Christmas Greetings from Dublin Tourism
Dublin Tourism would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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The Children of Lir
Once upon a time, there lived a chieftain in Ireland whose name was Lir. Together with his wife Aev, he had four beautiful children, three sons and one girl. But shortly after the birth of their fourth child, Aev died. As his children needed a mother, Lir married Aev’s sister Aoife.
Aoife was very jealous of Lir’s love for his children and so she made an evil plan. One day, she took the children to see their grandfather. On their way they passed Lough Derravaragh, the Lake of the Oaks where Aoife sent the children in for a bath. When the children were in the water, Aoife turned them into swans and said:
“For three hundred years you will stay on the Lake of the Oaks; for three hundred years you will be on the Isle of Maoile, between Ireland and Scotland; and for three hundred years you will be at Innis Gluaire, on the wild North Coast of Ireland. Only when you hear a bell ring in honour of God, you will get your human forms again.”
Aoife allowed the children to keep their human voices, so they could talk to one another and sing. Their songs were very sad, but their voices were so beautiful that many people stopped to listen.
About the time when the 900 years were over, St. Patrick arrived in Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity. He travelled all over Ireland and also built a chapel at Innis Gluaire where the children of Lir had lived for the past 300 years.
One day, St. Patrick heard a wonderful song and went to find the people with those beautiful voices. He wanted to ask them to sing in his chapel. St. Patrick was surprised to find four swans with human voices. The children of Lir told him their sad story and St. Patrick asked them to come to his chapel.
So one day, the children of Lir attended mass in St. Patrick’s chapel. But when the chapel bell rung in honour of God, the swans got their human forms again. It were not the forms of children, however, but of four very old people – after all they were more than 900 years old. St. Patrick quickly gave them God’s blessing and baptized them and shortly afterwards the children of Lir died.
The Happy Prince
HIGH above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt.
He was very much admired indeed. ‘He is as beautiful as a weathercock,’ remarked one of the Town Councillors who wished to gain a reputation for having artistic tastes; ‘only not quite so useful,’ he added, fearing lest people should think him unpractical, which he really was not.
‘Why can’t you be like the Happy Prince?’ asked a sensible mother of her little boy who was crying for the moon. ‘The Happy Prince never dreams of crying for anything.’
‘I am glad there is some one in the world who is quite happy,’ muttered a disappointed man as he gazed at the wonderful statue.
‘He looks just like an angel,’ said the Charity Children as they came out of the cathedral in their bright scarlet cloaks, and their clean white pinafores.
‘How do you know?’ said the Mathematical Master, ‘you have never seen one.’
‘Ah! but we have, in our dreams,’ answered the children; and the Mathematical Master frowned and looked very severe, for he did not approve of children dreaming.
One night there flew over the city a little Swallow. His friends had gone away to Egypt six weeks before, but he had stayed behind, for he was in love with the most beautiful Reed. He had met her early in the spring as he was flying down the river after a big yellow moth, and had been so attracted by her slender waist that he had stopped to talk to her.
‘Shall I love you?’ said the Swallow, who liked to come to the point at once, and the Reed made him a low bow. So he flew round and round her, touching the water with his wings, and making silver ripples. This was his courtship, and it lasted all through the summer.
‘It is a ridiculous attachment,’ twittered the other Swallows, ‘she has no money, and far too many relations;’ and indeed the river was quite full of Reeds. Then, when the autumn came, they all flew away.
After they had gone he felt lonely, and began to tire of his lady-love. ‘She has no conversation,’ he said, ‘and I am afraid that she is a coquette, for she is always flirting with the wind.’ And certainly, whenever the wind blew, the Reed made the most graceful curtsies. ‘I admit that she is domestic,’ he continued, ‘but I love travelling, and my wife, consequently, should love travelling also.’
‘Will you come away with me?’ he said finally to her; but the Reed shook her head, she was so attached to her home.
‘You have been trifling with me,’ he cried, ‘I am off to the Pyramids. Good-bye!’ and he flew away.
All day long he flew, and at night-time he arrived at the city. ‘Where shall I put up?’ he said; ‘I hope the town has made preparations.’
Then he saw the statue on the tall column. ‘I will put up there,’ he cried; ‘it is a fine position with plenty of fresh air.’ So he alighted just between the feet of the Happy Prince.
‘I have a golden bedroom,’ he said softly to himself as he looked round, and he prepared to go to sleep; but just as he was putting his head under his wing a large drop of water fell on him. ‘What a curious thing!’ he cried, ‘there is not a single cloud in the sky, the stars are quite clear and bright, and yet it is raining. The climate in the north of Europe is really dreadful. The Reed used to like the rain, but that was merely her selfishness.’
Then another drop fell.
‘What is the use of a statue if it cannot keep the rain off?’ he said; ‘I must look for a good chimney-pot,’ and he determined to fly away.
But before he had opened his wings, a third drop fell, and he looked up, and saw – Ah! what did he see?
The eyes of the Happy Prince were filled with tears, and tears were running down his golden cheeks. His face was so beautiful in the moonlight that the little Swallow was filled with pity.
‘Who are you?’ he said.
‘I am the Happy Prince.’
‘Why are you weeping then?’ asked the Swallow; ‘you have quite drenched me.’
‘When I was alive and had a human heart,’ answered the statue, ‘I did not know what tears were, for I lived in the palace of Sans-Souci, where sorrow is not allowed to enter. In the daytime I played with my companions in the garden, and in the evening I led the dance in the Great Hall. Round the garden ran a very lofty wall, but I never cared to ask what lay beyond it, everything about me was so beautiful. My courtiers called me the Happy Prince, and happy indeed I was, if pleasure be happiness. So I lived, and so I died. And now that I am dead they have set me up here so high that I can see all the ugliness and all the misery of my city, and though my heart is made of lead yet I cannot choose but weep.’
‘What, is he not solid gold?’ said the Swallow to himself. He was too polite to make any personal remarks out loud.
‘Far away,’ continued the statue in a low musical voice, ‘far away in a little street there is a poor house. One of the windows is open, and through it I can see a woman seated at a table. Her face is thin and worn, and she has coarse, red hands, all pricked by the needle, for she is a seamstress. She is embroidering passion-flowers on a satin gown for the loveliest of the Queen’s maids-of-honour to wear at the next Court-ball. In a bed in the corner of the room her little boy is lying ill. He has a fever, and is asking for oranges. His mother has nothing to give him but river water, so he is crying. Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow, will you not bring her the ruby out of my sword-hilt? My feet are fastened to this pedestal and I cannot move.’
‘I am waited for in Egypt,’ said the Swallow. ‘My friends are flying up and down the Nile, and talking to the large lotus-flowers. Soon they will go to sleep in the tomb of the great King. The King is there himself in his painted coffin. He is wrapped in yellow linen, and embalmed with spices. Round his neck is a chain of pale green jade, and his hands are like withered leaves.’
‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘will you not stay with me for one night, and be my messenger? The boy is so thirsty, and the mother so sad.’
‘I don’t think I like boys,’ answered the Swallow. ‘Last summer, when I was staying on the river, there were two rude boys, the miller’s sons, who were always throwing stones at me. They never hit me, of course; we swallows fly far too well for that, and besides, I come of a family famous for its agility; but still, it was a mark of disrespect.’
But the Happy Prince looked so sad that the little Swallow was sorry. ‘It is very cold here,’ he said; ‘but I will stay with you for one night, and be your messenger.’
‘Thank you, little Swallow,’ said the Prince.
So the Swallow picked out the great ruby from the Prince’s sword, and flew away with it in his beak over the roofs of the town.
He passed by the cathedral tower, where the white marble angels were sculptured. He passed by the palace and heard the sound of dancing. A beautiful girl came out on the balcony with her lover. ‘How wonderful the stars are,’ he said to her, and how wonderful is the power of love!’
‘I hope my dress will be ready in time for the State-ball,’ she answered; ‘I have ordered passion-flowers to be embroidered on it; but the seamstresses are so lazy.’
He passed over the river, and saw the lanterns hanging to the masts of the ships. He passed over the Ghetto, and saw the old jews bargaining with each other, and weighing out money in copper scales. At last he came to the poor house and looked in. The boy was tossing feverishly on his bed, and the mother had fallen asleep, she was so tired. In he hopped, and laid the great ruby on the table beside the woman’s thimble. Then he flew gently round the bed, fanning the boy’s forehead with his wings. ‘How cool I feel,’ said the boy, ‘I must be getting better;’ and he sank into a delicious slumber.
Then the Swallow flew back to the Happy Prince, and told him what he had done. ‘It is curious,’ he remarked, ‘but I feel quite warm now, although it is so cold.’
‘That is because you have done a good action,’ said the Prince. And the little Swallow began to think, and then he fell asleep. Thinking always made him sleepy.
When day broke he flew down to the river and had a bath. ‘What a remarkable phenomenon,’ said the Professor of Ornithology as he was passing over the bridge. ‘A swallow in winter!’ And he wrote a long letter about it to the local newspaper. Every one quoted it, it was full of so many words that they could not understand.
‘To-night I go to Egypt,’ said the Swallow, and he was in high spirits at the prospect. He visited all the public monuments, and sat a long time on top of the church steeple. Wherever he went the Sparrows chirruped, and said to each other, ‘What a distinguished stranger!’ so he enjoyed himself very much.
When the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince. ‘Have you any commissions for Egypt?’ he cried; ‘I am just starting.’
‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘will you not stay with me one night longer?’
‘I am waited for in Egypt,’ answered the Swallow. ‘To-morrow my friends will fly up to the Second Cataract. The river-horse couches there among the bulrushes, and on a great granite throne sits the God Memnon. All night long he watches the stars, and when the morning star shines he utters one cry of joy, and then he is silent. At noon the yellow lions come down to the water’s edge to drink. They have eyes like green beryls, and their roar is louder than the roar of the cataract.’
‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the prince, ‘far away across the city I see a young man in a garret. He is leaning over a desk covered with papers, and in a tumbler by his side there is a bunch of withered violets. His hair is brown and crisp, and his lips are red as a pomegranate, and he has large and dreamy eyes. He is trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre, but he is too cold to write any more. There is no fire in the grate, and hunger has made him faint.’
‘I will wait with you one night longer,’ said the Swallow, who really had a good heart. ‘Shall I take him another ruby?’
‘Alas! I have no ruby now,’ said the Prince; ‘my eyes are all that I have left. They are made of rare sapphires, which were brought out of India a thousand years ago. Pluck out one of them and take it to him. He will sell it to the jeweller, and buy food and firewood, and finish his play.’
‘Dear Prince,’ said the Swallow, ‘I cannot do that;’ and he began to weep.
‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘do as I command you.’
So the Swallow plucked out the Prince’s eye, and flew away to the student’s garret. It was easy enough to get in, as there was a hole in the roof. Through this he darted, and came into the room. The young man had his head buried in his hands, so he did not hear the flutter of the bird’s wings, and when he looked up he found the beautiful sapphire lying on the withered violets.
‘I am beginning to be appreciated,’ he cried; ‘this is from some great admirer. Now I can finish my play,’ and he looked quite happy.
The next day the Swallow flew down to the harbour. He sat on the mast of a large vessel and watched the sailors hauling big chests out of the hold with ropes. ‘Heave a-hoy!’ they shouted as each chest came up. ‘I am going to Egypt!’ cried the Swallow, but nobody minded, and when the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince.
‘I am come to bid you good-bye,’ he cried.
‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘will you not stay with me one night longer?’
‘It is winter,’ answered the Swallow, ‘and the chill snow will soon be here. In Egypt the sun is warm on the green palm-trees, and the crocodiles lie in the mud and look lazily about them. My companions are building a nest in the Temple of Baalbec, and the pink and white doves are watching them, and cooing to each other. Dear Prince, I must leave you, but I will never forget you, and next spring I will bring you back two beautiful jewels in place of those you have given away. The ruby shall be redder than a red rose, and the sapphire shall be as blue as the great sea.’
‘In the square below,’ said the Happy Prince, ‘there stands a little match-girl. She has let her matches fall in the gutter, and they are all spoiled. Her father will beat her if she does not bring home some money, and she is crying. She has no shoes or stockings, and her little head is bare. Pluck out my other eye, and give it to her, and her father will not beat her.’
‘I will stay with you one night longer,’ said the Swallow, ‘but I cannot pluck out your eye. You would be quite blind then.’
‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘do as I command you.’
So he plucked out the Prince’s other eye, and darted down with it. He swooped past the match-girl, and slipped the jewel into the palm of her hand. ‘What a lovely bit of glass,’ cried the little girl; and she ran home, laughing.
Then the Swallow came back to the Prince. ‘You are blind now,’ he said, ‘so I will stay with you always.’
‘No, little Swallow,’ said the poor Prince, ‘you must go away to Egypt.’
‘I will stay with you always,’ said the Swallow, and he slept at the Prince’s feet.
All the next day he sat on the Prince’s shoulder, and told him stories of what he had seen in strange lands. He told him of the red ibises, who stand in long rows on the banks of the Nile, and catch gold fish in their beaks; of the Sphinx, who is as old as the world itself and lives in the desert, and knows everything; of the merchants, who walk slowly by the side of their camels, and carry amber beads in their hands; of the King of the Mountains of the Moon, who is as black as ebony, and worships a large crystal; of the great green snake that sleeps in a palm-tree, and has twenty priests to feed it with honey-cakes; and of the pygmies who sail over a big lake on large flat leaves, and are always at war with the butterflies.
‘Dear little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘you tell me of marvellous things, but more marvellous than anything is the suffering of men and of women. There is no Mystery so great as Misery. Fly over my city, little Swallow, and tell me what you see there.’
So the Swallow flew over the great city, and saw the rich making merry in their beautiful houses, while the beggars were sitting at the gates. He flew into dark lanes, and saw the white faces of starving children looking out listlessly at the black streets. Under the archway of a bridge two little boys were lying in one another’s arms to try and keep themselves warm. ‘How hungry we are!’ they said. ‘You must not lie here,’ shouted the Watchman, and they wandered out into the rain.
Then he flew back and told the Prince what he had seen.
‘I am covered with fine gold,’ said the Prince, ‘you must take it off, leaf by leaf, and give it to my poor; the living always think that gold can make them happy.’
Leaf after leaf of the fine gold the Swallow picked off, till the Happy Prince looked quite dull and grey. Leaf after leaf of the fine gold he brought to the poor, and the children’s faces grew rosier, and they laughed and played games in the street. ‘We have bread now!’ they cried.
Then the snow came, and after the snow came the frost. The streets looked as if they were made of silver, they were so bright and glistening; long icicles like crystal daggers hung down from the eaves of the houses, everybody went about in furs, and the little boys wore scarlet caps and skated on the ice.
The poor little Swallow grew colder and colder, but he would not leave the Prince, he loved him too well. He picked up crumbs outside the baker’s door where the baker was not looking, and tried to keep himself warm by flapping his wings.
But at last he knew that he was going to die. He had just strength to fly up to the Prince’s shoulder once more. ‘Good-bye, dear Prince!’ he murmured, ‘will you let me kiss your hand?’
‘I am glad that you are going to Egypt at last, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘you have stayed too long here; but you must kiss me on the lips, for I love you.’
‘It is not to Egypt that I am going,’ said the Swallow. ‘I am going to the House of Death. Death is the brother of Sleep, is he not?’
And he kissed the Happy Prince on the lips, and fell down dead at his feet.
At that moment a curious crack sounded inside the statue, as if something had broken. The fact is that the leaden heart had snapped right in two. It certainly was a dreadfully hard frost. Early the next morning the Mayor was walking in the square below in company with the Town Councillors. As they passed the column he looked up at the statue: ‘Dear me! how shabby the Happy Prince looks!’ he said.
‘How shabby indeed!’ cried the Town Councillors, who always agreed with the Mayor, and they went up to look at it.
‘The ruby has fallen out of his sword, his eyes are gone, and he is golden no longer,’ said the Mayor; ‘in fact, he is little better than a beggar!’
‘Little better than a beggar’ said the Town councillors.
‘And here is actually a dead bird at his feet!’ continued the Mayor. ‘We must really issue a proclamation that birds are not to be allowed to die here.’ And the Town Clerk made a note of the suggestion.
So they pulled down the statue of the Happy Prince. ‘As he is no longer beautiful he is no longer useful,’ said the Art Professor at the University.
Then they melted the statue in a furnace, and the Mayor held a meeting of the Corporation to decide what was to be done with the metal. ‘We must have another statue, of course,’ he said, ‘and it shall be a statue of myself.’
‘Of myself,’ said each of the Town Councillors, and they quarrelled. When I last heard of them they were quarrelling still.
‘What a strange thing!’ said the overseer of the workmen at the foundry. ‘This broken lead heart will not melt in the furnace. We must throw it away.’ So they threw it on a dust-heap where the dead Swallow was also lying.
‘Bring me the two most precious things in the city,’ said God to one of His Angels; and the Angel brought Him the leaden heart and the dead bird.
‘You have rightly chosen,’ said God, ‘for in my garden of Paradise this little bird shall sing for evermore, and in my city of gold the Happy Prince shall praise me.’
A MODEST PROPOSAL
FOR PREVENTING THE CHILDREN OF POOR PEOPLE IN IRELAND FROM BEING A BURDEN TO THEIR PARENTS OR COUNTRY, AND FOR MAKING THEM BENEFICIAL TO THE PUBLIC
IT IS a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants: who as they grow up either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.
I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom a very great additional grievance; and, therefore, whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound, useful members of the commonwealth, would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.
But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars; it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them as those who demand our charity in the streets.
As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of other projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in the computation. It is true, a child just dropped from its dam may be supported by her milk for a solar year, with little other nourishment; at most not above the value of 2s., which the mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her lawful occupation of begging; and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner as instead of being a charge upon their parents or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall on the contrary contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands.
There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children, alas! too frequent among us! sacrificing the poor innocent babes I doubt more to avoid the expense than the shame, which would move tears and pity in the most savage and inhuman breast.
The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couples who are able to maintain their own children, although I apprehend there cannot be so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom; but this being granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within the year. There only remains one hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, how this number shall be reared and provided for, which, as I have already said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed. For we can neither employ them in handicraft or agriculture; we neither build houses (I mean in the country) nor cultivate land: they can very seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing, till they arrive at six years old, except where they are of towardly parts, although I confess they learn the rudiments much earlier, during which time, they can however be properly looked upon only as probationers, as I have been informed by a principal gentleman in the county of Cavan, who protested to me that he never knew above one or two instances under the age of six, even in a part of the kingdom so renowned for the quickest proficiency in that art.
I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl before twelve years old is no salable commodity; and even when they come to this age they will not yield above three pounds, or three pounds and half-a-crown at most on the exchange; which cannot turn to account either to the parents or kingdom, the charge of nutriment and rags having been at least four times that value.
I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.
I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one-fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle or swine; and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.
I have reckoned upon a medium that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 28 pounds.
I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.
Infant’s flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolific diet, there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent than at any other season; therefore, reckoning a year after Lent, the markets will be more glutted than usual, because the number of popish infants is at least three to one in this kingdom: and therefore it will have one other collateral advantage, by lessening the number of papists among us.
I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar’s child (in which list I reckon all cottagers, laborers, and four-fifths of the farmers) to be about two shillings per annum, rags included; and I believe no gentleman would repine to give ten shillings for the carcass of a good fat child, which, as I have said, will make four dishes of excellent nutritive meat, when he hath only some particular friend or his own family to dine with him. Thus the squire will learn to be a good landlord, and grow popular among his tenants; the mother will have eight shillings net profit, and be fit for work till she produces another child.
Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require) may flay the carcass; the skin of which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen.
As to our city of Dublin, shambles may be appointed for this purpose in the most convenient parts of it, and butchers we may be assured will not be wanting; although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.
A very worthy person, a true lover of his country, and whose virtues I highly esteem, was lately pleased in discoursing on this matter to offer a refinement upon my scheme. He said that many gentlemen of this kingdom, having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want of venison might be well supplied by the bodies of young lads and maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age nor under twelve; so great a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to starve for want of work and service; and these to be disposed of by their parents, if alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with due deference to so excellent a friend and so deserving a patriot, I cannot be altogether in his sentiments; for as to the males, my American acquaintance assured me, from frequent experience, that their flesh was generally tough and lean, like that of our schoolboys by continual exercise, and their taste disagreeable; and to fatten them would not answer the charge. Then as to the females, it would, I think, with humble submission be a loss to the public, because they soon would become breeders themselves; and besides, it is not improbable that some scrupulous people might be apt to censure such a practice (although indeed very unjustly), as a little bordering upon cruelty; which, I confess, hath always been with me the strongest objection against any project, however so well intended.
But in order to justify my friend, he confessed that this expedient was put into his head by the famous Psalmanazar, a native of the island Formosa, who came from thence to London above twenty years ago, and in conversation told my friend, that in his country when any young person happened to be put to death, the executioner sold the carcass to persons of quality as a prime dainty; and that in his time the body of a plump girl of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to poison the emperor, was sold to his imperial majesty’s prime minister of state, and other great mandarins of the court, in joints from the gibbet, at four hundred crowns. Neither indeed can I deny, that if the same use were made of several plump young girls in this town, who without one single groat to their fortunes cannot stir abroad without a chair, and appear at playhouse and assemblies in foreign fineries which they never will pay for, the kingdom would not be the worse.
Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that vast number of poor people, who are aged, diseased, or maimed, and I have been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken to ease the nation of so grievous an encumbrance. But I am not in the least pain upon that matter, because it is very well known that they are every day dying and rotting by cold and famine, and filth and vermin, as fast as can be reasonably expected. And as to the young laborers, they are now in as hopeful a condition; they cannot get work, and consequently pine away for want of nourishment, to a degree that if at any time they are accidentally hired to common labor, they have not strength to perform it; and thus the country and themselves are happily delivered from the evils to come.
I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to my subject. I think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious and many, as well as of the highest importance. For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the number of papists, with whom we are yearly overrun, being the principal breeders of the nation as well as our most dangerous enemies; and who stay at home on purpose with a design to deliver the kingdom to the Pretender, hoping to take their advantage by the absence of so many good protestants, who have chosen rather to leave their country than stay at home and pay tithes against their conscience to an episcopal curate.
Secondly, The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own, which by law may be made liable to distress and help to pay their landlord’s rent, their corn and cattle being already seized, and money a thing unknown.
Thirdly, Whereas the maintenance of an hundred thousand children, from two years old and upward, cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a-piece per annum, the nation’s stock will be thereby increased fifty thousand pounds per annum, beside the profit of a new dish introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the kingdom who have any refinement in taste. And the money will circulate among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture.
Fourthly, The constant breeders, beside the gain of eight shillings sterling per annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year.
Fifthly, This food would likewise bring great custom to taverns; where the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best receipts for dressing it to perfection, and consequently have their houses frequented by all the fine gentlemen, who justly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating: and a skilful cook, who understands how to oblige his guests, will contrive to make it as expensive as they please.
Sixthly, This would be a great inducement to marriage, which all wise nations have either encouraged by rewards or enforced by laws and penalties. It would increase the care and tenderness of mothers toward their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life to the poor babes, provided in some sort by the public, to their annual profit instead of expense. We should see an honest emulation among the married women, which of them could bring the fattest child to the market. Men would become as fond of their wives during the time of their pregnancy as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, their sows when they are ready to farrow; nor offer to beat or kick them (as is too frequent a practice) for fear of a miscarriage.
Many other advantages might be enumerated. For instance, the addition of some thousand carcasses in our exportation of barreled beef, the propagation of swine’s flesh, and improvement in the art of making good bacon, so much wanted among us by the great destruction of pigs, too frequent at our tables; which are no way comparable in taste or magnificence to a well-grown, fat, yearling child, which roasted whole will make a considerable figure at a lord mayor’s feast or any other public entertainment. But this and many others I omit, being studious of brevity.
Supposing that one thousand families in this city, would be constant customers for Infant’s Flesh, besides others who might have it at merry meetings, particularly at weddings and christenings, I compute that Dublin would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses, and the rest of the Kingdom (where probably they will be sold somewhat cheaper) the remaining eighty thousand.
I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of people will be thereby much lessened in the Kingdom. This I freely own, and ‚twas indeed one principal design in offering it to the world. I desire the reader will observe, that I calculate my remedy for this one individual kingdom of Ireland, and for no other that ever was, is, or I think, ever can be upon Earth. Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: of using neither clothes, nor household furniture, except what is of our own growth and manufacture: of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury: of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women: of introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance: of learning to love our country, wherein we differ even from Laplanders, and the inhabitants of Topinamboo: of quitting our animosities, and factions, nor act any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the very moment their city was taken: of being a little cautious not to sell our country and consciences for nothing: of teaching our landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants. Lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shop-keepers, who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods, would immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price, the measure and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one fair proposal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to it.
Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, till he hath at least some glimpse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.
But as to my self, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal, which as it is wholly new, so it hath something solid and real, of no expense and little trouble, full in our own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in disobliging England. For this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, the flesh being of too tender a consistence, to admit a long continuance in salt, although perhaps I could name a country, which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it.
After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion as to reject any offer proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual. But before something of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better, I desire the author or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two points. First, as things now stand, how they will be able to find food and raiment for an hundred thousand useless mouths and backs. And secondly, there being a round million of creatures in human figure throughout this kingdom, whose whole subsistence put into a common stock would leave them in debt two millions of pounds sterling, adding those who are beggars by profession to the bulk of farmers, cottagers, and laborers, with their wives and children who are beggars in effect: I desire those politicians who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold as to attempt an answer, that they will first ask the parents of these mortals, whether they would not at this day think it a great happiness to have been sold for food, at a year old in the manner I prescribe, and thereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes as they have since gone through by the oppression of landlords, the impossibility of paying rent without money or trade, the want of common sustenance, with neither house nor clothes to cover them from the inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitable prospect of entailing the like or greater miseries upon their breed for ever.
I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past child-bearing.
Bloomsday 2008 (9-16 June)
Bloomsday marks the day in 1904 on which all of the action of James Joyce’s Novel Ulysses takes place. To celebrate the 104th Bloomsday, the James Joyce Centre has planned a full week of activities, music, film, lectures, readings and more throughout the City!
See www.visitdublin.com/bloomsday for more details
Dublin.de – Warum überhaupt Dublin ?
Warum, so fragt sich mancher zufällig vorbeisurfende Leser vielleicht, sollte man eigentlich nach Dublin fahren? Lassen Sie mich einmal die „klassischen“ Gründe durchgehen …
Musik – Ja, viele Menschen kommen wegen der Musik in die irische Hauptstadt. So der Mainstream-Folk-Fan, für den das absolut Gelbe vom Ei ist, Guinness-beseelt (oder -besudelt) mit einem letzten „air-fa-la-la-lo“ im O’Donoghues vom Hocker zu fallen. Oder die Altrocker, die am Rory Gallagher Square den Klängen von Thin Lizzy lauschen möchten. Oder die Gefolgschaft Bonos, die zwischen Windmühle und Hotel pilgert, murmelnd „still haven’t found what I%u2019m looking for“. Oder die weniger murmelnden denn kreischenden AnhängerInnen von Gruppen wie Boyzone, Bellefire und Westlife … alle gemeinsam mit unversöhnlichem, ernsten Blick beobachtet von den Anhängern St. Sineads! Ja, Dublin hat etwas für alle diese Menschen – und auch für jene, die einmal Händels „Messias“ am Uraufführungsort erleben wollen.
[ via: Dublin.de – Warum überhaupt Dublin ? ]<!– –>
Saint Patrick’s Day
The day is the national holiday of Ireland. It is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland, and a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Montserrat, and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In the rest of Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States and New Zealand, it is widely celebrated but is not an official holiday.The biggest celebrations on the island of Ireland outside Dublin are in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, where Saint Patrick was buried following his death on 17 March 461.
(check out Wikipedia for St.Patrick)
You find it in YouTube with the key-word:
It’s a Beautiful Day for Dublin or:
Live Webcam of Dublin, Ireland Wireless Broadband Streaming Web Cam Dublins O Connell Bridge and Liffey Free
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Empress of India by Stuart Carolan
Seamus – Sean McGinleyMartin – Aaron Monaghan
Matty – Tadhg Murphy (albino)
Kate – Sarah Greene
Nursey – Catherine Walsh
Maria – Sarah Jane Drummey
Empress of India
A very controversial play is this year?s Druid production of Stuart Carolan?s
?Empress of India? at the Theatre Festival in Dublin. The Dublin Theatre Festival always
presents new plays and plays that show at least vanguard features. The
?Empress? is both, probably not presenting new theatrical techniques, but it
violates certain rules of tragedy, thus not being a ?typical? tragedy, and it
is definitely not a comedy, even though it is sometimes funny. In reviews in Ireland the play
has been blamed for being none of both. The play is also criticised because of
the blasphemous presentation of religious symbols and the excessive use of
verbal sexual atrocities.
The plot is simple, let us reduce it even more. Seamus Lamb?s wife is
dead and the famous actor is so much haunted by the loss, that he has to be
permanently cared for. But his grief is not only expressed by depression, but
by mad verbal outbursts of insulting sexual attacks on his Nursey or fierce
humiliations of his albino son. None of his three kids succeeds in life and
none of them can cope with the heavy burden of the loss of their mother and their
suffering father. As a result Matty ends up on stage in his sister?s clothes,
Martin cuts off his ear and Kate commits suicide. not being able to be of any
help for his children Seamus Lamb shoots himself. There they are, the tragic
hero and his victims, a desperate final tableau that is sharply contrasted by a
video-representation of the two boys in their childhood days representing an
intact family but already indicating that their father doesn?t really care for
What are the reasons for this holocaust?
In fact Seamus Lamb is only interested in himself. On the surface, seemingly
a rather narcistic personality, permanently trying to be on stage and thus in
the sphere of illusion, he doesn?t care for others. But he himself gives a much
better explanation: By not loving anybody he tries to avoid being hurt. So in
order not to build up an emphatic relationship with his children and his
Nursey, he escapes and stays in an illusionary world that is not even committed
to truth. It is part of his guilt that he applies this strategy to his children
who suffer from it and who consequently are themselves not able to show their
feelings to others or to communicate with others properly. Matty, the albino,
deeply humiliated and insulted by his father doesn?t even try, Martin, who is
related to a girl called Maria, cannot open up himself to her, he also hasn?t
got the strength to control his grief so that a normal social life, having
dinner with friends for example, would be possible. In fact with Maria
communication fails on all levels: the verbal and the physical barrier is
finally shown in an impressive tableau when Maria tries to sleep, not without
having invited Martin to come to her and to be held by her, but he himself
cannot join her, remaining naked at a distance, constantly calling her name.
This is a moment in which two other levels link: Maria, the human being
and Maria, the mother of God whose statue is always on stage, turning her back
to the characters and to the audience. Here Martin calls for Maria, addressing
her in a way the Virgin Maria is addressed, calling her to rescue him. Naturally he cannot get through to the human
On the other hand, in his desperation, he addresses the statue and
blames her of not having rescued her son and even treats and threatens it as if
it were a human being.
The motif of confusion is also found elsewhere in the play:
Seamus presents stories that seem to be true but turn out to be wrong.
He acts the death of Jesus but cannot stand a human pain. Matty is dressed in
his sister?s clothes. Seamus attacks Nursey with sexual atrocities but ?what
(he) really means: (He) loves his wife?. Seamus attacks and humiliates Matty,
but what he really means is that he considers him to be ?his beautiful
This confusion is also underlined by the gigantic attic window that
looks out to the sky.
This symbol of an outlook to heaven is in fact impenetrable. In fact it
is a mirror that just throws back and, by its uneven surface, distorts the
humans who struggle under it trying to overcome their sorrows but being too
weak to succeed: The distorted shape is reflected again in distorted
communication. Instead of offering a heavenly solution it is also used as a
screen, showing pictures from the past or showing Kate?s suicide.
After all there is the question, why the disaster is presented to us!
I think Seamus is a tragic character. Not caring for the family, being
caught by the quest for personal success is something that is perhaps not only a
modern reality. Seamus, the actor, is a victim of the hubris that he can act
away reality, that he can swap reality for imagination. What makes the
character tragic is the fact that he shows (two) moments of insight: When he admits,
after a fit of raging, that he loves his wife and when he addresses his albino
son as ?my beautiful son? after having humiliated him. A tragic hero also
produces victims, well there they are, spread out in front of our eyes at the
end of the play.
Where is the solution? Well, not
from the Virgin Maria whose statue is lying on the floor and definitely not
from above, there is a solid screen between heaven and earth. There is no real solution
indicated on stage, because two moments of insight in what seems to be a
lunatic asylum are not enough to make us believe in the redemptive power of
insight. So the solution must be in the minds of the spectators. If there is
none, no solution is possible. This is the final message of the play and, by
the way, this is typical for a post-modern play.
There is nothing like the solution of the epic theatre, there is no
guided solution that leads to a certain conclusion. Everybody can find his own
answer and if he doesn?t, well, there isn?t any for him.
The performance as such was very impressive, its symbolism clear. The
dramatic concept is convincing.
But why is there this little tiny globe being referred to only once in
the play but permanently on stage? We
have two choices: Either it is a badly presented motif or it is our planet
under the godless sky, just given to us and left to us and left alone and we
are left to ourselves on it and have to find our own answers and ?so we on,
boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.? (F. Scott
Fitzgerald, ?The Great Gatsby?, Schöningh, p. 128)
Dublin Tourism – Dublin Webcam
See Dublin Live – The Dublin Webcam!
Now you can see live video footage of our fair city streamed directly from Dublin to your computer! The Dublin webcam camera pans from O’Connell St Bridge to the famous ha’penny bridge. This live view of Dublin means that you can watch major events, such as the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, pass by, or just spend a little time watching the people of the Fair City of Dublin going about their business!
Please allow 10-15 seconds for our new improved and faster streaming to upload to your PC
[ via: Dublin Tourism – Dublin Webcam ]<!– –>
Theatre: Touching from a distance – Sunday Times – Times Online
The Sunday Times September 24, 2006
Theatre: Touching from a distance
A turkey or a biting commentary about suicide and grief? Gerry McCarthy on Stuart Carolanâ’s new play, Empress of India.
The age of reason is dead and consigned to the dustbin of history. This is the age of feelings, where the heart is more important than the brain and emotional health is taken as the cornerstone of human wellbeing. Ever since Freud, accessing the emotions has been seen as the key to mental well-being. „Don’t tell me what you think,“ we are told, „tell me what you feel.“
Empress of India by Stuart Carolan
Hot on the heels of its recent, sell-out success with the critically acclaimed DruidSynge at New York’s Lincoln Center Festival, Druid returns to Galway’s Town Hall Theatre and Dublin Theatre Festival (at the Abbey Theatre) this Autumn with the world premier of a play by one of Ireland’s most talented young playwrights Stuart Carolan.
[ via: Welcome to the DRUID Theatre Company ]<!– –>
Shelbourne Greyhound Stadium Ltd.,
[ via: Shelbourne Park ]<!– –>
SUNDAY, October 1st
Irish War for Independence/ Easter Rising
The Easter Monday Rising, however, had no such military prospects of success. There was always, of course, the chance that a German success on the Western Front would break through England’s defenses and so allow substantial help to be sent before the Rising was crushed, but this proved a vain hope. On the morning of Easter Monday, April 24th 1916, the Dublin battalions paraded, bearing full arms and one days rations. Shortly after noon, the General Post Office, the Four Courts, three of the railway terminal, along with other important points circling the center of Dublin were rushed and occupied. The Proclamation of the Irish Republic was proudly published on large placards and read out from the steps of the General Post Office:
[ via: Irish 1916 Easter Rising ~ War for Independence – ]<!– –>
Dublin Writers‘ Museum
Dublin is famous as a city of writers and literature, and the Dublin Writers Museum is an essential visit for anyone who wants to discover, explore, or simply enjoy Dublin’s immense literary heritage.
[ via: Dublin Writers Museum ]<!– –>
The Children of Lir
The Children of Lir
where the children of Lir turned into swans (near Mullingar, Co. Westmeath)
Once upon a time, there lived a chieftain in Ireland whose name was Lir. Together with his wife Aev, he had four beautiful children, three sons and one girl. But shortly after the birth of their fourth child, Aev died. As his children needed a mother, Lir married Aev’s sister Aoife.
Aoife was very jealous of Lir’s love for his children and so she made an evil plan.
[ via: The Children of Lir ]<!– –>
MONDAY, October 2nd
Art Work from the Book of Kells
The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript of the Gospel. It was created in Ireland probably around 800 AD. The original manuscript is owned by Trinity College in Ireland where it on display. There are facsimile editions available. Please check out the Book of Kells links for more information about this beautiful manuscript.
[ via: Art Work from the Book of Kells ]<!– –>
Trinity College Library
Trinity College Library is the largest library in Ireland. Its collections of manuscripts and printed books have been built up since the end of the sixteenth century. In addition to the purchases and donations of almost four centuries, since 1801 the Library has had the right to claim all British and Irish publications under the terms of successive Copyright Acts. The bookstock is now over four million volumes and there are extensive collections of manuscripts, maps and music.
Former Houses of Parliament / Bank of Ireland, College Green, Dublin
This was the first purpose built Parliament House in the world and was constructed at a great time of public confidence in Dublin. The original building designed by Pearce (outlined in black below) was constructed between 1729 and 1739 is only part of the existing structure. This consisted of the central section with its huge colonnades. Pearce was actually knighted in the building on the 10 March 1731.
The James Joyce Tower & Museum Sandycove Dun Laoghaire
The James Joyce Tower
The Fortyfoot, Sandycove
The James Joyce Tower was one of a series of Martello towers built to withstand an invasion by Napoleon and now holds a museum devoted to the life and works of James Joyce, who made the tower the setting for the first chapter of his masterpiece, Ulysses.
[via: The James Joyce Tower & Museum Sandycove Dun Laoghaire ]<!– –>
Forty Foot Pool
Just below the Martello tower is the Forty Foot Pool, named after the army’s 40th Foot Regiment, which was stationed nearby. At the close of the first chapter of Ulysses, Buck Mulligan heads to the pool for a morning swim, an activity which is still a local tradition.
[ via: Dublin Travel Guide – Not to miss – Yahoo! Travel UK ]<!– –>
TUESDAY, October 3rd
Powerscourt House and Gardens
Powerscourt is one of Europe’s great treasures and Ireland’s most famous House & Gardens. Gracing the Wicklow mountains, 20km from Dublin city centre, Powerscourt is a heritage property with a surprising difference.
[ via: Powerscourt House & Gardens ]<!– –>
Glendalough: A Virtual Tour
This virtual tour is a continuation of Celtic Monasticism: History and Spiruality. Visitors who have not visited that site may want to review these materials, and especially the discusion of the holy sites on which monasteries were built.
[ via: Glendalough: A Virtual Tour ]<!– –>
WEDNESDAY, October 4th
Kilmainham Jail, a short report
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Posted by Kate Bierma at 04:50 PM
On Sunday seven of us found the Kimainham jail after a long, enjoyable, post lunch trek. We were able to go on a guided tour through the jail built in 1792. We learned that it was decommisioned in 1924 after many years of being a part of Irelandâ??s troubled history. Early in the tour we sat in the old chapel where our guide gave us an overview of the jail’s history. His lovely Irish accent, knowledge, and passion for the subject allowed the stories to become very real. At one point in his presesentation he explained how one of the men involved in the 1916 Easter rising got married in the very chapel we were sitting in. He and his bride were married, had ten minutes together, and then he was executed.
[ via: Northern Ireland: Conflict & Reconciliation ]<!– –>
Irish Museum of Modern Art: Welcome to IMMA | Irish Museum of Modern Art
The Irish Museum of Modern Art is Ireland’s leading national institution for the collection and presentation of modern and contemporary art. The Museum presents a wide variety of art in a dynamic programme of exhibitions, which regularly includes bodies of work from its own Collection and its award-winning Education and Community Department. It also creates more widespread access to art and artists through its Studio and National programmes.
Guinness Storehouse, Guinness brewery, Guinness factory
GUINNESS STOREHOUSE is Ireland’s No. 1
international visitor attraction. Our staff will
be pleased to welcome you and bring alive
a real segment of Irish history.
[ via: http:// http://www.guinness-storehouse.com/<!– –>
The Mummies of St. Michan’s
One of Dublin’s more unusual attractions has to be St. Michan’s Church. Named after a Danish Bishop, it was for five hundred years the only parish church in Dublin north of the River Liffey. Founded around 1095 by the Danish colony in Oxmanstown and located near the Four Courts, the present building dates from about 1685 when it was rebuilt to serve a more prosperous congregation in an area created by Sir Humphrey Jervis. Historians believe the church may have been designed by Sir William Robinson, Ireland’s Surveyor General (1645 – 1712).
[ via: The Mummies of St. Michan’s ]<!– –>
THURSDAY October 5th
Newgrange Ireland – Megalithic Passage Tomb – World Heritage Site
The Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was built about 3200 BC. The kidney shaped mound covers an area of over one acre and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 19 metre long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. It is estimated that the construction of the Passage Tomb at Newgrange would have taken a work force of 300 at least 20 year
Observer | Orange march sparks Dublin riots
Orange march sparks Dublin riots
Henry McDonald, Ireland editor in Dublin
Sunday February 26, 2006
The first loyalist march in Dublin since Partition had to be rerouted after thousands of republican protesters rioted in the centre of the Irish capital yesterday, with several Irish police among 40 people injured.
The main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street, became a battle zone as up to 2,000 rioters tore up building materials being used in major renovation work in the road and hurled them at Irish police. Shops and hotels closed their doors, and at least three Irish police were taken to hospital as rioters hurled scaffolding poles, bricks, slates and rocks at their lines.
[ via: Observer | Orange march sparks Dublin riots ]<!– –>
Studienfahrt Dublin 2006
Das ist ein vorläufiger Plan. Verschiebungen im Rahmen des Aufenthalts sind möglich.
Ankunft und Tansfer zum Avalon House Anfkunft etwa 13:30 Uhr
Walk from Avalon House to the Writer´s Museum passing
Stephen´s Green, Grafton Street, General Post Office, Gardens
Guided tour at the Writers Museum at 15.30 Uhr (45 minutes).
10:00 Uhr: The Dublin Experience, Multimediashow on the history
of Dublin (probably already closed in October instead: the first
Irish Parliament), Trinity College,
Book of Kells, Trinity College Library,
Trip to Sandycove from Pearse Station, Joyce Tower, walk along
Outing: daytrip to Glendalough, Wicklow Mountains (old monastery in a beautiful countryside)
Walk to Kilmainham Jail, (12.00 Uhr) guided tour.
Visit to the Dublin Museum of Modern Art
St Michans Church (spooky)
Evening: greyhound racing Shelbourne Park
Outing to Newgrange, Boyne Valley
Back to HD in the afternoon