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

Friday, March 11th

I carry my passports and change purse and stuff in a belt pack. All my Library cards, hostel pass, credit card, bank ATM card, etc. I keep together in the belt pack with a thick rubber band. The other night at the cybercafe when I took my change purse out to pay, I didn't see that I dislodged the bundle of cards and it fell on the floor. Luckily, a man standing nearby pointed it out to me.

After a detour to the GRO to put in three requests, my main objective for the day was the Representative Church Body Library to look up some parish records for a client. Consulting Bob O'Neill's book Irish Libraries: Archives, Museums and Genealogical Centres I was directed to take the #14 bus from D'Olier Street out to Churchtown. But I could find no stand for the #14 on that street. It turns out it now leaves from Fleet Street near the corner of D'Olier. The fare was 1.50 euro going out, but 1.20 coming back because I got off near the National Archives in Bishop Street. At the RCB Library, I met Dr. Susan Hood who helped me find the right book and I managed to transcribe all the requested records in the hour left before they closed for lunch.

Heading back I got off at Harcourt on the advice of the bus driver. There was a sandwich shop there called the Harcourt Express and I pondered the choices for a mid-day repast, settling after much consideration on a New York Pastrami and Swiss cheese melt on a crusty baguette for 3.95 euro. It was much more satisfactory than the "Cornish" pasty I grabbed the day before from the convenience store next to the GRO. I've had what I thought I was getting in past years, meat and potato in a flaky crust pastry. I hadn't properly digested the sign on the counter that referred to something called a "Dragon Pasty" and I suffered for it, soon discarding most of a terribly spicy concoction of unidentifiable ingredients.

I managed to quickly find the place I left off on the microfilm of Landed Estate Sales the day before and followed up with some work in the Griffith's Valuation House Books which describe a property's makeup. I had been planning to meet Bruce Brandon from the States for dinner. He was supposed to catch up with me at the Archives at the end of the day, but he didn't show so I swung by the Best Western Royal Dublin Hotel and left a message and a map to the cyber cafe on Blessington Street where it is only 1 euro per hour as opposed to two in most places and three in some. He caught up to me there and did his email after which we stopped at the hostel so I could divest myself of some raiment and we headed off towards he South Side in quest of grub. We didn't have any reservations and several places we went to turned us away. It was starting to rain so we went to an Italian place on Parliament St. called Topolis where I had had dinner once with Brian Donovan and Fionna FitzSimons. They were going to turn us away, but allowed as how if we were out of there within the hour they could seat us. We ended up having lasagna. I also ordered the garlic bread as a side dish and the latter was a disappointment. It was just plain sliced white bread with some garlic butter on it and toasted. When I make garlic bread at home I take a whole bulb of garlic, wrap it in tinfoil with some olive oil and bake it in the toaster oven. Then I mash it into a quarter pound stick of butter melted and brush the paste onto nice crusty baguette sliced in half. Now that's garlic bread! The lasagna was good, but I only ate about half of it. I wish I had thought to ask for a doggy bag because I could have heated it up in the microwave at the hostel kitchen some night for supper.

It was interesting when I first talked to Bruce on the phone, having previously only known him from email. He described himself and said he would be wearing a Fire Dept. of New York T-shirt. I asked if he was FDNY and he said no, he was in a volunteer fire department in Maryland. I asked where in Maryland and he said "Prince George's County" so I asked him where in Prince George and he said "Laurel" and I asked him if he knew the Turneys. It turns out my wife's sister's husband's father was for a long time the chief of the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department. Is this a small world or what?

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