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Faiche Stiabhna, Republic of Ireland September 13th 2023 – Come Home Journal #24

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.

I walk to Faiche Stiabhna (St Stephen’s Green) with the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Garry Gray AO. He swears a lot. I’m relieved. A lover of passionate words. We understand each other. We walk the green twice.

Drinking coffee, quoting Joyce, discussing architecture and stopping for selfies.

We talk about home and how it is people and memories that create a longing and belonging. Who you are rather than where you are. He is keen to help make connections for the Come Home project, however he’s away back to Australia next year. He will miss Dublin, the people and the stories. He explains that being a temporary visitor to a place allows a certain objectivity but the flip side is a lack of power to do more than slightly positively influence. It’s about relationships and they build slowly.

James his minder leaves with the task to invite me to a party that night. The Ambassador shows me the architecture up close, thanks me for the gifts from Australia and asks me to come to the party.

I head to the library and then a meetup with my friend Paddy’s sister. Her name is Eleanor, but I keep calling her Mary. She wants to meet at a department store and I think she means inside so I go in and find two very expensive cafes. We are emailing each other and the delay creates confusion. I am old enough to remember when emails felt immediate.

When we finally meet up she tells me she just wanted to meet outside, like finding a landmark. She had no intention of eating there. She takes me to Bewley’s, world famous for scones and coffee and I order just that.

At first she doesn’t look like Paddy. But I hear his voice plain as day. By the end of our time together I see my friend Paddy shining brightly from her face.

The promised party invitation doesn’t arrive. I blame email. I watch Ru Paul All Stars. At some point my daughter Fagyn asks why I would watch All Stars when I haven’t seen all the series episodes. I tell her I am able to follow a story in any direction.

I love Dublin with a such a passion I return after a few days when I should have been in Galway. My friend Mary, an ex nun, may we we all know at least one in our lives, tells me later ‘should’ is a form of external power. She tells me not to do things because I ‘should’ but because I ‘want’ to. I defiantly SHOULD have been the Ambassador for this city so grand and dirty, so welcoming and hard, so tolerant and challenging, so… home.


IMAGE CREDIT: St Stephen’s Green aerial by Dronepicr

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


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