Yesterday I went to Dublin … something I do too rarely these days. It was a lovely day … we always said that Dublin looks good in the sunshine. If I’d had a camera I could have taken some nice shots, particularly of the small Huguenot cemetery in Merrion Row, which was a riot of bluebells.
I went to Toner’s pub in Baggot Street … it hasn’t changed in the 25 or so years since I used to frequent it, though the ownership has. I looked around and thought about my friends from those days coming smiling through the door … especially one friend who is no longer with us.
Toner’s is said to be the only pub that W. B. Yeats (an untypical Irishman in some respects) ever visited. Legend has it that he sipped a sherry, then said to the friend who had brought him, ‘Now I have seen a pub … can we leave please?’
I went to the launch in the Department of Foreign Affairs, St Stephen’s Green, of a book I had edited. The launch was by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, in the impressive setting of a ballroom built for the visit of the Prince of Wales in the 1890s, and in the audience were various dignitaries including two former Taoisigh (Prime Ministers).
The book is called Ireland at the United Nations: Memories of the Early Years. The author is Noel Dorr, a former President of the UN Security Council, and Irish Ambassador to the UN and the UK at various times.
Noel is an extremely nice, friendly man. In his speech he thanked me for the help and encouragement I’d given him, and said that although we had just met, he felt that he knew me through all the emails we’d exchanged. Earlier in the week he sent me, as a gift, a boxed set of DVDs of BBC productions of all 37 Shakespeare plays.
To cap a felicitous day, when I arrived at the bus station the last Cavan bus was pulling out, but I managed to persuade the driver, through pleading gestures, to let me on. He gave me a stern lecture about how they’re really not supposed to do that, but it was worth it. I clapped him on the shoulder and forgave him.