ON the last occasion Maryam Al-Khawaja visited this country three years ago, she was in the company of her father.
Both relished this rare occasion to spend some exclusive time together, enjoying long chats while out on walks, arm in arm, along Blackrock promenade in Dublin.
The memories of this time are now deeply painful and Maryam (26) cannot bring herself to visit Blackrock again.
The following April after their visit to Ireland, the young Bahraini woman's father, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja – a prominent human rights activist in his home country – was violently arrested and taken away in the dead of the night.
Up to 20 armed and masked policemen broke into his family's apartment and attacked him, leaving a trail of blood as they dragged him downstairs by the neck.
He has been in prison ever since and has been savagely tortured – even while in hospital having treatment for a smashed jawbone.
His only 'crime' was to campaign tirelessly for human rights in Bahrain, setting up the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights in 2002.
Maryam, now living in self-imposed exile in Copenhagen, Denmark, has only been able to see her father once since his detention.
Asked how he was, she smiled grimly. "My father is the kind of person who cannot be broken," she said.
Maryam has taken up her father's baton and is one of 130 human rights campaigners from 85 countries attending the three-day Dublin Platform gathering of Front Line Defenders at Dublin Castle.
The delegation from Bahrain protested against the presence of the ambassador from Saudi Arabia at the conference, given the human rights track record of that country.
The safety and lives of each one of these worldwide activists is in danger in their native land.
Guatemalan mother Yolanda Oqueli told how her life is under threat because of the stand she has taken against the environmental impact of the La Puja mining project by a leading Canadian company.
She has survived an assassination attempt but lives in fear for the safety of her family.
Denis O'Brien, chairman of Front line Defenders, told the conference that the Dublin Platform was a celebration of courage and of brave people.
"People like you, who persist in fighting the good fight, despite the odds stacked against you."
In his keynote speech, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said Ireland would continue to play its part in defending and supporting human rights defenders, and in promoting and protecting human rights.
"I am proud that one of our first actions on being elected to the UN Human Rights Council was to champion a resolution on Human Rights Defenders which sends a clear message that freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly must be ensured," Mr Gilmore said.