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Yum Wrap – Irregular musings on film, art and media

Baile Átha Cliath, Republic of Ireland September 20th 2023 – Come Home Journal #30

A reckoning of the journey (turas) to tour Dancing Shadows in Ireland, a retrospective of my film works as part of the Come Home project.

Trust the locals.

Monday I hit the train to Dublin. My cousin Denis told me to buy a ticket to Waterford. He says its closer than the crow flies but it’s cheaper on the train and goes through Dublin. Just get out at Dublin. And I’m reminded of the train man who asked me days earlier who would stop me? No one it seems. I trust the locals.

On the train I get my first cup of Barry’s. The family at home have been waiting so long for the Barry’s moment, which is part of the tea cart on the train moment. Heaven. I send pics.

Choosing to return to Dublin rather than try to fit in Galway is proving a hit with me. My accommodation is an upgrade (see previous post) and I’m on the other side of town. I meet with Mella and we go to Keoh’s pub for Guinness and whiskey. It feels like home.

The idea behind my return was that I had unfinished business, and its likely that will continue for many years. I come in search of James Joyce and his dancing daughter Lucia. I search plenty and find lots of James. Lucia however is seen as a difficult woman. It’s a long story, and worth the telling, but not today.

Instead I have been given a task by a friend to find the Book of Kells and tell her what page it is open at. It was an un-noteworthy J I think. I feel like a simple app or live streaming would be great for these things, let me tell you why. I stood in the rain waiting in a queue, apparently you needed to book months in advance. The guide takes pity on me and tells me just to buy a ticket online for any date and she’ll let me in. Solo woman strikes again. Once inside I can’t see a bloody thing. The glass box with the book is so tiny and the crowds so big I have to ask someone to let my hand with camera sneak to the front. Then I go upstairs to the library. Beautiful. Well it would have been beautiful if it had any books. All away for repair. It was like a skeleton without the heart, soulless, no stories, no past. Screens used to show what would have been there. Terrific gift shop though!

However what was the real energy of that day was walking into Trinity College at what was orientation. So many students, all signing up for different clubs and adventures, all laughing, happy, in the rain. Made me want to sign up. For anything! I wandered amongst these bright shiny things with their unbreakable enthusiasms. Brave and bold but likely bundles of nerves underneath.

I run to the Irish National Art Gallery and find an unimpressive doorway that once through the building unfolds like a tardis. The art I see makes me feel small like I’m standing at the edge of a raging sea, and connected to a worldwide movement of women creating works that lift the skin and prod and pierce beneath. Laying their offerings at the edge of the earth. We are born free but caged slowly when children, however at some point we make, I make, a decision to serve no man but to serve the heart.

As I leave, wounded and alive, I see I entered by a small back door however I am exiting by the grand front entrance. It’s the only one my spirit would fit through I know.

That night I walk to the Irish Film Institute screening a film from their archive called ‘Da’. Made in the 80s it tells the story of a man who returns from his life in America to his Irish home after his father dies. Reliving moments of his life with his father’s spirit explain to him what kind of man he is now and what he might do to fix himself. I laughed and cried and held my hands over my eyes. The cinema was packed as could be.

I’m leaving Dublin tomorrow. I have coffee on the street and watch the world go by, little girls on bikes heading to school, unafraid of anything. And a billboard of Sinéad looks over them.

IMAGE CREDIT: Sinéad Billboard by Erin M McCuskey

The image journal can be found in this Collection – Ireland –  Flickr Album – in this album – Dublin


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