Woody flies to Dublin to walk with Satchel

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LIFE COULD be seen imitating Art in Dublin yesterday as Woody Allen, wry chronicler of failed relationships, sought to patch up one of his own.

His small hunched figure was to be found at Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park, in the company of a smaller figure still, Satchel, his four-year-old son by Mia Farrow. Father and son held hands, and talked, and looked at the animals together in the sunshine - for a few short hours.

The master of screen melancholy had flown 3,000 miles from New York for yesterday's brief meeting, a trip necessitated by the acrimonious split with Miss Farrow and the subsequent court battle for custody of their children, which the film- maker lost spectacularly.

After revelations of his affair with Miss Farrow's 22-year-old adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, and allegations, not accepted by the court, that he molested their adopted daughter Dylan, seven, Allen was condemned by the judge as self-absorbed, untrustworthy and insensitive, and ordered to pay a million dollars in costs. Miss Farrow was granted custody of Dylan, Satchel and an adopted child, Moses, 15.

Right of access to Satchel was all that the actor- director could salvage from the debacle in June, and to exercise it he has had to journey to Ireland where Miss Farrow has been filming for the past month with children in tow.

Allen arrived on Wednesday, looking a forlorn figure although ensconced with Soon-Yi in the regal surroundings of the Princess Grace Suite at Shelbourne Hotel, and began access negotiations with Miss Farrow, who is down the road in the Wicklow Mountains filming the perhaps ominously titled Widow's Peak, a Twenties drama also starring Natasha Richardson.

And a happy ending ensued, of sorts, although perhaps, with the brevity of the father-and-son reunion, one better described as bittersweet.

Straight out of a Woody Allen movie.

(Photograph omitted)