Kevin Myers very kindly invited me to his Dublin lunch to celebrate his defamation win over RTE, the Irish State broadcaster, for calling him a Holocaust Denier. (In 2017 just two days after his controversial Sunday Times piece I defended Kevin against absurd and ignorant accusations of antisemitism – including by Gideon Falter – Chair of the Campaign Against Antisemitism – who has still failed to apologise).
Although RTE briefly apologised for the defamation it never repeated the apology and never reported it on any RTE news bulletins. The Irish Times, though fully informed of the apology and the legal and financial settlement, did not report a single word.
See this terrific video of the lunch – especially Kevin’s heartfelt speech – made by Karl Martin who began the legal process that led to the legal victory.
The other guests were fascinating and like-minded. I was lucky enough to be sat next to Mary Kenny the columnist. I remembered her from the Evening Standard, now she writes inter alia for The Oldie and the Irish Independent. Her new book is called ‘The Way We Were’. Before sitting down I met Maurice Cohen who heads the Jewish Community (we discussed Noa Tishby’s brilliant book) as well as Kevin’s mother and many others.
I took the opportunity to look round Dublin for a couple of days – it’s a fascinating city and the weather was glorious. Dublin’s tram/light rail systemis called ‘Luas’. I was trying to work out the acronym for ages — until I learned that ‘Luas’ is the Gaelic word for ‘Speed’ …
Recommended in Dublin:
- The Premier Inn in South Great George Street (the entrance is in Stephen Street Lower).
- The Museum of Emigration in the Docklands area.
- Jameson Distillery
- Shouk restaurant
- Little Museum of Dublin
- St Stephen’s Green
- The Chester Beatty collection
In the Museum of Emigration there’s a video of Isaac Herzog, Israel’s President, addressing the UN General Assembly. Herzog’s father was born in Ireland. His paternal grandfather was the first Chief Rabbi of Ireland (1922 to 1935). It’s a lovely Museum which tells the story of Irish expats and the Irish culture (eg music) they brought with them.
The building of Jameson Distillery has been repurposed, with a wonderful open plan bar.
The ‘Little Museum of Dublin’ is in a Georgian house in St Stephen’s Green. A lovely Museum of the history of Dublin, including a whole room devoted to the band U2.
Loads of history that I hadn’t known: O’Connell printed election leaflets in Yiddish; the Magdalene Laundries (in the 1950s Ireland locked up 1% of its population); there was a statue of Nelson which was blown up by Republicans in 1966, the 50th Anniversary of the Easter Rising – replaced by The Spire). The guide was excellent. The Museum is run jointly with a Museum in Northern Ireland. It doesn’t gloss over Ireland’s appalling ‘neutrality’ in WW2. There are even five model ducks to represent the ducks killed in the Easter Rising during clashes in St Stephen’s Green.
After the Museum I walked around St Stephen’s Green, which is beautiful. There are many memorials to the volunteers in the 1916 Rising – the Green saw fierce fighting. I looked into the beautiful Shelbourne Hotel (I did a work presentation and stayed there nearly 30 years ago).
A friend had recommended the Chester Beatty collection of manuscripts, rare books, and other treasures from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. It is indeed magnificent – beautiful books and manuscripts. Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875 – 1968) was born in the US and trained as a mining engineer. He made his fortune in the Gold Rush. He moved to London, assisting Churchill during WW2. But Attlee won the postwar 1947 election and hit Beatty with a huge tax demand. Disgusted he moved to Ireland (he had Irish grandfathers).
Back to Kevin Myers … “Fuck the Lynch-Mob!” ……. Yes I’ll drink to that ….