“At Christmas every body invites their friends and thinks little of even the worst weather.”On the rainiest, darkest, Saturday afternoon imaginable, Janeites from all over Ireland, gathered in the fine Oak Room at Buswell's beautiful, Georgian Hotel, to toast Jane Austen on her 230th birthday, and to remember the novel, which, 200 years ago, was all the author could think about.
― Jane Austen,
200 years ago, Jane Austen was on tenterhooks, wondering if readers would take to her latest publication, 'Emma'. She fear how her heroine would be received; readers might not take to her, like her at all, but she needn't have feared. Emma Woodhouse, and the novel which bore her name, would stand the test of time and still be the subject of discussion some two centuries on.
Professor Darryl Jones, from Trinity College Dublin, said as much himself, when he spoke to a rapt audience in comfy leather armchairs while the wind howled outside. There is something very relaxing about hearing Austen read in a Welsh accent, and more than one of our members noted that, what with coffee flowing, a Christmas tree sparkling and lively conversation, they
would have been happy to stay in Buswell's Hotel forever! And when we finally said our goodbyes, wishing our friends a merry Christmas, and stepping outside into the damp, darkness, it was somehow surprising to find ourselves back in Dublin city in 2015; but finding comfort in the that fact that, as always with Austen, Emma and Knightley were waiting for us at home, on the book shelf, to stir into life once more on the open page. And so, with a denouement worthy of the author herself, the afternoon came to a happy end; not bad for a rainy day in Dublin.
By Michelle Burrowes