While meandering through a a lush green park in Dublin called Merrion Square I came across this monument to the famous Irish playwright, Oscar Wilde. This private and secluded spot is across the street from an area of dominated by formal Georgian structures, distinguished by the many colorful doorways that are iconic to this city. Located kitty corner from his birthplace, it seemed a fitting spot to recognize this famous Irish man.
I was intrigued with this statue for several reasons. Most statues of famous people show them riding on horses, head high, grouped in formal arrangements, dressed in fancy or military clothes, haughty or elegant. Not the Oscar Wilde monument. He is reclining in a casual, haphazard way with a sardonic expression on his face.
I think the folks who designed this memorial were trying to embody the spirit of this captivating and flamboyant person and they did. Near to the figure relaxing on a huge stone are two pillars inscribed with some of the pithy and well-known quotes of his…scribbled as if in chalk, jotted down while having a cup of tea or a glass of ale.
I wanted to know more about this talented writer. A few clicks on my computer and I learned that he was born middle 1800s, wrote a novel, a bunch of successful plays, and lectured extensively. At the peak of his fame he ran into a bit of trouble with the law, left his wife to have a same sex relationship, got thrown in jail and never really recovered.
He died penniless and destitute in a seedy hotel in Paris before he turned 50. What a shame. He was a wonderful writer and known for pithy entertaining and pointedly satiric remarks. I plan to add his novel “The Portrait of Dorian Gray ” to my summer reading list. He is probably best known for his play, “The Importance of Being Ernest.”
Running into this statue stimulated me to think about a statement I read recently about the difference between tourism and travel. I read that a tourist sees what she goes to see. A traveler sees what is there. I didn’t set out to see this statue but my life is richer as a result. The unexpected and interesting keeps me planning my next Destination and meandering down unknown pathways.