OK, I give up. I started this as a Wander Indiana project like my kids had done in 5th grade when we lived in Indiana. I failed miserably and added Maryland, then Illinois, the Ohio. So I am renaming this the Wander Project. Effective RIGHT NOW this is the Wander Project, no longer bound to Indiana or Maryland. There, I feel a lot better now.
I have had the opportunity to visit the Emerald Isle several times. The first time was on our way to Bangkok in 1971. We stayed near Shannon for a week (visiting Galway on the Bay) and enjoying the joy of Ireland. My next trips there were for business, but in both cases I had a couple of weekends where I was able to site see. I actually rode the tour bus around Dublin and stopped at all the various sites. I did an official James Joyce stop (the pub where he wrote Ulysses) and had a drink with the ghost of Mr. Joyce. I also wandered my way through the Guinness tour, the Jamison tour and stopped at Post Office. The last one was to honor those who died that day for Irish Freedom. Ireland is part of my heritage. So the history lesson of the Easter Rebellion is one I remember, and visiting the site, seeing the statue will bullet holes to this day, was chilling. History read and remembered can be dry and distant. History seen and visited is history you will never forget. Being on the streets, walking the same places as James Joyce was a huge deal for me. For many years Joyce was my favorite writer. He is still one of my favorites but there was a time when the Dubliners was a go to book for me.
There are times when my father’s whimsy strikes me when I am taking pictures. This the dedication tablet for the Dock. Why? I don’t know. There are roughly 100 pictures taken in Dublin. I love the city and wandered it for 4 weekend days. But, this picture escapes me. Why would this capture my eye? I have no memory of this dock other than I obviously stopped and felt this plaque, this stone marker worthy of immortality. Perhaps in my photographic Ozymandias moment. Look upon my picture ye mighty and, if you can help me figure out why I took it. My first trip to Ireland was visiting Shannon, and then Galway. They are on the western shore. Dublin is on the eastern shore, closest of the three to England. But perhaps, furthest from England in spirt. In the middle of my first day of touring Dublin I made the pilgrimage to the Guinness Factory. I would like to say that I stopped at the factory, wandered the tour with the other tourists and then had a quick drink in “The top of the world” bar. The bar at the end of the tour of the Guinness Factory, is one of the tallest buildings in it’s part of Dublin. So you can see nearly forever.
I actually spent a long time at the bar, talking to a bunch of folks from County Cork. They were there in homage to the great beer’s creator, so I enjoyed talking to them and finding out more about the place my family was from (well nearly. We are from Central Ireland close to County Cork). My memories of cities are bound by the people I meet, the things I do and the things I see. In the case of Dublin, all three are simply amazing. I truly enjoyed wandering the campus of Trinity college. I know my father would have loved being there. I enjoyed speaking with people from the part of Ireland my family came from, I suspect that made my grandfather Johnston smile. But most of all I enjoyed linking the history I had read to real places. I enjoyed riding the red tour buses around the city (the hop on, hop off buses). I really enjoyed the tour of the Guinness Factory. I enjoyed the tour of the Jamison factory as well. I think my favorite part of the trip though was getting lost looking for the pub that John Kennedy had frequented (they have one of his famous rocking chairs). I got turned around and confused, an elderly man stopped me and asked “Are ya lost lad?” I explained my goal, he smiled and said to me “Is there a bit of the Irish in ya?” I said yes, in part on my Mother’s families side. He looked at me, and “No lad, have had a Guinness today.” So we went to the bar, and had a Guinness.