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Reflections on Dublin

I step out of Connolly Station into the grey streets of Dublin, the same streets immortalised by James Joyce almost one hundred years ago. Every time I visit the city I am struck by its intense openness. There are no masks, no touristy façades here (well, perhaps one or two); instead, the city chooses to reveal itself as it is – grey and green, damp yet cheery – to everyone who asks for it, tourists and residents alike.

Today, we are going to the National Gallery. It’s not yet half past ten in the morning and the gallery – just a stone’s throw away from busy Grafton Street – is quiet, populated only by a few keen art fans. We pause to pick up a map as we enter, only to be told by the woman at the desk that there’s no need for one. Instead, she directs us to the exhibition of Irish artists and the Turner watercolours displayed on the top floor, and wishes us a pleasant day.
We start our journey on the first floor, which takes us through the bloody history of Ireland painting by painting.…

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