After an amazing visit at the Irish Fulbright Commission this morning, we sauntered back to the city centre, gently winding our way along Baggot Street and past beautiful Georgian town houses with beautifully painted wooden doors – a lovely, slow walk in cool Irish air beneath moody gray skies. Peter takes the lead in helping us chart a path. A long, slow walk and lots of fresh air was just the ticket, after a long travel day for students yesterday. They were enchanted by St. Stephen’s Green – where we stopped for a long wander before heading to Grafton Street and a group lunch at Bewley’s Café. The Green is a lush and beautiful natural oasis in the midst of a bustling city centre full of people (mostly tourists), noise and traffic. They wandered and explored, finding joy in small beauties – the pair of white swans gliding slowly on the glassy pond, the bumpy, leafy trees with built-in foot holds (just perfect for climbing, if one dared), freshly-cut grass and clean, newly-dug beds ready for planting flowers, soon, and the slower rhythm inside this wee bubble just off the busy hub of Grafton Street. We happen upon a multilevel stone enclosure and they are charmed into exploring all the nooks and crannies – investigating the beautiful Henry Moore statue of W.B. Yeats. It is wonderful to see them happy and engaged in this place. I show them where Bewley’s is and they disperse, agreeing to meet a little before 1pm.
Some of them wander back to the park and others do some window-shopping. I wander into Eason’s bookshop and purchase two of the newest Hot Press magazines (Irish music industry publication) and go early to Bewley’s for a cappuccino and a quiet read –lovely. We all meet up again and have a delicious and convivial lunch – pleased at discussing the morning and what tomorrow will bring. It is a delightful meal and we agree that, after our Hop-On Hop-Off bus ride, we’ll go back to the hotel for rest (or other excursions) and meet in the hotel lobby at 7pm to discuss and reflect on the day, do some cybersleuthing and research in prep for the day tomorrow, and write/edit today’s blog posts.
Austin, I see, has already uploaded the photos he took today into Drop Box and created a folder for each of us, to share – fabulous! I upload some of my photos into the file he’s created for me and take a look at his. It will be great to share different perspectives from a shared experience. The Hop-On Hop-Off was a great introduction to the city and a lovely way for students to begin to map the city and develop a new awareness and understanding of the history and culture of Dublin and a different sense of place and identity – in a new country.