Wow, my first ever St Patrick's Day in Ireland! Dublin, to be exact. The sky stopped crying just at the right time, long enough for the traditional parade to take place without the risk of everything getting smudged. I had a wonderful view of the floats and performers, thanks to the fact that they passed just beneath the window of my hotel room in Parnell Square. Here's a taste of some of the sights, while I work on a little video presentation for later:
But St Patrick's Day was special for another reason: I was invited to have dinner with the poet and blogger Barbara Smith. My very first blogmeetle, which came with a delicious vegetarian meal (I am such a pain when it comes to my meatlessness)! It was a real delight to meet Barbara and some of her family. She was exactly how I imagined she would be: warm, funny and generous in spirit. What a treat it all was, and Barbara and her husband even showed me around some of their beautiful countryside. March 17, 2008, will stay in my memory for a very long time.
I got a fair amount of writing done while I was in Dublin: the skeleton for a short story, a poem and about five pages towards my novel. My new fountain pen was such a pleasure to use, as I soaked up all the energy and charm that my father's city has to offer. I read quite a bit as well.
There was also a great exhibition on the life of W.B.Yeats at the National Library, with fascinating copies of his drafts and notes on numerous poems. I always find it interesting to see how great poets edit their own work, to see the before and after. It was also a treat to hear Seamus Heaney and Sinead O'Connor read out some of Yeats' poems.
Just down the road, at Trinity College, I finally got a chance to see the Book of Kells. Whenever I'd gone to see these old treasures in the past I'd always been put off by the long queues; this time, though, on a Tuesday, there was virtually no one around. What a strange silence and feeling of deep awe to at last see these books up close!
There was some good news and bad news on my return to Lyon. The computer has been fixed and no personal data has been lost. Whew! I thought I'd lost about 15 unsaved pages of my novel. But no, they're all there. Apparently the power hub overheated.
I've also discovered there's a new little chocolate shop just opened in the street beneath our building. Mmmmmm. Handmade. Delicious-looking. I will probably give in to the daily, excruciating temptations. I mean, I've got to support local business, right?
The bad news is that we have no internet or television connection. We don't know why and they say they're on to it. It's been two days. I'm writing this post in an internet café and I won't even begin to tell you how difficult it's been to post this with the photos. So, in the meantime, sorry if I am tardy in my blog visits and my answering of emails and messages.