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Thanksgiving Day in Dublin, Ireland

Updated on January 31, 2019
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Richard F. Fleck spent six months in Ireland with his family while doing research on sabbatical leave at Trinity College Library, Dublin.

Trinity College Library 1972

Trinity College Library, Dublin
Trinity College Library, Dublin

Dublin during Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving Day in Dublin, Ireland

I took a six-month sabbatical leave in Ireland a number of years ago. My family and I stayed at my wife's old homestead in the Irish countryside. I would frequently take the train from nearby Dundalk to Dublin to stay with my wife's relatives on Phibsboro Road in Dublin, not too far from Trinity College where I did research on Thoreau's influence on Irish writers during Ireland's quest for independence.

It just so happened that on the American Thanksgiving holiday, I found myself doing research at Trinity College Library in the Long Room (see image). I didn't think much about the fact that I would not be with family and friends sitting down to a Thanksgiving turkey dinner.

I requested a number of books to look through for my research that were brought to my desk in the Long Room. As I read through pertinent sections of each book and took notes, I looked up into the seeming miles of shelves of classic, musty old volumes and thought it was quite novel that a library should be open on Thanksgiving Day. But of course, there is no Thanksgiving Day in Ireland, nor any other European country. Nonetheless, I got a kick out of working on what was for me Thanksgiving Day.

But as the day wore on with the tolling each hour of the Trinity College bell, I grew hungrier and hungrier. I left my books on the table and walked out into the streets of Dublin looking for a restaurant. When I found a suitable place to eat, I sat down and looked at the menu. No turkey dinner! So, I ordered sausage and chips with malted vinegar and a cup of hot tea. Somehow, it didn't quite do it. I had a sudden rush of homesickness and felt miserable and lonely as I ate my sausage and chips.

I tried not to think about joyous Thanksgiving dinners with family and friends near a crackling log fire not unlike those of the pilgrims in the old Massachusetts Bay Colony. Oh how I missed it all as I left the restaurant and walked out into a heavy rain under grey skies and trudged back to my pile of books at Trinity College Library feeling like Jonah in the whale's belly.

Be Truly thankful this Thanksgiving when you sit down to a turkey dinner and pumpkin pie with family and friends!!


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