Mary Sheehan Coming Home To Cook

July 15, 2008

Liam, Fidel and Nelson

Filed under: on the road — admin @ 12:07 pm

What a glorious day to be hoofing it around Dublin. It was sunny and warm with a light breeze. Keeping our fingers crossed this continues for my little break at the beach! I met good friend and former Dub Judy B. who was toting her little suitcase on wheels. We filled it full of books and headed out. After visiting many bookshops and food shops where the owners/managers were out we finally hit on a live one.   Jack Irwin at Down to Earth Health Foods on George’s St. was engaging and fun and even though they don’t really sell books he took 10 and promised to promote them.  The next stop was Connolly Books on East Essex St. As their business card says this is “Ireland’s Oldest Radical Bookshop.”  They sell books on Irish History, Politics and Culture. So, being an Old Radical myself, I figured, why not? Sean was happy to take Coming Home to Cook athough I think it’s the only cookbook in the shop! I assured him that it was certainly political as my grandfather, Diarmuid O’Siochain,  was arrested in Kenmare, of sedition for passing out anti-conscription leaflets to young Irishmen in 1905. For those of you who need a brief Irish history lesson, the Crown was coercing Irishmen to fight in their foreign wars. Obviously, as Ireland was still a British occupied country there was a huge movement against this.  But, being a Sheehan and living up to the meaning of our name – O’Siochain means Peace- my grandfather decided to act and was arrested and put on trial in Tralee.     Ok, back to Connolly’s, in walks Harry, a 1st generation Dub (you’re a blow in anywhere in Ireland unless you’ve been in the county for 7 generations.) The craic began  when he heard the cover picture is cousin Laim Roche from Cork.    Or, as he says, “the Republic of Cork. There’s 2 Irelands – Cork and the rest of us. They still have real resentment towards Dublin for being the capital of the Republic.  We usurped it without even knowing it.” On and on, all in good fun. Sean put the book on the front shelf next to the new big hardcover books of Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela and Harry took a picture of me next to it. Diarmuid  would be proud!  We had lunch across the street at a little cafe and sat outside and soaked up the sun. Judy’s friend Joe joined us and we talked about Turin, Italy where we are hoping to go in October for the Slow Food Festival’s biannual Salon Gusto    Over to Fallon & Byrne a wonderful gourmet food shop with a restaurant and wine bar that made me feel like I was back in NYC.   Susan, the store manager, graciuosly took 25 copies! Up Dublin! She’s going to promote it, put it in the window, and I’m going to send her the press release and a point of sale flyer.   Across the charming Ha’Penny bridge to the Winding Stairs bookshop where Regan took the book to add to his wonderful bookshop that is a Dublin landmark  with a restaurant upstairs overlooking the river.                                                                                             I find Dublin to be a charming city but I was apprehensive as to the reception I would get. All I hear lately about Dublin is that it’s crowded, dirty, the traffic is terrible…..but it was good to me and as Judy says “It’s still Ireland” So, the generosity and warmth continues. The narrow cobblestone tree lined streets, the bridges, the monuments, statues and architecture is inspiring. I was glad that we passed  the Garden of Remembrance. There is  a magnificent sculpture beneath the Irish Flag, facing pools of water and colorful, lush flowers beds.  It is the official monument to “Those who Lost Their Lives For Ireland’s Freedom.”   

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