In this painting I am returning to the Sandyford intersection on the M50, a favourite haunt of mine. Heading south towards Bray, the city expands wave by wave away to the left, the dark hills of Dublin stand sentinel to the right. The motorway sign points to the exit for Stillorgan and Dun Laoghaire.
The name Stillorgan is thought to be a Danish corruption of the Gaelic for Lorcan’s House, referring to Saint Laurence O’Toole, archbishop of Dublin at the time of the Norman invasion. Stillorgan is best known as the home of Ireland’s first bowling alley, opened in 1963, and Ireland’s first shopping centre launched in 1966. Make of this what you will. Boland’s pub at the crossroads is of the old school, and was once a haunt of Brian O’Nolan (aka Flann O’Brien and Myles na gCopaleen). I can see that.
The Orchard nearby is an attractive thatched building. I was refused service here on one occasion, singled out for my long hair amongst a party of more coiffured acquaintances. Although they stood by me, the affair rankled. Some time later, besuited, hair well cropped, I returned with a group of work associates to spend a long lunchtime wining and dining.The place being packed, I told the others I’d settle up at the counter, if they’d bring the car to the front and park on the kerb. Immediately the car pulled up, I promptly hopped in. Later, I explained why nobody needed to fix up with me. One of the best meals I ever had, there was something so satisfying about it. Which goes to show that revenge is sometimes best not served cold, but over several courses with wine.