1/4, April Fool's Day
Spent all morning trying to get my 'wellie' repaired. Tried everywhere. Everywhere
recommends somewhere else. Somewhere else is just as useless. Ended up just
buying a new pair.
Henry Street, Shannon's having a 'hair wrap' done. She's chosen blue, yellow
and a shiny thread, and with a bead in the end. The street is incredibly busy,
everybody must be in Dublin today. Tobacco, lighters, Toblerone, fruit, and
even sock sellers are touting their goods, there's buskers down the road, and
it's all quite musical really, and today is the first really nice day. The weather's
fantastic, all sunny, and the locals are in t-shirts, or have their sweaters
tied around their waists, and the girls wearing hippy dresses. And, over in
O'Connell Street, Mad
Mary is dancing, as usual, in
her evening dress and gloves. Although her dancing is more like a cross between
waltzing and directing traffic. Maybe, after she's dead, there'll be a pub named
after her, The Mad Mary. Yeah, I think I'd have a pint there. Just the one.
the grey rock of Cashel the mind's eye has called up the cold spirits"
In the Savoy Cinema, waiting for 'Little Women' to start. Row E. Announcements,
welcoming us and prohibiting smoking, where the exits are, and walk quickly
to the nearest in case of emergency. Yeah, right, if you can wade through all
the garbage that will fill this place during the movie.
The movie just ended, "it won't seem like Christmas without presents."
But, liked the part when Beth got the piano (sniffsniff).
Tower Records has just reopened in South Great Georges Street. 10 to 10, 7 days
Bewleys. Grafton Street, on the mezzanine. Downstairs, there's a string quartet.
The viola player is smiling, and they're really good, but I'm wondering if they
get their sticky buns for free. Their rendition of Ravel's Bolero should get
them lots of sticky buns.
Elfriede has just changed the ashtray. She's a legend.
Travel section on the Second Floor. Sartre wrote Being and Nothingness at the
Café de Flores and
he's buried in the Cimitiere Montparnasse, and shares a grave with De Beauvoir,
and Beckett's nearby too. I'm surprised Beckett's not in Ireland somewhere.
The Montparnasse looks grungy. Anyway, the Pere Lachaisse cemetery has Champollion,
Chopin, Delacroix, Isadora Duncan, Ingres, Edith Piaf, Marcel Proust, Oscar
Wilde (jaysus, there's another dead Irishman somewhere else), and Jim Morrison.
St Patricks Park.
People. A fluorescent red-haired woman, little kids, and the swings working
Waiting for Barra, outside his place. New Row Square. Sounds like a brain surgeon's
residence. This time we're driving back to Ballinagore
Greystones, collecting someone named 'Jenny'. And apparently the April Fool's
News was that earthworms from new Zealand were taking over Ireland. Barra was
utterly taken in. Still believed it, and April Fool's Day was yesterday.
And according to yesterday's 'The Saturday Times', Eurodisney is planning to
buy Lenin's body.
Another week here. Hope Mara's gotten over her PMT or whatever it was. Undoubtedly
I'll find out soon enough.
There was a
wonderful quote on the radio this morning, from Eric Cantona "when seagulls
follow a trawler, it's because they think sardines will be tossed in the sea."
Obviously, Cantona's a student of Sartre. Deep. Maybe they'll bury him in Montparnasse
More digging, a new area this time. De-sodding the area, then down to the red
soil, spading then wheeling, then more spading and wheeling, building up a mountain
of dirt, revealing what they call "lazy bed" plough marks. Good digging
weather. But, I'm just digging, taking quick peeks at my watch, willing it forward
to 11:00, then 1:00, then 3:30, then 5:00, willing the days to be over, wishing
I was somewhere else. Sitting outside the 'extraspace' cabin, inside the silences
are so pregnant they're having quads. Occasionally try and contribute to the
discussion, to get something going, but have just about given that away. And
that just about wraps it up for archaeology. What a crock.
back, via the Quinnsworth in Arklow, for the weekly grocery spendup. Suddenly
Mara deems the mushrooms for the spaghetti bolognese that I'm making tonight
are too expensive, when she's buying up big on utter shit. Nope, she's not over
anything yet, her PMT is a permanent state.
Oh shit. I've just completely nuked tonight's tea, with the spaghetti exploding
all over the kitchen. Garlic and mince glass-embedded all over the fucking grill.
Maybe some day all this will seem funny, but not right now.
And Philomena Somebody has just won the "Irish Housewife of the Year"
competition, and good luck to her. Wondering what you have to do to win that
one, and apparently, Peter Robinson, the deputy leader of the DUP is regarded
as the devil incarnate, a nazi, "the principle of evil made flesh".
the soccer's on TV, a red team and a blue team. I don't care who wins.
Woke up thinking about Sartre's Egyptian. Despite living 20 years in Paris,
he's still Egyptian in his head.
Cruachan are some kind of goth-folk heavy metal band, recommended by Jimmy.
On the radio, a talk-back session with 'Gerry in the Morning'. Gerry advises
everybody to 'get a life'. Gerry can shove it. And on the news, the Archbishop
of Limerick died, an arch-conservative apparently, totally intolerant of minority
groups, like Protestants.
Been retrowelling what's called Pit 4 with it's bisecting drainage ditch. Amounts to much the
same as always, shovelling and wheelbarrowing. Again and again.
And after getting more mince from the victualler's in Arklow, had another go
at the spaghetti bolognese. It's actually called a Victuallers. Chopped, boiled,
stirred, served. It was okay. Des didn't eat much, Jenny doesn't eat much anyway
and thinks that red meat "tastes like shit." I wonder how she knows
Spent an hour or so in Mick Cullen's pub in Red Cross, with Barra and Des. No
draught beer, just bottles. It's okay. But, here, an okay place is better than
anything else so far.
my lunch, and the others are kind of staggering in. They can take as long as
they want for all I care. Go on, take another half hour, take an hour.
Jimmy's advice for drinking poteen is that if you want to get pissed again,
then drink water the following morning. Jimmy's leaving the site tomorrow, and
intends to emigrate to San Francisco soon. And Mary from the Museum has turned
up at the dig, for a while. Good to see a friendly face.
Nothing much new today. Cleaning another pit, getting the levels, holding the
tape, digging and wheelbarrowing. And 'Home and Away' is on, again, seems to
be an addiction around here, and I've overheard more episodes of this crap in
a week than I did in years at home. Crap characters, crap acting, crap dialogue,
and one of the cast just referred to a band called 'Collectors
and Hunters'. Yeah, would've taken two seconds research to get that one
right. Somehow I can't imagine the cast of Home and Away singing Holy Grail
with much passion anyway.
The Gaelic news is on, and I don't understand a word.
Spent all day digging this fucking enormous trench down another 6 inches. Wheelbarrow
load after wheelbarrow load. I'm tired and my stomach hurts. On the way back
though, a drive to the 'Mottee Stone'. The stone's okay, but the scene is brilliant.
Green green, an apocalyptic sky with shafts of light piercing the sky like the
Last Saturday, I paid £16 for a new raincoat to replace the one that ripped,
and new gumboots, but this week haven't needed them. It's been sunny. Damn it.
According to the news, there's a Salmon Rushdie-type death sentence on Barbie
Dolls, and Queens University in Belfast is buckling under pressure to reinstate
God Save The Queen at its graduation ceremonies.
If I had the energy I'd be writing 'yippee!!' all over the page, dancing on
the ceiling, shouting Take Me Home Lord, but I'm buggered, slept really badly,
woke at four and began thinking. Fatal move.
Once again, trowelling all morning.
Waiting. To leave this place. Come on you buggers, go, move, shift. Couldn't
give a flying fuck about the dirt, or anything, or archaeology, it's all bullshit
anyway. But the best part of today was Mara trowelling. Beginning in a frenzy
of trowelling activity, obviously to show us grunts just how effectively and
efficiently it can, and should, be done. Whizz whizz, hands all a-blur in frenzied
trowelling activity. Within ten minutes she's down on her hands and knees, groaning
"Oh Jaysus, jaysus .." and grunting like a fattened pig with every
spade full of dirt tossed into the wheelbarrow, often missing it entirely, dirt
spilling everywhere. "It's a conspiracy," she mumbles, as Jenny is
now doing the site-level readings. Grunt, grunt. Hey, bitch, I've been doing
this for ten days straight. How does it feel, slag ?
Home. Taking the Vico Road, and I'm shown where Bono lives, and The Edge, and
Neil Jordan's place.
up the hire car in Terenure. Have to get the 16 bus in South Great Georges.
Moone High Cross Inn. The Moone High Cross itself is off limits for some reason.
Shannon's quote of the day: "There's nothing to look at, just green."
On the Kilkenny Castle tour.
The guide is a show man, "ladies and gentlemen ....", the anteroom,
library, drawing room and golden wallpaper, the bedroom views of the cathedral,
the stories of a black witch whose servant got herself bonfired, the long room
with a violinist rehearsing for a baroque concert tonight.
found the An Oige. It's Foulkesrath Castle. We get to stay in real live Castle.
The Brog Maker. On Castlecomer Road, like everything else in Kilkenny. Another
beautiful pub. One of the waitresses names is Polly, and behind me are books,
including the 16 volumes of 'Herf Book of Hereford Cattle'. Now that must be
stimulating reading. And over the sound, the Waterboys greatest hits. And according
to the sports section of 'Kilkenny People' there was a 'Tight Finish, But Mooncoin
Hang On'. Bejaysus, there really is a town called Mooncoin. Wonder if the jig
was written there.
The An Oige. Off room 3, a 'secret' stairways leads to the roof, which Liam
thinks is just the best.
Had to collect the key to the abbey from a Mr E Wallace, five doors up. No problem.
To the other tourists, I'm "the man with the key."
brilliant place, I love places like this. Somehow they have an essence to
them, some spirituality that speaks immediately and loudly. I think of them
as Gothic, but I think the late 1100's early 1200's might predate that era.
I'm not sure.
Shannon found her man with the stomach ache,
and Liam found his dragon.
The crows are
flying, and cawing, adding to the atmosphere. It's somehow dark and light
at the same time.
There's a car rally about to begin. It's noisy, but fun.
The only climbable round tower in Ireland is the one next to St Canice's in
Kilkenny. Right now, I'm at the top of it. 110 steps, five or six floors, depending
on wether or not you count the stone steps at the end. Trying to describe scenery,
particularly from above, is useless.
The Church of Ireland claims its' heritage from St Patrick, at least that's
according to the minister who collects the entrance money (50p) told C. I can't
have heard right. Do they really believe this? What contortions of the brain
do you have to go through to accept such obvious bullshit.
But if we'd been
here this morning, the service would have included:
A bum is a mix of waste coal (called culm), crushed with fine clay, apparently.
Damn and buggerations. The hurling match Shannon and I went to see had either
been cancelled, changed venue, or the players had decided that the pub was more
tempting. We weren't the only ones caught out by the sudden non-appearance of
Saw the Rock coming into town, and this is a very pretty town.
Rock. Centuries butt up against centuries. The Cathedral, massive and high
arched windows, choir and transept, the floor of pebbles that crunch under
your feet. Forbidding and eerie. Cormacs Chapel, with remnants of the original
paintwork, blue and gold, strange heads in the arch, the Round Tower, the
Gothic and Romanesque jumbled. Brilliant.
Steps, secret walkways ways, dungeons, towers, arrow slits near doors. On the
tower now, and down there is the Hot Chip van in the Castle carpark. 65p a small
The Castle Arms
Not much in the local paper, The Tipperary Star, apart from the council wanting
to blow up the Thurles public toilets to solve a drug dealing problem. Somehow
I can't imagine it solving the problem, but it could be fun to watch.
'The Ronald Reagan' pub, bought a box of matches with a picture of the pub on
the box, just to prove I've been here. Saw the poster of Ronnie drinking Smithwicks.
The Ballyporeen Parochial Hall is also the President Reagan Visitor Centre.
The Pub is totally stuffed with knick-knacks including green Ronald Reagan T-shirts,
and state badges behind the bar, a glass cabinet filled with junk. The place
smelt strange, like burning fat. The drive here, though, was utterly beautiful.
On the map, these aren't even the 'brown' roads, they're what C calls the 'invisible'
Tour by guide only, and our guide was Patricia, clearly enthusiastic about the
place, its oddities and weirdnesses about how the house was 'natural', curves,
spider web floors, the 17 panelled rooms, its thatch, its optical illusion windows,
and how Richard and Emily, 16 and 17, used it as a summer cottage once only,
to spend time playing 'peasant', how they found it all terribly 'amusing'. Why
the local peasantry didn't nail these bastards to the walls is beyond me.
Morrissey's, in Abbeyleix.
As the motto in the 'snugs' have it, it's 'less a grocery than a state of mind'.
Half pub, half grocery store. Though it's been a long time since anybody bought
Rice Crispies or Kellogg's Frosties, although the Corn Flakes, top shelf, look
like their use-by date is a little suspect. The tins' contents would probably
kill you. Colmans Starch, Gold Flake - the man's cigarette that women like -,
Players Weight, Give Me a Gold Flake, Players Navy Cut.
Rock of Dunamase.
Perhaps it's because the central lowlands are so flat that this place seems
so high, the view seems to go on forever. Have no idea how many counties you
can see across, but it must be a lot. Pre-Christian stuff, Viking stuff, Norman
stuff, destroyed by Cromwell, so much here among the ruins.
| The lords of this place must have sat here, looked out, and thought they
owned the entire world, and I'm wondering who it was that first saw the
English coming, probably saying something like "Shit, here comes Cromwell."
Giltraps, in Kinnitty.
The place smells of a country town. On the wall there's a photograph of the
Offaly Hurling Championship Team 1994. Drove through the Slieve Bloom mountains.
Birr Castle Gardens.
formal layout was designed by Anne, Countess of Rosse, on her marriage in 1935,
in the form of a monastic cloister with windows looking inwards. The trees are
hornbeams (carpinus betulus), which are pruned once a year. The pruning takes
Birr, or Biorra.
Green and red flags overhanging the street and 'Good Luck Lads' in shop windows.
In the windows themselves, the Hulk Hogan Easter Egg looks kind of tempting.
Near the bridge, inside one of the houses that opens onto the footpath, someone
is practicing the piano. On the other side of the bridge is County Roscommon.
In the Cathedral, 10th Century, the largest of the ruins here. There were
once seven churches on this site, and all are ruined from raid after raid,
by English, the Irish, taking everything of value, leaving only the stones.
Still, it's impressive. The graveyard is a riot of Celtic Crosses, high
crosses that tell stories. The whispering door.
In Irish, it's Cluain Mhic Nós, but I don't know the Irish for eating yoghurt
in the Cluain Mhic Nós carpark.
Devlin. The town that is The Valley of the Squinting Windows. They burn books
in this town, really. I'd better be careful with this notepad, might get roasted.
the Book was kept.
the chambers, Celtic designs though pre-Celtic, capstoned roof, too many people
in here to really appreciate it, just another stop on the tourist trail. Can't
feel the spirituality, if it's a tomb. Rebirth Festival. Shortest Day. Here
it comes, the electric light simulation. Ask about bookings for the next Solstice
when it happens for real, but it's booked out until the fourth millennium, apparently.
The triskele is on the back 'section',
right hand side.
Boyne Valley, somewhere.
Over there is where the Battle of the Boyne happened, in 1690, and it's marked
on the map by two crossed swords. Wonder if Billy or James ever sat over here,
in this spot, eating peanut butter sandwiches. Doubt it.
Trying to read the cross, to decipher the images into the stories they
represent. Some I can, but apart from those obvious ones, my knowledge
of the Biblical stories is hazy.
Hill of Slane
Slane Abbey is just behind me, and the Hill of Tara is somewhere on the next hill over. Over there is an area
that's barb-wired off, the very highest point, probably the spot where St Pat
lit the Paschal Fire itself, the one that sent Laighoire and his cronies galloping
across the fields to find out who this heathen was, who'd offended their pagan
gods. Apparently Laighoire remained a pagan, but allowed his followers to become
Christian. Stupid old bastard. Should have barbecued St Patrick on the spot,
in his own Paschal fire. Maybe if he had, Laoghaires
own daughters might have survived.
Oh well, secretly
camcordering inside Newgrange earlier was apparently a god-offending thing to
do, so I may as well offend both pagan and Christian deities in the one day.
Hill of Tara
Over there, three boyos are trying to wrap their arms around the 'early iron
cult stone', as it's called on the map of the place that I just bought. It's
actually the Lia Fail, a phallic symbol. A pagan prick. Does this mean they're
Loughcrew, in Irish, Sliabh na Calliagh. The Hill of The Witches. Reached the top, the Loughcrew megaliths. This is truly awesome. This is the
best. Better than Tara, better than Slane, better than Newgrange. Holy Bejaysus,
you can see Sligo from here.
Watching telly at the Youth Hostel, and Sinead
O'Connor and Shane MacGowan are on Top Of The Pops, singing
Haunted. It's not quite as good as the original version, the one that was used
in the 'Sid and Nancy' soundtrack, this one sounds like they don't quite mean
it. Still, this film clip will never get seen in Australia, so I'm feeling kind
God, what an ugly town. No wonder they had Slashers.
Castletown House, the driveways packed with strolling people, prams, bike riders,
all in holiday mode.
Back home. Tailors Court.
Shannon's having her second 'hair-up' done, in Henry Street, it's purple, silver,
red and green. She's being done by the
girl in the blue dress and tan leggings, the one with incredibly
fine features, the one with long straight hair, the one with 'Sepultura' and
other Heavy Metal names texta'd onto her canvas bag, the one who stubbed out
her cigarette out as Shannon took her place on the footpath. She's absolutely
breathtakingly beautiful. A
Goddess. A Henry Street Deidre of the Hair-Wrappers. Today,
the 'hair-uppers' are out in force, nearly taking up the entirely of Arnott's
shop front. I don't care that she charged Shannon £4 rather than the usual
£3, as getting this girl on video was worth it.
Easter eggs. Bewleys chocolates, including chocolate liqueur, which is outrageously
A walk to St Stephens Green, Shannon
on her rollerblades, Liam illegally skateboarding, despite the No Skateboards by-laws. nearby, the coach
and horses wait for customers. We're not customers, but if we were the prices
would start at £6, and up to £20 for the 40 minute extravaganza.
St Patricks Cathedral
Somewhere in here Jonathan Swift is interred, next to his 'beloved' Stella.
Why are they always 'beloved' ? I wonder what they did with his also 'beloved'
Vanessa of Castletown in Celbridge. It seems like the only time you hear the
word 'beloved' is when it's describing a dead person.
The organist has
begun. My knee mat has a dolmen cross-stitched into it, and there's real candles
lit, none of your electrically flickering Pro-Cathedral types here. And some
guy has just handed out the correct sheets for this afternoon's service. Processional
143, after a Latin into, "Amen", Psalm 113. At last, the Handel, a
boy soprano 'but thou didst not leave', a choir number, another solo, then 'we
shall be changed', and, the Big One, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
I feel like applauding at the end, but apparently you're not supposed to, as
it's a service, not a concert. We've been told.
Found Swift and Stella. They're in the nave, opposite the 'chanced arm'
One of the 'chancers' was an Ormond.
according to The Tain, Cuchullain killed his own son to prove his own invulnerability.
What a fuckwit.
Waiting for the bus, the
16 in College Green. On the other side of the road is a brown
stone building, with '1827' on shields, and the building on its left has Corinthian
columns, the two inner ones are round, while the other two are square. On the
corner of Chancery Lane is the Ulster Bank, on the opposite corner the National
Irish Bank, then the brownstone building from which an AIB flag flaps, the building
to its right is nameless and unoccupied, then the brick Guinness and Mahon Limited,
Hannas, Mad Flowers, then the utterly beautiful building which, on the street
level is 'The Trinity Newsagency', and on the other corner 'The Pen Shop'. Bus
is here ...
Bad Ass Cafe, Temple Bar
|REM is playing
"Man in the Moon", it's bright, even the rain outside seems to
have stopped. I Scream U Scream, Almond The Mood For Love, Mellow Yellow,
Eat The Peach, Knickerbocker Glory, Sweet FA (for dieters), Pizza Fruit
Tart, Floats .. float on .. milkshieks, Ass Time Goes By, Always A Nice
Sinead O'Connor worked here once.
And I'm going to steal the menu, roll it up in a cylinder, and cunningly
disguise it as a broken arm ..
Museum. Out the front,
in Blooms' spot, looking towards the National Library.
Westropp's. Checking the details from the literature about
the sites he photographed, but still couldn't find any references to something
he called The Bluebell Church. Looks more like the ruins of some fortification.
door is the 1916 Room. Uniforms
on ill-sized mannequins. The uniforms look okay, but the mannequins have
a 'look' that doesn't quite match the era. Countess Marquiweiz's rifle always
gets my attention, as do some of the white death masks, and the huge green
flag over the massive fire surround.
Keep on going through the 1916 Room and you're in the Cafe. 70p for a cuppa
if you don't have a badge, 50p if you do.
According Dublin Tenement Lives, the worst areas were The Coombe, Francis Street,
Cork Street, Chamber Street and Kevin Street. Must plan a walking tour sometime
that takes in the lot.
From the top of Francis Street, a walking tour of The Liberties would involve
turning left into Thomas Street, to Dean Street, right, which becomes The Coombe,
keep on, left at Ardee, then first right should be Cork Street, then first left,
which according to the Street Map is unnamed, but which leads to Chamber Street.
and the sessions at The Auld Dubliner aren't listed in 'In Dublin'. Brilliant.
A piper, whose name I didn't quite catch, something like Donnica, fiddler
(Heather), guitar (John), banjo (Tommy), and two other guitarists whose
names I can't remember.
ever hopefully, into the Brazen Head, nothing but suits and ties pretending
to be peasants for the craic. Then up the Quays, pass Adam and Eves, riverrun,
into Temple Bar, listening in to whatever noise there might be, almost to Grafton
Street, back, Oliver St John Gogarty, upstairs, nothing. The Auld Dubliner,
listened, pipes! Tuning. Yes, listened to the first set, then asked if I could
join in on bodhran. Yes, but only if I could play. Fair enough. Nervous, stomach
clenched, played. Think I played well enough, or, at least, they didn't tell
me to piss off. Played until the pub closed at 12:00. A 'secret session' is
on, apparently, at The Barn Owl, on James Street, next Sunday. Have finally
cracked the session scene. I'm told that the sessions advertised in 'In Dublin'
are placed by proprietors of pubs being hopeful, and a whole bunch of tourists
turn up to listen to what doesn't happen. The muso's get out, keep it secret,
and move when certain pubs get known on the tourist circuit.
Later, though, wondering
if it was that good. Feeling as though being judged, having something to prove,
nervous. Finding the session was good, taking the plunge and asking. Worked
hard. Wish I could say I enjoyed myself, but this is an expectation, a 'have
to', a reason for us being here, an obligation to fulfill.
According to Mary, the Ballingore site, last week, was a treasure trove of riches, with things
"popping out of the ground." Cysts, urns, burials, cremations, everything.
the King's daughter is not here tomorrow at this same hour the realm shall be
ravaged by me", said the dragon.
p.61 The Celtic Dragon Myth, by J.F. Campbell. Edinburgh: John Grant, 1911
p.179: 'Down she went with all the things she held most precious,
dresses and jewellery and things of price, and she spread them on the rocks
by the sea. She sat on a green mound in the gloaming in the mouth of the evening,
playing on her harp beside them. She had not sat there long playing in the dark
when a mermaid rose outside the surf, for mermaids are fonder of music than
any other creatures, and there she floated, listening. But when the King's daughter
saw the mermaid, she stopped.
"Play on," said the mermaid.
Couldn't be bothered with the shops on Grafton Street, just kind of wandering
through. Looked into one music shop, I think on Exchequer Street, sheet music,
but why is there never anything new. Why is there nothing in print by De Danann,
or Frankie Gavin, or the Bothy Band, or Donul Lunny's stuff, why hasn't the
Riverdance music been published, and why, even with five albums, does a Davy
Spillane tune-book not exist? Bejaysus, why isn't there anything at all by the
Chieftains available? Why is is just the same old crap? O'Neills, Breathnach,
Soodlum's, Willie Clancy, shite, they've been around now for decades. Vol 2
of the Breathnach series has a new cover, but that's about it.
Golden Discs. Off O'Connell Street. Boring. The 'Haunted' single is described
as 'fantastic'. It's not. The original was far better.
Forbidden Planet was closed, closes at 6, except on Thursdays at 7, but Waterstone's
was open, 'til 8:30 on Wednesdays. many books on ireland, beautiful photography,
the living landscape. How come I can't take photographs of Glendelough like
that one? The novels of Mahfouz, but they only had vols 1 & 2 of the Cairo
trilogy. Out. Passing Judge Roy Beans, the bouncer/security/groove-assessment
guy at the front, Grafton, Wicklow Streets, up, the 'Leon'poster in Tower is
actually a painting, and, apparently, The Tin Drum is No.1 on the alternative
Top 10 films. Well, aren't I just the groovy one now.
Back up Golden Lane.
News: some kind of attack on Japan's subways.
More Westropps. He's
in Mayo and Sligo, photographing places around Ballina, Erris, and some other
places that are so obscure they don't warrant mentions in any of the literature.
Now, where's that Sinead O'Connor single I stashed, in a secret place, so no-one
else could buy it. The extended version of Fire on Babylon. Jaysus, it ain't there. Check the 'O'Connor' section, just
in case, and yes, some useless bastard's been tidying up, putting it back where
it belonged, stupid hoor. Grab it, sensing the envious eyes all around, maybe
those who'll now leave with lesser prizes are about to pounce and do me some
Celtic-type violence. Who knows, maybe they're thinking "that stupid bugger
just bought that awful CD." Never really know for sure.
Grafton Street, on the way back to Leeson Lane.
Get accosted again by the same girl with the little cane basket, asking for
"change for food."
"You've hassled me before," I tell her.
She doesn't follow me up the street this time.
Crossing into St
"There's a Smith," says one tourist, looking up at the names under
the arch at the entrance. Jaysus, lady, there's going to be a Smith on every
monument on the planet.
Passing the Harrison Gallery, on South Great Georges.
Sculptures made from metal and screws. The screw-covered motorcyclists helmet,
like something from Mad Max. The terminator-type violence of it appeals no end.
The paintings inside seem a little weak-kneed after that.
The soccer is playing on a giant screen at the far end, the red team is playing
the blue team, and the band is due to start at 'half nine', or so I've just
been told. She seemed surprised that there was even a band on tonight. One of
the teams is Arsenal.
The blue team won. The band, called something like Shamrog, didn't seem too
keen on starting while the football was on. They were probably shite anyway.
bus to Enniskerry.
Townsend Street, the Long Stone, it used to be a jungle out there, Lombard Street
East, the Wind Jammer, Mahaffey's, Aslan at the Olympia, All Hallows Church
- where's Bloom, Sweny's the chemist, Kennedy's pub, Mont Clare, Merrion Square
on the left ahead, Art Gallery, Leinster House, Baggott, Hume Street, St Stephens, Canada House,
O'Brien's sandwich bar, UCD, NCH, Adelaide Road, Whistle Stop Cafe, An Beal
Bocht, canal, Ranelagh, Keegans, Bergins, Chelmsford Lane, Jack Birchall's,
R McSorley & sons, tudor houses, Sandford Road, Cumberland Avenue Lower
(right), Milltown and Enniskerry that way, Milltown Road, the mountains ahead,
new apartments (brick), and Chris wants to check where we get off (already!),
we may be in Milltown, looks ordinary, Ryans Arbour House, Central Mental Hospital,
Sommerville, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Dundrum, stationary and school books, Enniskerry
that way, Ryans Dundrum House, the statue of Jesus is filled at the back with
something black, stone walls either side that you're able to see over, Balally,
park, arch in the rockwall, you don't know the score if you don't have the Evening
Herald, Church of the Ascension that way, Mary, 5½ miles to Enniskerry,
1¾ to Leopardstown, 4 to The Scalp, to the Leopardstown Races left, Gorse
Hill, Tara, Evergreen right, My Fair Lady, Roth Rua "a lovely road",
The Pink Steppe Inn, small golf course, Kilternan, Golden Ball Tavern - dog
and all, being scenic, 3 working crucifixes near the blue church, Amberglow
Fires, golf and country club, fake ski slope, Sugarloafs, Liam wants this road,
1.5k's, truck load of cut trees, try our hot wash!, Enniskerry Horse Show 29-30/4,
bright sunshine, danger 200m - what? the cathedral?
I wonder who the
Powerscourt family were, and when the fire broke out, wondering if they were
in a flurry of 'last-minute' preparations for the grand reopening. I wonder
if they then just sat on the well manicured lawn and just watched it burn, unable
to do anything. I wonder if they watched it burn from the back area 'Italian'
garden, or out the front near the horse paddocks. The house is now basically
a shell, some wallpaper still hangs in the wall of the '1881' room. It's sad.
but elegant anyway.
discovered a tree that was planted by Bob Hawke. Onya Bob.
The latest fashion accessory in downtown Enniskerry is a scout scarf. Totally
From the right, there's
the Powerscourt Arms, then 'The Village Store' - where Shannon bought a 'Chunky'
ice cream and a red Yorkie bar; then Jack Windsor, and up a little further is
the Enniskerry Trading Company which sells Quaker and North American Indian
merchandise, a bit odd, then there's the Kingfisher takeaway, with it's well
vinegared chips. On the other side, there's Poppies Country Cooking (objects,
gifts and souvenirs), The Village Butcher, who's windows are curiously devoid
of any meat; the Stained Glass studio, Stepping Stones restaurant, then finally,
the Greenwood Inn.
Changed. White shirt, black tie, grey coat, fed the kids, and left for the reception
for the Bronze Age Conference. Got there exactly at 6. Inside, glasses of wine
given to us immediately, "take your coats ?", no thanks, we'll leave
them on. Introduce C to Raghnall, chat, get introduced to the director of the
Natural History Museum, a rabbity awkward little man. Trays of food being carried,
yes, salmon on soda bread, little pizza things, tiny sandwiches. A food search-and-destroy
mission. Two boring speeches, by the Library's Manuscript Curator and someone
else. A look at the exhibition, the stone from Loughcrew, the bronze and gold and the stones. And why is that red enamelled one so important
We leave. To Bewleys.
Needed milk, down to the Patrick Street Londis. Maybe the luscious Viviane
would be serving. But no, they were just opening, got served by the rather
Moore Street Market
There's usually dozens of sellers wanting you to buy tobacco. This morning,
not one. Just the 5 for a punt lighter sellers. Damn. Then I eyeball this bloke,
"tobacco ?" he asks, in a small voice.
"how many ?"
and from under his coat he produced the packet, and I slip him the money. The
police are cracking down, he says. Jaysus, hope it doesn't kill off the trade.
One packet of Samson rollies lasts about 8 days, 9 if I roll them thin.
The Body Shop
Shannon's buying cartridges for her fountain pen. C and I test the patchouli,
on wrists. bringing back invented visions of pagan hippy queens, black coffee
and the smoke ringed steam entwined. The smell of my own personal nirvana. My
own version of Proust's teacake.
a little later
Buying cigarette papers from Gary's.
15p. Damn, I've only ever been charged 13p before.
Two hours to post 3 postcards. To the Anne Street Post Office, but once again
the wooden doors were closed. Around, towards O'Connell Street. 'Record Fair'
sign, held by someone unemployed otherwise, on a stick with arrows pointing down
an alley. Walked down, and some jerk in a rubber mask and fright wig handing
out flyers for something called 'Freakout'. He didn't look as much freaky as
idiotic. Didn't find what we were looking for, but then, neither did Bono. Across
the bridge to the Post Office, bought the stampai and posted them. Dublin. All
Places Other Than Dublin.
O'Neills Pub, on Suffolk Street
The soccer's playing on the television, but nobody's watching. Some guy in a
green sweater is demonstrating his golf swing, and the other two older men on
my right are chatting away
"You couldn't see the horses goin' roun'," says one
" I think it was the guy from Wexford."
And Liam managed to keep a straight face while asking the luscious Viviane,
the Liberties Londis Celtic type Goddess incarnate, for four Licks. "How
many did you want ?". Well, lots, and lots, actually.
You can buy Confirmation and Communion rosettes for £2 each at John Laurence
Dress Suit Hire on Thomas Street.
St Stephens Green playground, and some kid just took a tumble off the steps
up to the slide.
and on the playing
fields of Trinity, an American gridiron match is being played. The red team
is playing the blue team, 13 to 14, and 22 is brought down; tactics discussion,
the cheerleaders cheer, something like 'Go, Potatoes, Fight, Fight, Fight!'
I must have heard wrong.
From here, our balcony overlooking Bride Street, you can make a cuppa, sit in
on the new coaster pinched from Mother Redcaps, realize that you've forgotten
the bread, walk to Dunnes in the St Stephens Green Mall, direct a lost tourist,
head down the elevator to Dunnes Food Court, select the bread (the freshest
is always at the back), wait in the checkout, pay, bag the bread, get the elevator
up, walk through the children's clothes section (as you have to if you want
to get out of this building), leave, down the steps, be rude to a 'price of
a cuppa tea' guy, walk back down Golden Lane, punch in the code to the front door, walk up the stairs, unlock the door to the apartment, put the bread
in the fridge, go back to the balcony, sit down, and the coffee's still warm.
I just proved it.
Foster Place, behind the House of Lords, a crew is setting up some scene for
'Moll Flanders'. The 'extras' are looking bored out their brains, one is sitting
on a horse, having a leisurely cigarette. The lampposts disguised as trees are
St Patricks Garden.
Some local shithead decided to 'mess with' Liam, wanting cigarettes or hash,
backed off when he saw me coming. Then, at the top of Werburgh Street, a 'favour'
asked by a drunk. Wanted 25p. A serious hassle, getting aggressive. A similar
incident with C and Liam coming back from the cinema. C had to give them, 50p,
"we're not muggers or anything". Well, not yet anyway.
Why don't they just feck off.
Feckers like that should be taken out.
The Barn Owl,
at the end of Thomas Street, or whatever Thomas Street is called there. On the
table there is a note "Reserved For Musicians". But, so far, I'm the
only one here, if bodhran players count as musicians.
C has the urge
to become the cat-lady of Dublin, feeding all the strays near St Werburghs
Maybe, in 10 years, there'll be the Cat Lady Pub.
have been massacred in Rwanda, and Four Weddings and a Funeral won most
of the awards at the Brits. Whatever that is.
Westmoreland Street. .
The usual, in the best room here, under the leadlight window, near the ornate
fireplace, huge and wooden and mirrored and green-tiled, the oriental-type wallpaper,
the deep maroon seats, the marble-topped tables. Perfect.
And after booking the car for the French bit later in the year, we're back at
Bewleys, Grafton Street. Second Floor, in the 'Oriental Room', for a performance
of 'The Bear' by the Virtuous Oboe Company. Everything's draped in black. We
get soup and sandwiches (lettuce and tomato).
yeah, that was great. Rachel Downey, the Woman in Black.
Browne Thomas, with Shannon.
The bowler-hatted doorman tells us we have fifteen minutes. Perfumes, Yves St-Laurent
and every other manufacturer. A Calvin Klein t-shirt for £84.95, undies
for £19.95. Shannon's telling me about some new French teacher she has,
from Australia, and who thought Shannon was being sarcastic about her accent,
and got quite snarky apparently, 'til she discovered that Shannon's accent was
for real. Jaysus, why didn't she just ask ?
Anzac Day. I guess by now the old buggers have lined up and pissed against the
walls at the top end of Swanston Street, played their games of two-up, gotten
pissed again, marched down to the Shrine, and every Australian has had their
Waiting for the 123, outside the Irish Celtic Craftshop, with it's overpriced
souvenirs, mainly supplied by the Guinness company, Malachi Kearns and the Blarney
Woollen Mills. Over the road from the Lord Edward/Christchurch corner is the
Darling Buds of May Flower Shop, the Joyce & Co bookshop, where it's difficult
to buy Joyce, the Home response Project apartments, another Georgian-doored
building (the doors are dark blue). Then Whichcraft, a few empty shops, Castle
Fayre restaurant and sandwiches. The Gate milk bar (even though they're not
called milk bars here), but they have Taz's at the moment, and finally O'Hogan
Sallyanne, one of the work experience students at the Museum, is working 'downstairs'.
Where's 'downstairs'? First I've heard of a 'downstairs' to this place. The
vaults ? The treasures that must not be seen ? What ?
Cleaned up two individuals, one only had vertebrae and ribs, the other only
the femur. How can one end up with only those bits left ? What happens to all
the other bits ? Of the 208 bones in the human body, how can anybody wind up
with only three ?
Just had a meeting with the other tenants of Tailor's Court, at the Napper Tandy
next door. Had the awful suspicion that once the Napper's regulars learnt who
we were, they'd be over here, doing us over, while we were over there. Dingy
pub, deep orange walls and dirty windows. Tomorrow night, they're showing the
Ireland vs Portugal soccer match on TV. Gee, I'll be well back in the queue
for that privilege.
And if I heard the radio right, Sinead O'Connor's at the Tivoli on June 2nd.
Yes! It's true! Holy Bejaysus, first Dublin concert in five years.
Sinead O'Connor, at the Tivoli, starting at midnight.
the ticket on the way to work, from the HMV in Grafton Street.
Cleaned another individual's bones this afternoon. A child, about three or four
maybe, small bones, fragile, a little depressing. For some reason the arms and
head were missing, as were the feet. Hands but no feet, legs but no arms. Weird.
The scapula almost broke apart in my hands.
Joe offered a cuppa when I appeared upstairs. he's into clay pipes, and has
read the 4 volume 2,000 page epic on the topic.
And read in the new In Dublin that both Frankie Gavin and Davy Spillane are
in town this weekend.
Walked back through St Stephens Green, full of people, old, young, sunning,
playing, sitting around in groups, some with their heads resting on somebody
else's lap. Some being photographed, in front of the flowers, on the bridge,
Just read a review of a CD by a band called Cordelia's Dad. Brilliant name.
And Ireland beat Portugal 1-0, and somehow that means this country
goes to the top of Table 6, whatever that means.
Cross, with the Sheelagh-na-Gig. I think the man may be TJ Westropp himself, but I have no idea really.
a few other negatives around this one have also disappeared, probably collected
by whoever presorted these negatives into their 'location' books. And, for some
reason, it's the only one of two that has a specific date, July 26th 1917, as
though TJW was trying to fix it in his mind forever (the other one was Armistice Day, with
the photograph of the zeppelin over Dun Laoghaire).
the Synods at Tara were destroyed by British Israelites in search of the Holy
Grail. How does one get to be a British Israelite? But I guess they didn't find
it, or maybe they did, and just have it stashed somewhere. maybe the Desmond
Dekker song gives all the clues you need to find it ..
Finished another Westropp book. Beginning to see TJW as cold and lifeless, just
photographing things, buildings, ruins, not much else. No wonder Father Brown's
work is revered here, but no-one knows of Westropp outside the intelligentsia.
Finished two individuals, although calling the second one an individual is overstating
the case, a few broken scapula fragments, and a femur. That's it. At least I
got a complete jaw in the first one.
Just met Helen, the pottery expert, who told Barra that the shards from Ballingore were definitely not early Bronze Age, but Neolithic. Some
pinpointed to exact times within the Neolithic, the 'Late Early Neolithic'.
She was so sure, and is the first archaeologist I've ever come across that doesn't
talk in 'maybe's' and 'probablies', for which she has my undying admiration.
And from the second floor window of The Horse and Tram pub, there's a beautiful
view of the bridge over to Westmoreland Street, the Liffey flows bronze-greenly,
and there's a begging girl shaking her plastic container, and the last remnants
of the teenaged flesh that was queued up this morning for the eventual non-appearance
of Take That are still singing around Grafton Street, but Liam and I are here
to see Clive Barker. The place is full of Goths.
Clive has his coffee white, no sugar, and he wants to mould children's minds,
a 'no' to the Butterfly Song, to be deeply weird, Lord of Illusion, he's bored
with monster movies, and Pinhead has been domesticated, Hollywood power, spending
$65 million of someone else's money is 'deeply attractive', he likes 'order'
in his life and life is too short, comics are dead, wants his art gallery painted
black, art, oh it's an 'art experience, oh fuck', the arsonist, Chartres, the
high point of Western Civilization and being in the belly of that beast, sunlight
beaming through the Rose Window and Take Me Home Lord, the cult of personality,
sacred spaces, his nightmare is someone moving the stuff on his desk, Danny
Elfman's 'Nightbreed' score is 'smashing', 1940's Dancing In The Dark, writing
or directing, at the moment the preference is writing, La Reine Margot is very
cool, particularly the King bleeding through his pores, True Lies is crap, from
Chartres to Eurodisney, the full span of Western civilization, freak shows,
the fat lady "are you fucking me", "no, you're in a wrinkle",
hating Star Trek, and the forbidden Ren and Stimpy's.
Now, he's signing
stuff with a pen he's borrowed from Liam, including Liam's Hellraiser comic
and Pinhead T-shirt, and I'm not allowed to tough that pen now, in case I "pollute"
Up on the Tailors Court roof garden and something's burning. Smoke's all over
this side of the city, fire trucks and ambulances heading somewhere close.
Gone for a closer look, and a fireman is smashing the windows of the Whitefriars
Street School, just off Golden Lane. More fire engines, and the garda is trying
to keep the kids back, without much luck. The smoke smells evil, but the kids
seem happy enough. It probably means a few days off. Recognized one of the them,
the fat one. The one who was in the group that hassled Liam in St Patricks Park
a few days ago. Bet he did it, the fat arsonist.
The roof has gone
up, and the sound of cracking tiles as the water gets poured on. It's all kind
of festive really, although the crowd has gone strangely silent.
yep, that school's stuffed.
According to the news, a nun was critically injured in the fire yesterday.
Yep, the fat arsonist is surely gonna burn in hell now.
And Prince Charles is due here in June, the first ever Royal to visit the Republic
since the partition of Ireland in 1922.
In the Thomas Street Cathedral. The backlit lower windows are intriguing, the
vertically hanging thick neon tubes, the people entering and leaving, some chanting
in unison near the front, the carved 'towers' behind the altar. Liam wants to
take confession, as apparently he's been having impure thoughts about the girl
in the bakery across the road from here. Nice buns.
And after leaving C at the Long Hall, it's to the Irish Film Centre, to see
'Wings of Desire".
Jaysus, that was depressing. Berlin, and people seem to be continually on the
verge of suicide, thinking about the aloneness of life.
some adult has been taken into custody over the arson at the school. They got
the wrong guy, I tell ya, it was the fat arsonist, the "just messin' wif
Pope John Paul Park, halfway up the Nephim Road, somehow managed to find it
in time for the big hit off. And the red team with the green stripe is in the
centre, stretching, listening to coaches last words of advice. Probably something
like,"it doesn't matter what happens as long as you cripple a few."
The blue team is doing star jumps, like a bunch about to crippled fairies. They
huddle, and the red team take their places.
Matching up. Maybe figuring our who's to be crippled first. Whistle...clash!
Blue team score first, they may be called Naomh Foinn Barra, according to the
the track sweater of a few mothers on the sidelines, the Finbars. No, it was
a red goal, I think I may have lost the drift of this hurling stuff already, another
red goal, I think the red team are The Commercials, a blue player is down, holding
his head "can I have a drop o'water ?", Johnny Morris, 5 for the red
team, hits off, but blue team goals again, it's half time, or quarter time or
Whistle, "stand back Rocky", "knock it on! knock it on!",
and 11 for red just gaoled, then the blue team quickly replies, cheers "go,
Liam !". While someone on the sidelines in a 20 blue team shirt reads a
newspaper, front page reports about some rapists "13 year reign of terror",
and a report on Sex in Britain complete with a colour picture of some couple
While I've been distracted, 13 for Red has just been reported, maybe he crippled
his man finally, and now 9 for Red is down, but no, he rises to his feet, what
a legend, and 11 for Red goals from a free, and then 10 for Blue gets mown down,
"get loads of bars in", "Aye Angus !" whatever that means.
Six minutes to play and it's anybody's game, Blue scores, "fer fooks sake
!", "call, Paddy, call !". Blue goals again over the bar. "Well
done, Stephen, now put it over ! Yes !!". But 11 for Red goals again. Score,
a draw? Shit, I thought Blue killed them, and remained uncrippled in the victory.
Phoenix Park, at the base of the Phoenix Column, where it rises from the flames.
Bit of a joke, that. "Phoenix" is a transliteration of "Fionn
Uisce", cool water.
Over there is President Mary's house. She has a moat, and she's left her light
and the road that connects Dublin Castle to Great Ship Street has been turned
into a film lot for Moll Flanders. Saw Morgan Freeman and other costumed people,
all eating lunch. Looked like baked potatoes and cabbage.
It's packed. Panicked when I was behind some guy in the queue who was refused
entry for some reason I couldn't fathom. Jaysus, if this place had a dress code
I'll never make it. But no, I'm ushered through.
12:20 am (technically
and Frankie Gavin's support act, Sinead Lohan, just died up there. Despite being
next to a couple who worship every move she makes, she just died in front of
an unappreciative audience who didn't want to hear her chick-with-a-guitar-deep-and-meaningful-soul-searching
stuff. The final blow to any cred she may have had was when she reminded the
audience that "there's a gig going on up here." I don't think I'll
need reminding not to buy any of her records.