Faces of St. Patrick (Reflections on my Grandfather.)

The hats were the same ones I saw at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York  9 years ago but instead of obnoxiously drunk teenagers these were mostly well mannered young people enjoying the Sunday of Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Festival.  There were hats, face painting, performances, puppet shows, Brian Boru’s Bouncy Castle, and a St. Patrick’s samba line.  Many revelers were wearing “Who’s you Paddy” hats.

We got in this morning and didn’t want to miss anything.  Of course we did because we missed the first two days of the festival, it started Friday, and there was too much ground to cover.  But we enjoyed the afternoon on Marian Square, at Trinity College, on Grafton Street and at the Customs’ house.

We are staying at the Clontarf Castle hotel about two miles outside Dublin.  I first came here with my grandfather and developed an abiding love of jazz.  We stayed at a B&B nearby and took dinner here with live jazz.  I knew jazz from the radio, I listened to everything, I was the radio kid, but hearing it, live, not performed by my junior high friends, taught me a lot about subtlety and the interaction between musicians that junior high jazz, or AM radio could not, even thought I listened to Charlie Parker and Lester Young live from Birdland on Symphony Sid as long as I could stay awake.  They were broadcasting from  a Jazz club and here I was, a jazz club with my grandfather.  Tonight Suzi and I sat in a lounge that used to be a courtyard, it is glassed over now and the outer walls of the castle are the inner walls of the lounge. But we are listening to Jazz.  We went into the room where I first heard it live, it still has the bay window and, I wager, I could still get bangers and mash.  This is the room where I first tasted Guinness.

St. Patrick’s day was always a big thing for my grandfather Brew.  He believed Brew was a corruption of Boru, as in Brian Boru the high king of Ireland. (Ok scholars disagree, but who do you believe, scholars or grandpa?)  King Brian met his fate 1000 years ago next month,  right here in Clontarf, near the well around which this castle was built 100 years later.  I think that is why he wanted to stay here.   He was raised in the West of Ireland and in 75 years this was his first foray to the capital.   I know that is why we are staying here tonight.   Today I am thinking of him and somehow see his face in the faces on this page.

Suzi and I each took 12 if these pictures.

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