Chloe is sitting on the plinth under the O'Connell statue, nibbling at a sandwich when I approach at 10:32. In the days of mobile phones and instant updates we have managed a rendez-vous without exchanging digital identities.
There are no fixed plans for the day, other than visit the Guinness Storehouse (a revisit, for me). We begin our wanderings aimlessly, as all wanderings should be. They lead us to Christ Church Cathedral, steeped in history: the crypt goes back a thousand years. It is this, of course, which we enter. Like all old subterranean places should be, it is dusty and musty, the ceilings are low, the lighting is feeble. A curator flits behind pillars, one eye on the mysterious guests who are really just two naive tourists. There is a coffee shop in the corner. Tables lie next to relics, no one is seated. Why not have tea in the crypt or filter coffee? Or enjoy a scone near the Rat and the Cat? We don't. It would have to be the gloomiest place to have coffee imaginable, ensconced by those grey brick supports, served by an old lady who emerges from the shadows once in awhile to chat with those who have seen the light of day, recently.
Admirers of relics should of course visit this foreboding dungeon. It is the biggest crypt in Ireland and Britain. You feel the weight of history, and the cathedral, pressing down on your soul.
Where else to go next but the complete opposite? The Guinness Storehouse and its rarefied Gravity Bar, where the best views of Dublin may be imbibed with a pint of black liquid.
Chloe makes a good co-tourist. We're both equally curious and occasionally prone to losing each other. We enjoy many sweet silences - I find this is rare with people, these days. Maybe because the first thing a lot of people do when silence ensues is whip out their phones. Chloe takes two sips of her complimentary Guinness then hands it to me. She nibbles on another sandwich, smiling occasionally. Gazing out the window on a beautiful sunny day looking at the myriad of houses, smoke coming from their stacks, is as refreshing as the drink in hand.
As the afternoon ambles onward I mention to Chloe that I want to see one of Dublin's most cherished landmarks, the statue of Molly Malone. All legends have their variations, and Molly has assumed mythical status in Dublin. The statue was unveiled in 1988, but the legend of Molly goes back 400 years. Was she real or not? Chaste fishmonger or urban whore? Or both? Whatever she was, I lose no time posing for a discreet photo shoot next to the well-endowed bronze woman.
The sun reclines, and we head back to our respective B&Bs. Although I get Chloe's email, it is obvious that after a delightful day we are unlikely to see each other again. She is off to the north west tip of Ireland to protest against logging of protected trees, or something like that. It was good to have company. Friend for a day, memory for a lifetime.
I walk up Gardiner Street, enter my temporary abode, close the curtains, and have an early evening siesta.