Friday, 13 July 2018

Museum Mission (Dublin): Malahide castle








"If someone brushes past you or gently pulls your hair, it is the ghost", our guide said. The lanyard of my camera so brushed a lady's shoulder, making her jump a little. "I thought it was the ghost", she told me in confidence. (In economic terms - should one give discount or add to the price if you know there is an active ghost on the premises?)
One of my favourites: a door to which the key has been lost for 300 years, according to the guide a reflection of Irish fast proceedings. Had we been able to open it, we could see a pedestal, which is tilted to reveal a staircase underneath. It leads to a hiding place for the priest. Why a hiding place like this has no exit, the guide jokingly thought, depends on the lack of money. I choose to believe that there indeed can be an exit, maybe into the garden.
These historical chairs were used to discuss important matter: Margaret Thatcher would sit on the left and prominent guests to the right. The malahide colour of the walls were supposed to make ladies get very eager to own the same on clothes and belongings.
A vacation for the nobility could easily last for five years. A minimum was two years, three the average. Furniture found during the travels would be shipped home and refurnished later - and to brag about what one had seen and experienced, details like a pineapple, which few others had seen - was put at display and of course brought up for discussion. Our guide successfully played a scene with one of the visitors as volunteer, claiming that others might mistake the pineapple for a cabbage and assuring the other that, I dare say, mister, one has not lived until you have tried a pineapple!
It is good to know that by car, you get here in a quarter of an hour from the airport. I tried my luck with the buses, from a hotel at the airport, and it took me almost three hours. Best bus is the 42, not the 32. In the taxi back - I didn't want to risk missing my flight - I told the driver how much cheaper it is to acquire a castle than one might think. He, in turn, told me about a bloke who would take the bus to Trinity College every day and was rich enough to decline the offer of 55,000,000 € for his house. "Who made him the offer?" "A building company. They obviously wanted the land." "Well, the most important thing is that he is happy."

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