Tag Archives: Bodleian Library

What the irish ambassador had to say about 1916

Oxford. February 12 2016

Last night, the Irish ambassador to Great Britain, Daniel Mulhall, spoke at a gathering to mark the Bodleian’s exhibition entitled Easter Rising 1916.
It was an interesting speech in which he highlighted a few points:
The age of the leaders of the Rising tended to be much younger than people like Parnellite John Redmond of the Irish Parliamentary Party who was 62 in 1916 while people like Pearse were 37 and Eamonn Ceannt 25.
He felt the Rising could not have taken place were it not for the fact that WW1 was already happening. And following on from that, he quoted a German commentator (I missed the name) who was of the opinion that had Britain not been so distracted by Irish affairs in 1914, there was a chance that she and Germany might have entered into talks that could have averted the war. (I’m not convinced of that.)
He later touched on the legacy for Ireland of 1916 one of which was the stability that followed it all and gave as an example: William Cosgrave held the post of Taoiseach for 10 years. De Valera was President for 21 years.

( I relate this to the Good Friday Agreement which resulted in a form of power-sharing which is still in place eighteen years on, though Jonathan Powell makes the point, in his book Talking to Terrorists, that power sharing has it downsides: “You can’t get rid of the bastards,” as one person said.)

At the end of his very positive talk, the ambassador pressed the little red button on his desk and up came on the wall screen information on the Bodleian’s very new Easter Rising 1916 Web Archive. Try it: http://www.webarchive.org.uk/easter¬_rising/bodleian.html

There was a big crowd at this excellent event and the icing on the cherry was that the ambassador’s talk was followed by a glass or three of wine.

Congratulations to the Bodleian for continuing to be such a generous host and to its ongoing contribution to research into 1916.

You can read Daniel Mulhall’s speech when it goes up, in a few days, on the Irish Embassy website http://www.embassyofireland.co.uk

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Where to have coffee in Oxford.

In fact, there are lots of places to have a pleasant cup of coffee ( or tea) in Oxford but the cafes  listed below are all places I have visited. Plus 1) they are all independently run and 2) not expensive. The average  cost of a cappucino works out at £2:50 and some are less.

First off is the cafe in Oxford’s  Town Hall, in St Aldates.

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A modest little cafe tucked away within the Town Hall where they serve buns, croissants, brownies and everyday cheese and ham sandwiches. It’s very central and a good place to drop into to recharge the batteries. Watch out for it on the way to Christchurch Cathedral and for your walk around Christchurch Meadows.2014 OXFORDE CHEST PORTOBELLO GARRYS DO ETC 029

Near Westgate Shopping Centre, is a place I sometimes go to early in the morning and after I’ve been to the gym  – the Art Cafe. You get your coffee downstairs and carry it upstairs. Lots of food on offer here served by very cheery staff. It’s handy if you want to drop in to Oxford’s Central Public Library.

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2014 OXFORDE CHEST PORTOBELLO GARRYS DO ETC 027                        Here’s what’s on offer though there’s lots  more inside.

And if you’re a cyclist ( who isn’t in Oxford? ) you might like to head for Zappi’s on St Michael’s Street. Downstairs, it’s a bike shop, upstairs it’s a cafe.

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You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see St Michael’s Methodist Church at the end of the street with

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Cornmarket at the other end of the street. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, preached here.

On a Sunday morning, the street is packed with cyclists decked out in their lycra, ready to speed off into the countryside.

The  next place isn’t strictly a coffee house but I just can’t leave it out. It’s where people using the Bodleian Library come with their thermos flasks and little plastic lunch boxes to have a break from  reading. You have to swipe your reader’s ticket to get in. Totally lacking in style or atmosphere (apart from the entrance, of course) it’s a sort of workman’s caff for Bodleian Library people, if you can imagine that. ( Off the main room is a special room for the librarians, equipped, it is whispered, with an electric kettle and a microwave oven.) 2014 OXFORDE CHEST PORTOBELLO GARRYS DO ETC 042

Here’s the entrance to this august place.  And because I took these pictures last winter, I’ve included the Bodley Christmas tree.

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Finally, and I know I’m cheating here as the sign relates to  the Christmas Market on Dublin’s Stephen’s Green, I’ve included a billboard that speaks for itself, though you’d have to be in Dublin to test its veracity. But, as we say, in coffee veritas. Or something like that.

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