Sunday 25 February 2018

Grave offence

• The other week I was in Paris conducting guided tours of Pere Lachaise, my first visit there since the barrier around Oscar Wilde's tomb was erected. It was a shock to see what the Irish State through the Office of Public Works has done to poor Oscar's resting place.

However bad it got with the lipstick traces, at least it wasn't vulgar, and that is exactly what it is now -- a monument to a lack of artistic taste by an Irish State that doesn't know the meaning of aesthetics. Beauty is always lost on those who look but cannot see.

Visitors are unable to read Oscar's name through the barrier, even if they first get past the outer steel barrier. At the back of the tomb there is an inscription about the life of Oscar and lines from the 'Ballad of Reading Gaol'. These can no longer be read because of the barrier's filth. What fool would wish for a poet's words not to be read?

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