Friday, 18 April 2014

Irish Jane Austen Fans Come Together in Dublin's Mansion House

Last night members of The Jane Austen Society of Ireland gathered together in Dublin's Mansion House, for our first, proper meeting (members only) to celebrate the publication of Jane Austen's third novel.  In a lecture entitled, 'Mansfield Park, After 200 Years', Trinity College professor, Darrly Jones, regaled us with insights and fascinating observations about the novel.

 He happily fielded questions from the audience afterwards, which revealed, once again, how au fait our members are with the works of Jane Austen. 

Actress Vanessa Hyde also took to the stage and performed a short extract from the play, 'Ladies of Jane', which received great reviews in its recent  run at The Cork
Theatre.  We were enchanted as 'Emma's' Mrs Elton was brought to life before our eyes.  

Each member introduced themselves to the rest of the group, revealing what it was that first made them fall under Austen's spell.  It was very enlightening to hear similar stories and recurring experiences, best summed up in one member's comment; 'Jane Austen never lets me down!' 

Afterwards, members retired to the beautiful Georgian surroundings of Buswell's Hotel, Molesworth Street, to continue the conversation,  meet fellow Austen fans and share their love of Regency literature.  

There was one controversial comment during the evening, however - much discussed in Buswell's - which was Professor Jones's claim that Mr Darcy does not exist!  The general consensus was that this was indeed an error, summed-up by our Society Secretary, Sinead who said, "Women are searching for men like Mr Darcy and men do not even know that he exists!" - and therein, my friends, lies the rub.  

Thanks is due to The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mr Oisin Quinn, who gave us use of the beautiful Oak Room, in this historic building.  As one astute member noted, one of the many mayoralty plaques on the wall was for the D'Arcy family, so it was no wonder that we felt so at home there as we did.  
Michelle Burrowes, JASI President.