece of history.

Back on the bus, we rode to Kildare Street to the National Museum of Ireland. I was quite taken, first, by the museum’s “identity system,” that is, its logo and signage and advertising materials. I found it to be classic yet modern, eye-catching but not overly designed … definitely eye-pleasing. This was often the case, by the way: Dublin seems to be a city in which art is important, even if it’s just a bank logo.

The National Museum (opened in 1890) has on display an extensive range of Irish antiquities, which as you know are what fascinate me. It houses the largest collection of Celtic artifacts in the world, including the Tara Brooch, which dates from the eighth century. The museum had a lovely exhibit of gold items—they were that dazzling color pure gold is, which is something you don’t see every day.

From the museum, we walked a block over to St. Stephen’s Green, billed as Europe’s biggest square. What they mean, of course, is that it’s a park (I make that distinction because we Southerners tend to think of a square as something that has an antebellum courthouse in the middle of it). In Georgian times, a square would have been fenced in and locked; only the owners of the homes surrounding it would have had keys. St. Stephen’s Green is so large, however, that I suspected that it was always intended to be a public park.

Well, I was both right and wrong: I researched this subject a bit (though I no longer can say where I got this information, as the website’s gone) and learned the following:

Named after St Stephen’s Church and a leper hospital that was in the vicinity, the Green (as it is popularly known) is first shown on a map in 1655 when it is shown without boundaries. By the 17th century, it consisted of about 60 acres with access from a lane that later became Grafton Street. In 1664, the Corporation [as best I can understand, the Corporation is the Dublin city government] marked out twenty-seven acres and divided the remainder into lots for development, and by 1669 it was surrounded by a high stone wall. In 1814, Commissioners were appointed to improve the square, and enclose it with gates and railings, and only allow access to householders who paid a Guinea a year. In 1877 Sir Arthur Guinness engineered an Act of Parliament to place the area under the control of the Board of Works and re-opened it to the public in 1880.

There’s that family again … it seems that Sir Arthur also paid to improve the Green to the form it’s seen today, including the gardens and ponds, which all date from 1880. The 1887 bandstand is still a focal point, and the park was packed the day we were there … understandably, since it was a beautiful day. The park has many statues, including memorials to Yeats and also to James Joyce. Also present are the Three Fates, a group of bronze female figures watching over man’s destiny. Ha. 🙂

Then it was back to the bus for a ride up to Dublin Castle, and the Chester Beatty Library. This is a really cool website that shows the whole Dublin Castle complex: roll your cursor over each yellow dot, and a brief description rolls down; this will give you an idea of how much is available on the site. The complex is massive, and now houses all sorts of governmental offices, as well as areas for state functions and commercial use.

This Norman tower, dating from 1226, once housed prisoners.

This Norman tower, dating from 1226, once housed prisoners.

Built in 1814, this was formerly the king’s chapel. Dublin Castle 2003.

Built in 1814, this was formerly the king’s chapel. Dublin Castle 2003.

The following brief history is from this site:

Dublin Castle is situated in the very heart of historic Dublin. In fact the city gets its name from the [Gaelic] Dubh Linn or Black Pool (dubh = black), on the site of the present Castle Gardens and Coach House. The Castle stands on the high ridge, the highest ground in the locality, at the junction of the River Liffey and its tributary the (now underground) Poddle, which formed a natural boundary on two sides. It is very probable that the original fortification on this easily defended strategic site was a Gaelic Ringfort, which guarded the harbour, the adjacent Dubhlinn Ecclesiastical Centre, and the four long distant roads that converged nearby.

In the 930’s, a Danish Viking Fortress stood on this site … Their settlement of Dyflinn (a corruption of Dubhlinn) quickly became the main Viking military base and trading centre of slaves and silver, in Ireland. The Norwegian and sometimes Danish rulers had control of the Irish Sea and forayed deep into the centre of Ireland, where monasteries, with their precious ornaments and vessels, were easy targets. Eventually their power was broken, when they and their allies were heavily defeated by an Irish army under the command of King Brian Boru, at the Battle of Clontarf, 1014.

Neither the Irish nor the Vikings could withstand the Norman invasion of 1169. The Vikings were ejected and the Normans became the next occupiers of Dublin. They strengthened and expanded the existing town walls. It is assumed that their first fortification was an earth and wooden motte and bailey, on the site of present day Dublin Castle. There is archaeological evidence of a wooden and stone castle there in the 1170’s.

In August 1204, King John of England commanded the erection of a (larger) strong castle, with strong walls and good ditches, for the defence of the city, administration of justice and safe custody of treasure. It was completed by 1230 and the Great Courtyard (Upper Castle Yard) of today corresponds closely with the fortification.

The Chester Beatty Library is a part of this massive complex. This venue will be of particular interest to you, friends, because Mr. Beatty was an American, born in New York City in 1875. A mining engineer by trade, he established a highly successful mining consultancy and became quite wealthy. In 1900 he married, but eleven years later his wife died, leaving him a widower with two small children. Suffering from ill health, Beatty moved to London, where he founded a new consultancy. From an early age he’d been a collector, and he already had a library of note when he married for the second time in 1913. A honeymoon journey to Egypt extended his range of interests to include Arabic manuscripts, and a further journey in 1917 to the Far East expanded his interests more widely into Chinese and Japanese works of art. His eye was drawn to richly illustrated material, fine bindings and beautiful calligraphy, but he was also concerned to preserve texts for their historic value. Mindful of his Irish ancestry, he moved to Dublin in 1950. In 1957, Chester Beatty became Ireland’s first honorary citizen. Upon his death in 1968, the collection was bequeathed to a trust for the benefit of the public.

Yes, admission to the library (like the National Museum) is free. We browsed through this stunning collection of manuscripts, prints, icons, miniature paintings, early printed books, and objets d’art from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. In its diversity, the collection captures much of the richness of human creative expression from about 2700 BC to the present day!

This episode has gotten rather longish—just as that particular day was quite long—so I’ll pause here.