Numb fingertips. A cold heart. A throbbing headache. Two missed trains, a bus that does not come. A drunk man in the LUAS swears at me, loud and accusing. The museum is a former military barrack. Grey and equal are the bricks, lined up in a row as the generations of soldiers, who stood either in the rain or in the sun on the parade ground, probably dreaming themselves far away, to a better, a brighter, a beautiful place. So we go and look at the silver.And silver they have. Silver made in Dublin or Cork. Gravyboats with a heron as handle, silver brought as dowry by a young woman into a man’s house. And what do we know of the past, of the lady, who looked at the heavy silver- framed mirror, balancing out if this man would be the one, she dreamed of in the long, dull summer days or if she would soon realize that he preferred an older women, with heavy pearls and silk robes, two country houses further down the field? Silver treasure boxes tell the story of the brown envelopes and much more appropriate do they appear, even if their nature and aim- bribery- did not change at all and what do we know of those, who took the money or declined it? What do we know of the priest’s pride who commissioned a set of new chalices? Was it g*d or rather a much more worldly power, he saw on the win? And what do we make of the silver chandeliers, the wax jack and were more love-letters or accountant notes written down? The tea-boxes were all locked, the servants should gave no chance to fancy a cuppa, but I assume they did anyway, after all that long hours, standing and running up and down, they probably knew how to keep awake and stay alive. Only a few visitors join us, their footsteps are to be heard for a long time, when wandering through the rooms. Most stories are lost somewhere, and only glimpses become visible in form of a fork, a small bracelet or an half-broken pen. Sometimes the fingertips touch it, sometimes our heart is touched, sometimes we know so well, even if don not tell anyone. On the train back home, a woman has silver nails. My fingertips, my heart and my head are still numb and cold, are still waiting with hope that fades more and more away.
National Museum of Ireland,
Decorative Arts and History,
Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7