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An Irish Worldcon

Started: 2019-08-27 21:16:49

Submitted: 2019-08-28 23:15:44

Visibility: World-readable

16th August 2019: In which the intrepid narrator experiences Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon with his children

When we were planning to come to Dublin for Worldcon, Kiesa wanted to divide our childcare responsibilities in advance so she wouldn't end up as the default parent for the entire trip. We traded days during the convention, and I ended up in charge of the kids for our first full day at the convention.

Calvin and Julian on Bridgefoot Street in Dublin
Calvin and Julian on Bridgefoot Street in Dublin

In order to entice the kids to finish their breakfast and leave the apartment, I promised them hot chocolate once we reached the convention centre. We took the Luas tram from the apartment we were staying in towards the convention centre, and dropped by Caffe Nero for coffee (for me) and hot chocolate (for the children). The coffee shop served as an annex to the convention: most of the customers were wearing convention badges, and one of the badges identified its wearer as fantasy author Peter S. Beagle.

The convention made available childcare through a local babysitting agency, setting up shop in the Spencer Hotel, a block from the main convention centre. I reserved time in advance for Julian for Friday so I didn't have to worry about dragging him around the convention. I found the childcare room and checked him in, then walked with Calvin into the convention centre and walked into the dealer's hall on the ground floor, immediately opposite the main entrance.

DMC DeLorean dressed up as time machine
DMC DeLorean dressed up as time machine

The first thing we saw, right at the front of the dealer's hall, was a DMC DeLorean dressed up as the time machine from Back to the Future, including a couple of hoverboards (as they existed in the alternate-future version of 2015, not the current-future of 2019). The display was surrounded by newspaper clippings discussing the car's troubled production in Belfast, giving the display its connection to Ireland.

We wandered around the rest of the dealer and exhibits hall, looking at the dealer tables and exhibits. I was most amused by the "Hold a Hugo" corner, next to display boards showing the inspiration and construction of this year's Hugo Award base. I got to hold a spare Hugo Award rocket trophy, complete with the ceramic base made by a local artist for this year's awards.

Jaeger with the Dublin 2019 model Hugo
Jaeger with the Dublin 2019 model Hugo

I picked up Julian from childcare and we ate lunch at Boojum, a fast-casual counter service Mexican chain in Dublin that looked very much like Chipotle or Qdoba. Properly fortified, I dropped Julian off at childcare again and returned to the convention centre with Calvin for our first panel: a live recording of an Escape artists podcast, reading a short story for Cast of Wonders, then a general discussion of the state of the short fiction podcast network. I've been listening to Escape Artists' podcasts for eleven years, and I especially appreciate the opportunity to see the people whose disembodied voices come into my earbuds.

Escape Artists panel at Worldcon
Escape Artists panel at Worldcon

For the next hour I took Calvin back to the Spencer Hotel, a long block's walk from the convention centre, and found the children's programming room in the basement of the hotel. Calvin took a seat at the table in the middle of the room for an art workshop, led by an artist who solicited the kids' suggestions about what sort of monster to draw, and then incorporated those suggestions into his own drawing while getting the kids to draw their own art. Calvin drew a portrait of a humanoid monster of some description.

Calvin's monster drawing
Calvin's monster drawing

I barely avoided falling asleep during the drawing workshop, so when it finished I took Calvin back to Caffe Nero, where I had coffee and he had a muffin. I checked the convention's schedule and we headed to one last panel of the day, titled "Cites of the Future", which discussed urban development (with only a bit of sci-fi); one of the panelists pointed out that we already have autonomous vehicles that can be summoned to pick you up and take you where you want to go, we just call them "taxis", and whether or not we end up with actual self-driving taxis is less important to the design of the city because cities already have to figure out how to manage curbside pick-up and drop-offs.

I picked Julian up from childcare, met Kiesa in the plaza next door, and we decided to go to what appeared to be Dublin's only vegetarian restaurant, Cornucopia, for supper. This involved a tram ride half-way back across the city followed by a walk across the river into the old city center, a neighborhood with tiny winding streets crowded with shops and restaurants and pubs and pedestrians.

Wicklow Street, Dublin
Wicklow Street, Dublin

After supper we caught a bus back to our apartment, then settled in for the night, still jet-lagged one day after arriving in the city.

Then I'll get another piano, and we'll be even.
- Heidi Enderson, 08 September 2001, in response to Neelix's
computer-acquisition schemes