Aer Lingus wouldn’t let me check in on line and they wouldn’t answer their phone. St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. They couldn’t get us a window seat at the airport. Their medium level boss at the counter in SFO said that on-line check-in is only available to people who book through Aer Lingus, not Expedia. But, Expedia is the only place where I could buy the ticket with the 17 hour layover. I wanted a long layover. The best the Aer Lingus website would have done, would send us out at 6 AM on Tuesday. Not going to do that after dinner and socializing. At least they seated us together.
The airplane we got on to Dublin had presumably just arrived from there. A video was still playing; it illustrated to the new tourists how to drive on the right and keep American policemen from shooting you.
Arriving in Dublin 2 days after St. Patrick’s Day is like all those people who are on arriving flights to eclipse spots when we are just leaving. Life goes on, but they could have moved their visit up a day, right?
We stayed, during our 17 hour layover, at the Travelodge Airport South. Same as the last time, or one of the previous times. However:
In the elevator, a traveler chat:
“Just back from the weekend?” he said.
“Going to Munich tomorrow, where are you headed?” I said.
He said something Irish-like for, “I live here. Temporary Accommodation.”
I am not sure what this portends in a civilized country. In America, long term guests mean you are in a hotel that caters to people whose meth labs have burnt down. I avoid weekly rate hotels, unless they are clearly next to business parks and the residents look like George Clooney. It may be that here in Ireland, SRO hotels are respectable because the people are respectable, or at least don’t have guns.
Anyway, nothing bad happened. TripAdvisor would have told us.
There were green and orange balloon garlands still up everywhere. The Irish flag is conciliatory in that respect, but in America St. Patrick is strictly green.
The main object of our visit, besides its being the cheapest available flight, was to see our friend Samuel, whom we met on the West Bank tour some years ago. He has now finished school and been admitted to the bar. I realized on the way to Munich, that I forgot to take any photos of him. He hasn’t changed any. Shorter hair, still a handsome devil. Devilling is what they call his job, polishing up the handle of the big front door for a practicing attorney who is called his Master. He speaks to judges about postponements and serving papers. But, speaking. He’s barrister-bound. His debating years have paid off and will in future.
His girlfriend lives in London. The same day we flew in, Samuel flew in from London where he had seen the rugby game Ireland/England with her. Ireland won. That outcome had been noticed by decorators of the shop windows downtown.
Samuel suggested that Dave and I go to the National Art Gallery on the following day, while waiting for our afternoon flight onward. We did that. The highlight for me was seeing The Gleaners. I suppose that must have been in one of my parents’ picture books, because I have known that painting for longer than I can remember, and its social significance and all, but, I never actually thought of it as being a real painting. It was a page in a children’s book that you finger through. Seeing it unexpectedly on the wall was like seeing your elementary school teacher in the supermarket.
Samuel had pointed out that there was a Caravaggio there, by way of encouraging our attendance. It’s true, they have “The Taking Of Christ”. It has affected their minds, because the other paintings they have from artists of that period — especially the ones with stage lighting and black backgrounds — are compared on their captions with Caravaggio.
The faux Caravaggios were more interesting, for example their Guercino. The Getty has recently restored this painting, so the Internet is teeming with a lot of news. The associated museum label exemplifies Church of Rome revisionism and denial. The official explanation is that Jacob is blessing somebody’s sons, with the symbolism of the right hand positioning and on and on, but what we see is an old dude who has been surprised in flagrante by dad. The expression of the son in front is that of one trying to decide whether to spit or swallow; we’ve all seen that enough to know, right?
But the story had to be recast for a family museum.
After that we went to the airport.