I’ve been sifting through memories and stories since being asked to talk about My favourite meeting place in Dublin. Where do I like to spend time with people most? Is it an old fashioned Dublin pub? Not all for the pints… well a bit for the pints, but because of a love of all things old and character filled, like O’Donoghue’s or Kehoe’s, popped among the pathways in a modern day city. Donnybrook stadium where I first watched Leinster play? The RDS? Lansdowne Road (no Aviva here)? Croke Park? Some theatre, rehearsal hall, café or restaurant? I’ve got a big thing for bus stations, train stations, harbours and airports due to the energy they have, and the feeling when a familiar face comes in to view there or when I set foot in one to go and visit someone or someplace. Jesus, it shouldn’t be this hard.
The usuals come to mind, but recently I’ve been sticking closer to home. On Saturday morning sometimes well rested and sometimes poorly rested, but with the weather fine I’ll head for Bushy Park market. The stalls appear in the morning like tents along a path that cuts through the park, almost hidden by trees… Like an elves village. We stroll through them stopping to see what’s on offer: crafts, books. fresh food, fresh air and fresh tea. But it’s more than that, children run and laugh, the rest of us can chat, walk, and stretch out on the grass, while a guitar is played under a tree. There might be some dogs poking around and saying hello, looking for a bite of your sandwich. One particular day a Gaelic football match started, we watched it eating, laughing and hearing the music that came from the stalls… But there’s always one supporter / parent who thinks it’s the All Ireland Final. More and more people, families, couples, groups of friends, lone people having personal time gathered, sat down and took a small break for themselves. I find it a fantastic place to settle down in an open space and then to explore more of the land, and areas of the park that can hand you some peace of mind.
It’s simple but it’s relaxing and peaceful so I like it. The music played is soft and we can take in the atmosphere of people enjoying their life at that moment of the day. I love the buzz there of people getting outside and people being active, chatting with a smile, running, laughing, observing. The buzz of people not acting in a hurry but spending time with those they love away from the crowds in the centre of town and away from the madness… It’s simple enough but that’s my favourite meeting place in Dublin.