Tuesday, March 17, 2015
With a Rose
In the past, I've posted excerpts from my unedited Ireland journals in order to mark St. Patrick's Day. Those previous entries can be found here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
On the ride back to Dublin I realized that I'd been on the wrong side of the bus the day before. The view from this side was magnificent, of large farms, ruined churches, and the high towers of castles. This area was famous for breeding horses, and more than a few riders were galloping across the landscape. Small creeks bisected these massive tracts of land. Off on the horizon were the Slieve Bloom range, "towering" above the small farms and towns. In Kildare, a market was in full swing. I wish that I had had a chance to thumb through the CDs piled upon one table.
Back in Dublin, I crossed Ha'Penny Bridge's stack of steps, then cut through an arch onto Temple Bar. I again found the Porterhouse Pub, and tried a few of their stouts. I talked myself into an expensive trip to Christchurch Cathedral, which I'd foregone visiting two days before. Due to its age, I'd hoped for some pagan or Viking imagery, but found mostly the usual Catholic hits. In a far corner, there was a chained heart in a cage, brought back from France when its owner died. It was tradition in those days to let the body lie where it fell and bring home only the heart, giving birth to the expression, "Home is where the heart is." The crypt too was interesting, with its jagged posts of stone. In the back was a moving figure of a woman grieving over her fallen man.
Back on the street, I wound around the backside of the fort, peering through it's arched gates. I found a music shop back there, and had to be buzzed in. It seems that they had had to install this security system last year as the neighborhood was falling apart. I checked out the drums, none of which thrilled me, and blew a few notes on the low-toned flutes. The quality of the instruments attest to the fact that the shop supplies most of the city's top musicians.
The street led on to St. Stephen's, where I stopped to have a cappuccino. My body by this point in the journey had become used to a well-established pattern of coffee-beer-coffee-beer. Head abuzz, I admired the Georgian's lined up to frame Merrion Square, each identical but for door color, or the carving around them. Would be an easy mistake to enter the wrong one after a few pints. At one corner stood Oscar Wilde's childhood home. Across the street in the park was a statue of the man himself, in a slightly pervy-looking pose. Upon the base were some of Wilde's more renowned witticisms, no doubt said with a smirk similar to this one carved in stone. Rounded W. B. Yeats' house and headed down to St. Stephen's Green, where I sat and read from the book Trinity. Though the sun had come out today, it was still cold, a cold like that of Japan which sinks into you. I hadn't felt this over in Britain. To escape it, I pressed on, up Grafton, the newer tourist tat crowding out the few olde shoppes remaining. The street here was cobblestone and closed to vehicle traffic. A few side streets had small stands selling flowers or hippie clothes. At the top near Trinity College was the statue of Molly Malone, showing an awful lot of boob. A woman leaned against Molly's cart, playing a harp.
Nearby, I found Grogan's Pub, long time favorite of the city's artistic set. It was a true pub, quite old, and definitely not one for the tourists. Strangely, there was a wall running through the middle, with drinks being cheaper on the far side. Behind the bar was a beautiful stained-glass picture of the pub. I sat and eavesdropped on a few conversations, then wrote awhile. I was sleepy so nursed only a half-pint, but I felt self-conscious about it.
Moving along, I found a covered street which housed a warren of alterna-clothes and CD shops. Surprisingly, this was all non-smoking, despite being a proper street. Then back out again, through the now growing pedestrian rush hour crawl, in search of live music.
I found some at the Celt, but didn't stay long due to an somewhat unfriendly vibe. Around the corner was a place called Spirits, where I found a duo on a stage. I grabbed a pint and sat next to a framed poem written about JFK. The music was good, the first few numbers being simple acoustic ballads which spotlighted the voice of the female singer. There was an extremely drunk young guy seated on a stool beside her, who'd shush everyone, then clap out of time, or sing along to the wrong verse. It wasn't long before he was hustled off. What followed was a repertoire of covers -- Johnny Cash, Van Morrison, Jeff Buckley, Cowboy Junkies, and a lot of Dylan. I walked home through the busy streets, the pubs now releasing groups of young drunks in twos and threes, all holding on to one another and talking loudly in what was almost a parody of the drunk Mick...
On the turntable: "Kill Twee Pop"
On the nighttable: George Orwell, "Burmese Days"