A Bitter Sweet Moment in Francis Street – Ciaran Bennett

One evening strolling down Francis Street, past the Cross Gallery and the other assorted antique and junk shops, and wildly trying to avoid the kitsch fest across the street, we came upon Monster Truck, the white cottage with little windows and a quaint sense of Hans Anderson in the winter twilight. There was an exhibition there, we had been assured and so rapped on the glass. After some hesitation this twinkling apparition appeared at the door. The quite startling juxtaposition of miniature cottage style door, and the even smaller personage, explaining that she was not in costume yet, the installation started in a an hour or so, could we come back, yes the sheer enthusiasm, the slightly perplexing nuances of something from a parallel universe, we were hooked.

After a few bottles of wine, we returned to the cottage, yes it was open, well at least occupied and functioning as a mind altering chamber of the absurd and quixotic, an art event, Dame Dorian Dublin.

Dame explained the process, or at least the purpose of this ritualistic performance, as a return to Ireland. Her parents had immigrated to Canada, where she was born. She had transformed the shell of the interior, into a mock cottage from John Hindes Ireland. The straw were curious and slightly ambiguous paper shreddings from the Arts Council, the walls large floral wallpaper paintings, or were they the exhibition, what were we to read here. The rather baroque costume, more Austrian Tyrol, with a touch of street theatre than rustic colleen, the hand made ceramic goblets, the kettle boiling, and a bottle of Powers, yes it was an Irish Coffee Night, with a bizarre sense of hallucinogenic wonder. She welcomed us, introduced visiting relatives from Limerick, these were quite subdued in the space, or maybe overcome with heavily laced coffee into a state of bewilderment, was this their lost relation from Canada, what was this, the uncertainty amongst them contributed to the eerie sense of the performance.

In the next room, or at least what initially appeared to be a scullery of the enchanted kitchen, envelopes and other paper wrappings contained last and found messages, suspended from the ceiling. These tokens of gratitude and loss paralleled the displacement of the purely cerebral, which was fast occurring with mugs of laced coffee, we entered into the realms of the besotted and the deranged, we who had been visitors became an intrinsic element of Fairyland.