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The Marker Hotel, Dublin

The spectacular geometric design at the new Marker Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Lansing.

The circle is complete. We’re back in Dublin where we began. Only now the sun is out. Thank god. Has there ever been a wetter, colder summer in Ireland? All the papers talk about how far behind the farmers are. “The strawberry crop is at least three weeks behind.” I shouldn’t think there will be any Irish tomatoes this year. Not unless you grow them in a hot house. Just not enough season left.

And after all the ancient castles and country homes we’ve stayed in on this trip, we end up in Dublin in one of the newest, sleekest, chic hotels I’ve ever stayed in: The Dublin Marker in Grand Canal Square which just opened a few months ago. Bonus feature: Our bedroom window looks across the street at the penthouse of U2s The Edge. Someone’s staying there at the moment, but it definitely doesn’t look like The Edge. Not unless The Edge has gained a hundred pounds, died his hair blonde, and is now a woman.

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The concierge at The Fitzwilliam

Tony, the concierge at The Fitzwilliam in Dublin. Photo by David Lansing.


When we arrived in Dublin arrangements had been made for a driver to pick us up at the airport. My instructions said we were to “Meet driver at Yellow Structure outside baggage claim.” The Yellow Structure being a very tall and obvious piece of abstract art. So we collected our bags, found the Yellow Structure, and waited. But our driver never showed.


This has been bothering me ever since so this morning when I came down to breakfast and saw Tony, the concierge at The Fitzwilliam, I asked him if he’d ring up the company that was supposed to collect us and find out what happened. Tony was happy to oblige.


I stood on the opposite side of Tony’s desk in the lobby as he made the phone call. This is how it went:


Tony: “This is Tony at The Fitzwilliam and we have a guest staying here, a Mr. Lansing, who was supposed to get picked up by someone from your service at the airport. He says the fella never showed.”


Long pause. Tony rolls his eyes a bit and then covers the phone with his hand.


Tony says to me, “They say the driver was there and waited for 45 minutes.”


Me: “That’s impossible. Our flight was right on time and we got our bags and stood at the Yellow Structure for 20 minutes.”


Tony relays this information to the person on the line. He listens for a few minutes and then covers the phone with his hand again. “The idgit says you never showed up. Should I tell ‘im whatfor?”


Before I can say anything, Tony is back on the phone with the idgit explaining that Mr. Lansing was most assuredly at the Yellow Structure as instructed waiting for almost an hour for a driver who, no doubt, lost track of time while enjoying a second or third Guinness at the pub and it’s a shame, really a shame, that they even license businesses such as theirs because don’t they know it gives a black eye to all of Dublin and surely he, Tony, will never recommend them to any guest staying at The Fitzwilliam. And then he hangs up.


His face red, his brow sweating, Tony smiles at me and says, “Is there anythin’ else I can do for you, Mr. Lansing?”

I think Tony and I are going to be great friends during our stay here.

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View of St. Stephen's from The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Dublin

The view from my room at The Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Lansing.


A full day of travel yesterday and then I’m in Dublin, a chatty taxi driver explaining to me why he has to take the long way around St. Stephen’s Green to get me to my hotel, The Fitzwilliam.

“They make us go this way,” he says as we pass Trinity College and then the bronze replica of Molly Malone—the tart with the cart, as Dubliners call her.

I hum the song to myself: In Dublin’s Fair City/Where the girls are so pretty/I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone/As she wheel’d her wheel barrow/Through streets broad and narrow/Crying cockles and mussels alive, alive o!

 And then we are here, at the Fitzwilliam, a doorman in gray top coat and hat rushing out to open the taxi door. And it hits me with sadness and remembrance, this Dublin smell: wet, dusty, green, with a tinge of smoke painted over everything.

Minutes later I’m in my room, which is too hot and closed up. I push open the window, stick a hand out just as it starts raining, look out over the fullness of Stephen’s Green, the boiling black clouds, Dubliners in the street hustling about, dashing to get out of the late May downpour.

I’m home again in Ireland.

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