Sunday, January 25, 2009

Every Fecking Irish Pub

Foolishly I followed you to Dublin
Like a ghost I walked the streets of Temple Bar
And all the bright young things were throwing up their Guinness in the gutter
And once I thought I saw you from afar

- Every Fucking City, Paul Kelly

There's a huge window in the lobby of the hostel, and it overlooks Parnell St. I'm sitting in front of it now, and there's not a lot happening. It's one of those gloomy, prematurely darkened Sunday afternoons, the kind that makes you long for a warm bed and a good book. I'm not entirely sure I want to step out this evening, but I'll probably have to. 

I'm only in Dublin for another evening, and I should make it count. 

It took me about half a day to realise that cars here drives on the left side of the road. It took me a whole day to realise that I didn't have to look down at the pavement every couple of seconds to check for dog poo. But it only took me twenty minutes of walking down O'Connell St to realise that every fecking pub in Dublin is going to be an Irish bar. 

There's something disconcerting about Irish bars on the continent. There's the appropriation of British culture, for one, which means that they're the ones you automatically turn to for a screening of the Arsenal. There's the kitchiness for another. And then, there's the irritating thing that they're almost never run by, owned or patronised by, Irish people. 

Temple Bar is the spiritual home of all those far-flung Irish bars. And I took a stroll through it on Saturday night out of curiosity. It's a depressing place when you're sober. The pubs are packed and the bright young things are lining up in front of clubs. There's puke on the pavements and drunken kids stagger from one bar to another. There's a huge queue in front of the ATM (it is very expensive in Dublin). 

Everything's dressed up to be sold now, ain't it? 

But on the other hand, they do have these plaques on the pavement for places mentioned in Ulysess. Which is kind of nice, I felt. Always wanted to read Ulysess, but never got past the first chapter, and the last monologue by Mary Bloom. Some people say that if you read the first and last pages of a book, it counts as reading the whole thing, but I've always had my doubts about that idea. You miss out on a lot if you just go from A to Z, and you never find out why the Zebra did it. 
Dublin's been alright. Guinness is expensive (I spent more for a pint than I did for lunch, today) but surprisingly good. The weather's cold and miserable at times. But people are willing to stop for a chat, there's always something interesting in the streets, and most of the museums and galleries are free, which helps on the cold afternoons. 

Most days, everything's grand. 


Anonymous said...

Hope things are good in Dublin. How long are you planning to stay in Ireland?

Happy Chinese New Year. We had dinner with Mum and Dad yesterday night and will today.

By the way, I think Molly Bloom had her monologue at the end of Ulysess; the first is Leopold Bloom on the crapper thinking about eating kidneys in a pie. Anyway, it must be nice to see a city you have read about.

Take care


Anonymous said...


You have to go over to England right now, the beer is so much cheaper since the Pound is collapsing.


Vertino Aleci said...

Hello fellow gooner!
Came across your blog while I was searching for arsenal fans on here.
Have written a blog about the game against Cardiff, it would be interesting to see your comments.
Just read your blog on Temple bar. This is interesting because I went to Dublin myself for a couple of days in the summer of 2008. Despite the weather which was more wintery than summer, it was a very friendly place. Yes it was expensive and I've heard as expensive capital cities go, it is right up there. There is the charm of Dublin though!

Connolly's agent said...

Hey Darren, happy new year. Yeah, I read the first chapter and then flicked through to the last few pages to read the Molly Bloom monologue. You actually got through the whole thing?

Hey Tim, England's looking good right now. Apparently the pound's on par with the euro now, and all the Irish are hopping the border to shop in Nth.Ireland.

Hey Vertino, yeah, it's a friendly place, but when you're jaded, nothing much gets through. Plus, it was raining. Everything changes when it rains.