Mansion House Visit
On the evening of the 10th April 2017 Dr. Mary Clark (Archivist) Dublin City Libraries and Archives organised a group tour of the Mansion House at the request of her colleague Veronica Coffey, who has a partial impairment. Veronica co-ordinated the group of Visually Impaired people and her sighted friends from “The National League of the Blind Trust” to visit this historic building.
There were sixteen in the group. We were given a warm welcome and everyone felt very much at ease with an unexpected cup of tea/coffee arranged for us. We were greeted by Dr. Mary Clark, Alastair Smeaton (former colleague) was our chief photographer. We received a personal introduction to the Lord Mayor Brendan Carr. The Lord Mayor specifically gave up his time to have his photo taken with the group. Some totally blind people got to inspect his medal and chain of office.
During our time in the drawing room and dining room Dr. Clark gave an informative, interesting, and sometimes very funny picture of the house and its occupants. We were brought Into the Oak room. Seeing the Mayoral crest up close was of great benefit to the group. Normally they would never get this opportunity to be close enough to see these in detail. This really added to the experience. The feedback from the tour was very positive as people felt they were given plenty of time to examine these artefacts. The Visually impaired were amazed when they heard that Dr. Clark was doing this without the help of notes.
Veronica's friends from the National League of the Blind Trust meet the Lord Mayor (click to enlarge)
We were given a fantastic tour of the dining room, where we all sat around the table and Dr. Clark told many stories, all interesting and most informative, explaining everything in great detail. We were even given the opportunity to take photos of the beautiful vases, and all the beautiful décor in the room. Some people couldn’t but help strike the dinner gong.
Finally we ended our tour by seeing the stained glass window, and the staircase up to the Lord Mayor's private quarters. The ambience was delightful in a most relaxing atmosphere. Visits to places like the Mansion House and indeed Dublin City Libraries and Archives help to bring the City’s Administration to life.
From a blind perspective one person remarked that he would have no problem in recommending the overall presentation by Dr. Clark to anyone with a visual impairment and felt he got as much out of the experience as any of his sighted companions. My group would like to say a “Big thank You” to Mary. She has a knowledge to be proud of. May she continue to give tours to many of our citizens for many years to come. Also thanks to the Lord Mayor for giving up his time, to Alastair our photographer, and Veronica for organising this historic event, certainly enjoyed by all. For those who missed out hopefully we will have another one soon again. Veronica is hoping to continue more tours into the future of interesting places in the City. The next one been “Marsh's Library” in June. She says no better place than the Dublin City Library for contacts.