FLORAL tributes, mostly purple and white, adorned the grave of Michael Collins at Glasnevin Cemetery on Wednesday evening, the 90th anniversary of his death at the age of 31.
Prominently positioned in the shadow of a modern visitors' centre and cafe, it is one of several notable graves and historical monuments at Glasnevin, which was consecrated and opened to the public in February 21, 1832.
A casual stroll reveals the final resting place of many of the figures who still echo through history: Roger Casement, O'Donovan Rossa and, in the Republican plot, Constance Markievicz, who lies opposite the remains of the parents of Bertie Ahern.
A young Spanish couple interrupted the silence. "Ah, Michael Collins," said the woman, who was drawn to a bouquet signed: "From the not so mysterious woman."
Her partner, who had wandered off, returned to say he had found the grave of Bobby Sands and the other hunger strikers of 1981. It was not the grave, of course, but a monument engraved with the word "patriots".
The previous Sunday, Kenny had become the first Taoiseach to address the annual Michael Collins Commemoration at Beal na mBlath, or Beal na Blath, or Beal na Bla -- or Beal na Blah Blah Blah -- depending of your knowledge and perspective.
Perspective can also draw distinctions at Glasnevin: Statesman, Patriot, Politician, Republican or blood-soaked terrorist. They are all commemorated together, not far from the crematorium where the remains of Boyzone member Stephen Gately were taken in 2009.
Those Fine Gaelers who attended Beal na Blath last Sunday did so with the fervour of old, with an arm to the past, where memories and myth collide, and one extended to the future, when hopefully old ghosts will be laid to rest.
Last year, the late Brian Lenihan, also a former Minister for Finance, accepted a gracious invitation to address the commemoration, in what was a welcome departure from the partisan politics of before.
"If today's commemoration can be seen as a further public act of historical reconciliation, at one of Irish history's sacred places, then I will be proud to have played my part," Lenihan said.
In a respectful and rounded oration, to which, it was obvious, he had given some thought, Lenihan said: "Nor must we forget that many people with little or no connection to the struggle died or suffered by accident, or because of where they worked or where they worshipped."
As the first Taoiseach to have addressed the commemoration, you might expect that Kenny, like Lenihan, would have given such consideration to his oration.
His speech is on the Fine Gael website, tidied up somewhat since it was delivered last Sunday, but still containing some of the typographical and grammatical errors which riddled the original.
A standard issue press release, or a bus timetable, would have been presented with more class.
In the rewritten draft, Collins, we are told, was the "outstanding organiser who brought Lenin's attention to Ireland to see how the National Loan worked" -- not the man who had brought Lenin to Ireland as Kenny originally claimed.
It was not just that howler -- for which the oration will be remembered -- which was to prove so disappointing; no, it was the old-fashioned timbre and rhetoric of the speech, seemingly designed to portray the Taoiseach as an equal among statesmen, but not just that . . . It was also a speech which betrayed the limits of his intellect and vision.
Because this was a nakedly political speech, a step away from the considered embrace of Lenihan, a step towards what Kenny said was -- and how clumsy is this? -- the "legendary capacity" of Collins to "rant and roar".
From there, Kenny sought to wrap the myth around himself: "Just as Collins was undeterred by the dire financial straits in which Ireland found itself in the 1920s, the Government I lead is equally determined . . .
"In keeping with Collins's ambition, mental force and high ideals, as Taoiseach, I refuse to allow what is in reality a temporary, hand-me-down, financial straitjacket, damage what will be a magnificent future . . ."
At Beal na Blath last year, Brian Lenihan outlined three elements essential to the recovery, among them the need to ensure that credit was available for businesses and households.
Kenny is 18 months in office. Three days after his oration, the Central Bank laid bare the failure of his Government to meet this most basic element on the road to recovery.
But at Beal na Blah Blah Blah, the spin kept coming: "Irish growth is expected to accelerate to two per cent next year . . . We're resolute in our reform agenda . . . We're respecting public trust, we're keeping faith with the people . . ."
It was a speech best kept for the backwoods men of a comhairle ceantair in deepest Mayo, "whence he came" as Kenny might say himself, at a glance, recorded forever as the Fine Gael leader who could deliver a howler without pause for thought.
Which raises the question: can we take seriously anything he may say?