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This is an online diary of my latest trip to Ireland.
Dennis J. Ahern

Sunday, March 6th

In the morning I met my new roommate who turns out to be an Irishman who was from Dublin originally but went to England looking for employment 52 years ago and is now a retired engineer living in the Yorkshire countryside. Still very fit he does a lot of hill-walking and had come over to visit his sister in Tipperary.

Before I forget, I want to put down something, I'm not sure where I saw it or read it this week, but it's an example of the roundabout way the Irish sometimes have with things. An Irishman who wanted to propose marriage, but perhaps not willing to risk the rejection of a direct proposal, asked his intended "Would you like to be buried with my people?"
As my roommate was headed for the Bus Arras and I was heading the same way we walked together as far as the GPO. We talked about changes over the years in education and religion in Ireland. He told me how when he and his brother were just small boys, the teacher stripped his brother in front of the class and walloped his backside with a "Charlie Chaplin" cane. And I thought I had it bad at St. Agnes when the nuns took a ruler to my knuckles. He said one time when he was about seven he stuck his head in the door of the Unitarian Church on Stephen's Green to see what Protestants were like and was surprised that there were only three people in the church and one of them the minister. I told him that was where I was headed to church and I would let him know what the current attendance was.

Heading South past Trinity College's main gate who should I see but Mary Ellen leading her TIARA group like a gaggle of goslings. I called out a cheery "Good Morning" and caught a couple of people off guard, not expecting to run into me. I found out later they were headed to a Latin Mass at a church on the North side of the Liffey.

Grafton St. was already collecting a crowd, though the shops were all closed. One clothing store had their windows blazoned with "Jeanealogy" but it was all about the denim and not the dna.

Unitarian Church, Dublin
Unitarian Church, Stephen's Green

There were a lot more than three people at the service. I would guess about a hundred. Unitarians are pretty rare in Ireland, though they have been here since at least the mid-19th century. One fellow I talked to at the tea after the service had driven all the way from Mayo to be there. The only other Unitarian congregation is in Cork and that's new since my last trip a couple of years ago.

I had an invitation to Sunday dinner so headed off back to Eden Quay to catch the 20B bus. I picked up some daffodils in Grafton St. along the way, not growing in a flower box but from a street vendor catering to the Mother's Day crowd now filling the streets in the warmish sun. Expatriate Irish living in the States are always at risk of forgetting that Mammys' Day is several weeks earlier back home.

Dinner with the Wrays was very nice, roast lamb with all the fixings. Typical of an Irish dinner there were not one but two kinds of potato, boiled and roast. Followed by hot apple tart with whipped cream it was the culinary highlight of the week for me.

After dinner, Brian took me for a sightseeing ride and we went to places that 'til now have been but placenames to me, Howth, Portmarnock, and the North Wall. We went out to Bull Island on the causeway and got out to walk around a bit and there at the car park was one of those new-fangled self-cleaning, pay toilets, looking like a bigger, elongated version of the gold-trimmed black trash receptacles. I had seen one or two of these in Boston but had never tried one out. Brian did though, and after depositing his 30 cents the door slid closed behind him. A minute later, the door opened and he came out, and ever the gentleman, offered me a freebie on his 30 cents, an offer I declined, having read how these things worked. After you exit, it sprays water around the inside and washes itself down. So, anybody attempting a free passage would get more than they bargained for. Example of a Self-cleaning Pay Toilet
Example of Self-cleaning Pay Toilet

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