|Dublin, Day 4, or "How to get to 'Hoht'"
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
The next day, after our Irish breakfast, we are unpleasantly surprised to find that both the weather report we viewed on rising was grossly inaccurate and that the DART from Connolly Road to all the northern destinations is closed for the entire weekend. The rain soaks into our clothes and luggage and defies our attempts to ward it off by blowing at us at angles so acute I can't understand how the water came to fall from the sky. With dampness comes an increasing desire to do nothing but sit in a pub all day. Still, we soldier on to the bus stop to go to Howth (pronounced "Hoht"). We want to see the countryside, or at least as close as we can get to it in an afternoon, before we leave Ireland.
We are not dressed warmly enough to walk along the cliffs, but we do stand for a few minutes while the wind bites at us to take in the view. A few yachts are out on the choppy water and we watch their sails billow and twist. We begin to walk back into the village when Marco sees a tiny road leading up to a squat round tower on the cliffside. A tiny sign points up to it which reads "Museum of Vintage Radio, Open Sat & Sun only November to April." We go, of course.
The museum, whose full name is "Ye Olde Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio," turns out to be a one-man operation, assembled with much love and deliberately not advertised in tour books. He says he likes to give each visitor a personal tour. After Marco gets going on the history of competitive speaker design while we're looking at the early crystal radios, he warms to us even more. He points out his rarer acquisitions with great pride and he plays us an Elvis record on a 1900s gramophone with a big green bell. We admire the workmanship on the 1930s models, when radio was as important a piece of furniture in a household as the sofa. He points at a blank space on a shelf and tells us that the radio that normally resides there is an early portable shaped like a ladies' handbag, which he's loaned out for a film (pronounced "fil-um"). He shows us an early set of 3D photographs, with the viewer and all, of the factory that made some of the earliest gramophone speakers. We are delighted. We rejoice with a late, light lunch at the Abbey Tavern, next to St Mary's Abbey and graveyard. The ambiance is welcoming, since the pub has real fires going and is almost entirely candle-lit. The dessert, a pear and almond tart with fresh cream and ice cream, is definitely the winner. We trudge back to the soggy bus stop. Marco falls asleep on the ride back into Dublin and I fall asleep on the Airlink bus to the airport.