The Dubh Linn Gardens are, generally speaking, a nice place. Situated behind Dublin Castle and next to the Chester Beatty Gallery, they have a weird vibe. Old buildings, modern monuments, and a park layout in the form of a “Celtic” ornament. Which doubles as a helicopter landing spot.
And around this central green are benches. Quite a number of them. And they have an Ogham connection …
Not that it is obvious at first sight. Well, maybe if you are looking for it. See it yet? No? Then let us have a closer look …
Ah, now you see it … at the centre of each backrest was an Ogham symbol, carved into the wood. As far as I know randomly, not a cleaver message or even an invented archaic magical spell … just a reminder that there once was an Irish system for writing.
Now you see it? Now you don’t … because these images are from 2005. And the benches have been renovated in the meantime. Basically looking the same as before. But without the Ogham. An austerity measure, maybe. But how expensive could it have been to get somebody with a router and then simply copy the very simple symbols? It is not like this was very artistic or unique.
It is really a sad story – in those benches the Dubh Linn Gardens had something useful and clever, a link to the distant past that was not “in yer face”, but subtle and simple. Not the usual pseudo-Celtic crappery, but something unique. And something you could point out to visitors, giving them this extra bit of “insider knowledge”. One of those “hidden attractions”, those “secrets” the modern traveller so craves for – hidden in plain sight, and not a secret that will be destroyed inevitably if more people visit it.
No, the destruction came through penny-pinching. Or thoughtlessness. As in “dey aren’t really necessary, are dey?”