|At last - a proud moment!|
|Martin with his proud parents!|
|Ghosts of the past in DIT Aungier St.|
This ceremony took place in St. Patrick's Cathedral in the heart of old Viking Dublin. The church dates back to St. Patrick but the building dates back to 1192. DIT use it as a venue for their graduation ceremonies which makes sense as they don't have a single campus - rather they are scattered around the city with their different faculties in the old Technology Colleges - Bolton Street was Martin's college for the MA year, and that was the old Bolton St. Tech.
The Cathedral was packed with the graduates from a number of courses and their families and it was a majestic setting for such a traditional and ancient ceremony. The only downside compared to more conventional venues like the University of Limerick Concert Hall where we had youngest son's Conferral in August is that the view isn't the best. Like any church, depending on where you're seated, the view can be good or mediocre - or downright bad if it's obstructed. We were not too bad but the dim light made photos quite a challenge and we got none of the actual parchment ceremony - and could only see it on the TV screens strategically placed around the Cathedral.
|DIT Aungier St./Old Jacob's Factory|
Walking through the Cathedral afterwards gave us a chance to play tourist for a bit - I am a tad embarrassed that I have never visited the place despite living in the city for all my student years and intermittently over the following 20+ years. So I got quite a buzz seeing the ancient monuments and the links with the great and the good of Dublin - Jonathan Swift of Gulliver's Travels fame is its most famous incumbent - as Dean of St. Patrick's he achieved fame when he wrote that great satire about a traveller in the land of tiny Lilliputians and gigantic Brobdingnagians that is still popular today.
|Seasonal Pumpkin Soup|
Douglas Hyde is commemorated in a plaque - first President of Ireland whose funeral was held in the Cathedral. It's ironic that most of his government were barred from going to his funeral service as Catholics were forbidden to attend Protestant services until the 1960s! Erskine Childers, the fourth President of Ireland (I used my vote first time ever to vote for him!) also had his funeral here and his daughter Nessa Childers is a Labour MEP.
|Prawn Sandwich with Chips|
I was delighted to see there was a Lismore link too - the huge Boyle Monument was erected by Lismore Castle's erstwhile owner, Richard Boyle, the Earl of Cork, as a tribute and memorial to his wife and 15 children. He bought Lismore Castle from Sir Walter Raleigh when the latter was in prison for high treason. He was the father of Robert Boyle, the scientist of "Boyle's Law" fame, who was born in the Castle. I'll pass on the aesthetics of the monument - suffice to say it probably reflects the man's ego and ye olde Englishe certainly poses a challenge and makes you wonder about languages' evolution.
|Martin and his classmates before the graduation|
|Main Altar in St. Patrick's Cathedral|
|St.Patrick's Cathedral during Ceremony|
|Father and Son with that parchment!|
|With the proud parents on campus DIT|
|William and his proud parents in UL Aug. 2010|
Woolshed Baa and Grill - an Aussie-themed place with a nice twist in the title!
Going home we took the new M9 to Waterford as a change from the M8 to Cork - they've just bypassed every town between Naas and Waterford and thanks to having had a Minister (Martin Cullen recently retired) from Waterford they got away with a toll-free ride all the way. There's a toll on the wonderful new bypass cable bridge over the River Suir that divides Kilkenny and Waterford - and the locals wit and hurling rivalry is reflected in the nicknames it has to date - they call it the Cat Flap in Waterford (homage to Kilkenny cats, an age-old name for the people from that county) and in Kilkenny they dub it the Liam McCarthy after the All-Ireland Hurling Cup which always bypasses Waterford on its way to Kilkenny - even though they didn't get their 5-in-a-row this year - Tipperary beat them in Croke Park last month.
|Cable Bridge on River Suir in Waterford (the Cat Flap)|
|William's Graduation in UL August 2010|
|Autumn on the M9 to Waterford|
Times like this and you get a respite from the relentless misery on the airwaves and celebrate the important things in life - family, children's achievements and the opportunity to spend time together while the kids are still around.
The way the country's going with no work for new grads like two of our sons, there's every chance they'll be forced into emigration - a far cry from the voluntary exile I chose in my youth when I wanted adventure in a pre-Gap Year era, combined with some saving-the-world altruism.
Fast forward a few decades and little did I know then what would be coming down the tracks - we're very lucky in so many ways and have to keep that perspective in view - I hope we'll weather the storm and come out the other side despite the prophets of doom.