Besides being terrified for much of this visit, I'm really glad I had the opportunity to go. I felt like a house cat lost in the forest - all by myself in a strange country for the first time with only the foggiest idea of where I was going. The plane arrived around 4am, so I had to wait around the empty airport for hours and then take a bus to where I took another bus to out into the countryside. By afternoon I got dropped off with my suitcase on a little village street with a phone number to call for the local taxi. Which actually showed up, to my great relief and surprise. Then, it was a crazy drive down a winding path through a forest at high speed. Then, at last my destination.
Everyone else was either from Ireland or England. They had no idea how this grandmother from the American midwest ended up at the event, but I felt incredibly welcome.
Two images from Dublin - this magnificent fountain/statue of horses in front of the Irish Life building, and this little vegetarian snake eating a bite of apple at the National Art Museum (Adam and Eve by William Barry)