Maria Fogues, 15, is from Valencia, Spain, and she was here with her parents for the weekend. “I know about the Rising, because we learn about it in school,” Maria said. “We learn about it in history class and we learn about the Irish and the English.”
Maria and her parents were en route to the Guinness Storehouse yesterday, by taking a series of back alleys, as opposed to going up the usual route of Thomas Street. The family did not go to any of the events organised for the centenary, but said that the commemorations had not disrupted their holiday.
French tourists at Christ Church Cathedral were also clued into the celebrations.
Nicolas Carreras was with a party of five, all in their 30s, visiting Ireland for four days. “It’s for the birthday of your independence, 100 years ago,” said Nicolas. “It happened at Easter, didn’t it?” he asked. The party then discussed the difference between Ireland’s Rising in 1916 and the founding of the Irish State in 1922. Like their Spanish counterparts, though, the French weren’t partaking in any of our events.
But the Montezo family, from Lisbon, Portugal, was caught unaware. “We were very surprised. We didn’t know what was happening,” said the father, Antonio Montezo.
The family had planned a city break and were surprised to find the capital in lockdown, explaining that they “weren’t able to just walk out of their hotel.” Taking shelter from one of the many rain showers and cowering under a gutter by St Patrick’s Cathedral, the family were reluctant to answer whether or not the commemorations has “disrupted” their break.
They smiled and looked at one another, but never answered the question, but instead looked around at the dozens of gardaí, metres of barricades, and empty city streets.
The Spanish, French, and Portuguese were only a few among thousands of tourists caught up in yesterday’s events. They were all to be found wandering around the side streets of the capital, clutching rain-wet maps.