Mad busy I was on Tuesday [11Oct22]. Set off 40km NW at 08:50 to attend an Ada Lovelace day event about Women in Science in which I have an interest. The keynote speaker was electronic engineer Orla Feely who is also Veep Research, Innovation and Impact VPRII? from UCD. It wasn't really for me - SETU's largest auditorium was filled with
SARS-CoV2 schoolkids and Prof Feely was haranguing them from two enormous Dear Leader screens. more on this later
After lunch The Beloved and I set off 40km SE to view an exhibition Below Ground of artistic reflections on soil in one of the stable blocks of Johnstown "stately home" Castle outside of Wexford Town. J.C. is one leg of the for profit govt subsidized tripod called Irish Heritage Trust. The exhibition was fine, it featured works by Cathy Reddy, Eileen Hutton, Frank Ashwood, Giulia Canevari, Hanneke van Ryswyk, Wim van Egmond and John Finn; who are all associated with The Model County. It would be a job of work to shoe horn all the works into "Below Ground" but that's okay. Everything stems from, or stands on, or exchanges fluids with, the soil. So we had a pleasant short hour reading the (engagingly informal unpretentious) explanatory notes and came away with Ideas. Win!
To get to the exhibition we had to pass through the turnstiles [€7 each with Elder discount] in a huge café gift-shop where we stopped for a warming bevvie after the edutainment. Did I say it was huge? It was like the departure lounge / duty-free of a mid-sized airport. I guess Irish Heritage Trust entertain tour buses full of people in need of souvenirs: which were enterprisingly diverse, reasonably supportive of local business and frequently priced at €10 flat. If you can't afford €10 for a tin mug with a picture of Johnstown Castle you really should have stayed at home in Akron-Nagoya-Frankfurt?!
They close the Castle at 17:30 "sharp" which left us with 2 hours to kill until 19:30 when the Wexford Science Café was going to discuss Below Ground with Natalie Oram and John Finn co-curators and Teagasc employees. (Dina in 't Zandt the third curator was pushing the frontiers elsewhere that night). Accordingly we went into town and had [fancy] dinner at Green Acres like the comparatively wealthy adults that we are. All day we were shedding cash left and right to prop up the local economy. We even went shopping for birthday cake ingredients in Dunnes Stores opposite the train station.
The WSC Below Ground was the fizziest session we've probably ever hosted: comments, clarifications, questions, push-back, to-fro, insight and viewpoints from every corner of the room. It was great. It's true that the planet would have been better off if we'd ploughed the day's carbon footprint into one of our fields. But we are now better informed about the most effective, elegant and economic way of doing that.