A full weekend in Dublin

I often have to travel at the week-end but this time I could stay in Dublin. It was a great mix and one that makes me realise how lucky I am to have some time free in Ireland. Well not too free. Saturday morning I was at my desk until forced to leave because the building closes at noon (no exceptions for anybody!). There were slides to prepare for a talk next week, a summary to be made of the 50+ submissions sent to me in my role as a member of the Innovation Task Force, which was established by the Taoiseach, and a further document to be written on proposals for the same group arising from my own view of that world. All of those boxes got ticked and dispatched.

But the tricky bit was to fit that in with my non-professional interests. There was the Ireland Cyprus soccer game to be seen and analysed. We won but were very poor. The long ball hoofed out by Packy Bonner might have rescued us when in dire straits some years back, but when it is the only ‘tactic’ used, then even I could see that the opposition should be able to organize to null its effect.

And then there was the pain of Leinster losing having played ok and the embarrassment of Munster losing playing dreadfully. Their scrummaging seemed to be modeled on that of the Lions in the first test in South Africa and that is a poor mould to use…….more pain will follow and the collective that is the Irish team will have to work very hard to repeat last years heroics. With recording somethings, even I can manage that today, and then fast forwarding through the slow bits, all events got fitted in. As did the All Ireland hurling final and there were no boring bits there; a great game. I had been at the Tipp Limerick semi final and Tipp had that sewn up in ten minutes, so it was hard to see how good they were….and they made it a real match in the final. Kilkenny know how to win, as if it their right…just like See the Stars (that’s an amazing horse for those that are not sport addicts like me) who was stunning at Leopardstown.

I did not see them but suffered the pain of Connacht Rugby losing, Galway United losing and Sligo Rovers only getting a draw when more is needed. On Saturday night, I went to the last performance of the Noel Coward play, Present Laughter in the Gate Theatre. Fantastic acting by all involved, just as has been the case every time I have gone to the Gate. And Sunday night was music with Mendelssohn and Mussorgsky in the National Concert Hall with the Leipzig Orchestra. Again magical moments.

Add to all of that an inspiring talk by Garret FitzGerald (the medical scientist) on Friday night to students and ‘the general public’ in Alexandra College and the pleasure of cooking for oneself, when too often I have to be at working dinners, plus just enough dry time to treat the poor outdoor table that has suffered from neglect and it occurred to me that living in Ireland and Dublin can be great. But perhaps that was because I did not get involved in debates about NAMA, the Lisbon vote or the return on investment in research!

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