Back home from Dublin

Taxi Driver: Pearse Street to airport and home

He does not drink coffee, never had a Guinness, but likes Heinekin. He asked why I was in Dublin. I told him about outsourcing an operation to India. Silence. He wanted to know if we pay reasonable wages in India. I told him. He had a story: Two weeks ago, a group of Irish sailors facing layoff took over their ship and shut themselves in the engine room. They were being replaced by Philippine workers. When it was over, he said, the sailors had won €250,000 each in a redundancy package and - he was very emotional about this - they had forced a promise from their management to pay the Philippinos who were displacing them, the hourly minimum wage of €8, against the rumored €3. He had another story about a Philippine lady working as a manicurist on a ship. She was fired last summer, so the Irish seamen on that ship pooled money for her and then protested to the management, who paid €10,000 and tendered an apology. Immigrant stories: A Pakistani lad of immigrant shopkeeper-parents in Limerick complained recently on television that the number of foreigners in Ireland has increased lately! I gave good listening, and as I got off, got good smiles and many good wishes.

Dublin airport

The sun was shining on the tarmac. And contrasting with rainy yesterday, my sightseeing day, nary a cloud in sight! The shortened blades of mowed-down grass were glinting in the sun; the wind was ruffling them and as the plane began to roll, they looked like a million hands all waving goodbye. Goodbye, Ireland! It was a very good visit, even if only for three days. Your people were good to me. I received insights into your history, meditated on your martyrs, enjoyed the sun on O’Connell street, the drizzle in St. Stephen’s green, gazed at your students at Trinity college, jostled with the crowds on Dame Street and am still disturbed about Kilmainham gaol. I am leaving with the prospect of good business with a nice customer here, and hence with hope that I shall return often.