THE IRISH, of course, have a long history of interaction with Mitteleuropa, and with Vienna in particular, from the earliest days. After all, one of Vienna’s most prominent churchs is the Schottenstift which was founded in 1155 when Henry II invited monks from the Irish monastery at Regensburg to start an abbey in the capital of his margraviate (Austria was elevated to a duchy the following year, I think).
The Schottenstift and Schottenkirche are often known as the “Scottish Abbey”. This confusion results from the fact that Ireland was formerly known as Scotia in Latin. It was some time before Ireland became known as Hibernia and Scotland as Caledonia. (Scotland literally means “land of the Irish”).
The mother of our genial host crafted a lovely St Brigid’s Cross which hangs proudly in this Viennese flat (an old one, with the bathtub in the kitchen).
He confessed that trips back to Galway often coincided with running out of tea.
Browsing the bargain box outside a used bookshop, I was, however, slightly disturbed to discover that the work of Cecelia Ahern has made it into the German language.