And in the five minutes it took to have a cigarette
on the balcony, 21 garda walked down Bride Street, a few singly, but most in
groups of three or four, and two garda vehicles. Dame Street must be wall to
wall. Bejaysus, now there's a fleet of garda motorcycles, in formation.
Airforce One has landed.
He's now Bill's meeting the dignitaries, and the woman reporting from the airport
is getting quite ecstatic. Bill's having a good hair day, and he has a lovely
And there's Bill Clinton. And Hilary.
And the best bit was C shoving back some stupid bastard who was shoving forward.
Jaysus, he came close to crawling home with an American flag up his arse.
Still, Bill spoke well, hit all the right buttons, U2, Cranberries, Seamus Heaney
and James Joyce, and the Famine and Irish emigrants, and the peace in Northern
Ireland, and calling himself a "True Dub". Plastic flags flapped en
masse. 50p each. Dame Street was knee-deep in discarded ones on the walk back.
Seomra an Cheoil
Pierre Bensusan's just hanging around with a few of the far less than 50 that
are here. Anyway, a glass of white wine and .. peanuts .. bejaysus, haven't
had a faceful of peanuts in a long time.
Pierre would like a smoke-free environment, apparently, which he's not getting.
And hey, I should have done what that guy over there has just done, just take
an entire bowl of peanuts and scarf the lot.
A white room, small stage, one guitar, one chair, one microphone, a small battery
of effects pedals.
Half-time, and I think Pierre has scored with the gorgeous French-speaker in
the audience who is also about to publish a book on guitar technique, with references
to Bensusan's DAGDAD tuning. She offered him a perusal of her proofs.
Still half-time. She must be offering him more than a perusal of her proofs
out there in l'jardin d'amore.
Second half was great. Moroccan Ramadan, the Victor Hugo song. Hey, Pierre,
just so you know, the 'joke' about irradiated Australian wines offended greatly.
And, just so you know, I love your music, you are a genius, but I won't be buying
any more of your CDs.
Reading the papers, an article about Bill Clinton, who only had a half-pint
of stout, and an ensuing argument over whether he drank Guinness or Murphy's,
but, bejaysus, can't the man handle a pint? Pathetic. The most powerful man
in the world drinks half-pints. And just the one. And he calls himself a True
The GPO, buying stamps, then to Henry Street, and the streets are claustrophobically
crowded. The sellers, lighters, Christmas paper at 'foive for fifty'. No tobacco
though, not a shred, and apparently won't be any until after Christmas.
The sun's come up,
the buildings along the quays are lit up, the Liffey looks nice, and we tracked
the poster man. Got a Mike Scott. Back to the apartment, through the Castle
shortcut, having a look at the newly repaved courtyard, done up for Bill's visit.
"It's so beautiful, Bill."
"Well, yeah, Hilary, it's just like Ballybunnion."
a bit later
Temple Bar. And while passing the Bad Ass cafe, get the urge to buy Shannon
a Bad Ass t-shirt. There's only one size, extra large. Whatever. £7, okay
then, and it's okay, she'll just wear it now.
In O'Connell Street, near Dr Quirky's fun parlour, two costumed people, in Celtic
warrior garb. Now there's something you don't see every day.
The Advent Procession With Carols.
Which they'd refrained from turning the lights up, as it was all very atmospheric
with just the candles. Imagining myself as an Irish boyo, no, an Irish farmer
who attends church every Sunday to eye off the girls, like the one over there,
in the brown coat and jeans who isn't singing either. And, bejaysus, when the
collection plate got passed around, those notes looked kind of tempting, but
no, in went the 20p.
Not sure about the song that ended with righteousness falling from the sky.
Reading the Sunday paper about Clinton's visit, about being served a 'warm beer'
in Cassidy's Bar. Which, according to the 'ABC' is "they way they drink
it over there." Not sure if it's the Australian ABC or the American one.
Sounds suspiciously Australian, not knowing the difference between Ireland and
England. They drink it warm in England, not here.
Been in the pub for over an hour, which I think is called Ryans, but maybe it's
Sandymount House. Whatever, it's a nice pub. The walk here was pleasant enough,
Northumberland Road, Bath Road, Sandymount Road, down Newgrove to the Sandymount
Strand, where Gerty
flashed, now I'll be able to say, well, yeah, been there.
The pub, by the fire.
Coal burning red embers.
The number 3 bus, the ride back a tad uneventful, except for the boyos for whom
the bus didn't stop as they weren't at a designated stop, running, catching
up with it at the next stop, yelling "bastard!" at the driver as they
ran. Great craic altogether that was.
A cuppa at Bewleys, and then a walk back through Temple Bar. C has an urge to
look in the Harley Davidson shop. Expensive t-shirts, jeans, leather jackets,
all bearing the HD logo. Could fancy C in a pair of HD fishnet stockings, but
they didn't have any.
Apparently the 'yes' victory is to be legally challenged. Jaysus, can't some
people take yes for an answer ?
The All American
launderette on South Great Georges, our favourite, didn't survive very safely
at all. Got arsoned during the night, great holes bashed through it's thick
windows, with the footpath in front piled high with melted laundry buckets and
burnt washing. Why would someone burn a launderette ?
Convincing C that
she needs to walk through St Stephens Green, much like it was when we arrived.
The yellow door of the house there. Being approached in the Green by some grungy
old guy who asked if we were Australian. Yes. Have you seen Kilmainham? Yes.
Brilliant. Then he drags out a book from his flight travel bag, and recommends
'The Boys of Kilmichael'. Now, in what other city would passing bums give you
book recommendations ?
I've actually touched the
To Raghnall, the most important object in the Museum's collection, bar none.
Finished Westropp's negatives of Athenry
Castle . On one of them, there's
graffiti 'Vote For Fahy' written on a wall near the Athenry Gate. However Fahy
Wicklow Street. Tower Records. Reading the new 'Rolling Stone', and an article
about John Bonham, and saying that only drummers can appreciate volume, how
hard a drummer can play. What crap. Jon Bonham never played anything other than
4/4. Throw him anything else, like 'Black Dog', and he's totally nonplussed
about where this extra beat is coming from. Listen to it.
Liam made a movie
this morning. Of me, going
to work. Filming all the way,
through the streets, Stephen Streets, Upper and Lower, the posters, crossing
Aungier, the Hairy Lemon, Gaiety and Dunnes, Grafton, picking up an IFC brochure
from HMV, St Annes with the church at the end, Dawson, Molesworth, the Ulysses
plaque, yes safe, and finally reaching the Museum, had to explain what was going
on to Security, as filming's not allowed, and it was okay as long as they were
allowed to be in it too, then me knocking on the church door, being allowed
in, Andy, Mary, then through to my desk. Liam filmed it all. It's a great movie.
I think I'm going to watch it lots of times, later. Really.
And Ned presents, to me, the 'handsome' Agnes O'Donovan. Agnes. Some parents
still call their kids Agnes. I explain to Agnes about what's to be done with
the Westropp's. Peeling the prepared transparent stickers, and putting them
on the negatives.
a bit later
With Nigel, to sort out some apparent problem with the numbering of the Westropps.
So, it's upstairs, through the Ceramics room, which is mostly overcrowded glass
cases, and no wonder ceramics people are all depressed, it's really badly lit.
Shown the Egyptian Room, which at the moment has nothing Egyptian in it; a Furniture
Room, the Linen Room, through the Viking Exhibition, which has been slagged
from high places as outmoded and boring (which it is).
Then, holy of holies, the Music Room, the one I've asked about. Jaysus, it's
heaven on a stick. Harps galore, and fiddles aplenty. I feel this deep seated
need to tune the buggers up, and think it's tragic that they're not played.
Wooden instruments need to be played to keep their tone, or they lose it, something
to do with the molecules of the wood being shuffled around, the more they're
shuffled, the better it sounds, or something like that. At one time, these instruments
probably sounded fantastic, now though, they'd sound like shite.
And apparently the dreaded 'blackice', whatever that is, is back on the roads
again, and we're to be extra careful as we drive to work today.
Street Post Office
Outside, waiting for it to open. The women, also waiting, getting crotchety
in the cold. Finally , inside, and the 'free' tellers windows are announced
in English and Irish.
Trying to match up the 'Rockbrook Walk' from the Wicklow Walks book, and the
Dublin Map. The only way it seems to fit is if one or the other is turned upside
Outside, there's a group of kids, the boyos and the girl they were walking with
up to the corner, a drunk with his hand out, passing them, the girl put a piece
of paper into his hand, and he throws it away in disgust.
The guy who always asks for 'the price of a cuppa tea' is back, at his usual
haunt, outside. Didn't see him at all over summer. Maybe he had all his cuppa
teas in Spain or somewhere else.
The Baggott Street Superquinns, buying pastry. On the way, some event at the
Telecom Centre involving kids and giveaways. And while Mrs Claus was okay, Ms
Elf had nice legs. And at the Musicals shop in South William Street, I could
have bought a Riverdance calendar.
Every time Liam and I walk around the top end of Capel Street, he comments on
how he's never been there before. Maybe he just sees it with fresh eyes every
time, wish I could. But, meanwhile, the people behind us are chowing down on
hamburgers and popcorn, and getting a headstart on turning this cinema into
a rubbish heap. Anyway, 'An American President' is about to start, we've just
had the yellow Irish Ratings slide.
Shannon to the Mount Temple Disco. The Junior Classes, all having to present
a Library ID or their Ticket, groups of 'em milling outside. I have an instant
distrust of the lot, the boyos with greased hair and the girlies with silk black
123, back to Lord Edward Street,
and bejaysus, this driver's flying. Whipping around the roundabouts of Marino
Crescent like he know no fear. And on the bus is Jennifer, apparently. Jennifer
of the red jacket, and black tights and too much lipstick that has spread slightly
beyond her lips. Maybe Jennifer has promised the bus driver that as soon as
we're back at the depot, I'm yours. Yes, tonoights yer noight boyo.
and there's that Enya poster, the one where she's burying her head into her
cradled arm. For the Memory of Trees. Looks
more like the Memory of Just having Had Sixteen Pints. The
poor girlie doesn't look at all well. I think it's meant to look kind of cosmic
and other-worldly, but no, it looks like "think I'll just have a lie down
as the world is spinning" kind of thought.
The 47B bus has just arrived, but no, it's not ours. We want the 47A, due at
We're on the 47, same as the 47A, according to the red-haired boyo busdriver.
St Andrews. Westland Row. Mont Clare. Merrion Square and the Natural History
Museum. Leinster House. Ely Place. Hume Street. St Stephens Green. NCH, where
I've seen Liam O'Flynn, twice. John Gleeson and Son. Utopia Products, red maids
all in a row. The Brazen Hair Company. Richmond Street. Portobello, had a few
pints in there. The Canal. Rathmines Road Lower. Leinster Road. Louis Lane.
Kenilworth Road, Kenilworth Square East, then South. Rathgar Avenue. Patricks
Pub Restaurant. Orwell Road. Bushy Park Road. Another fast bus driver and an
odd smell of burning rubber. Rathfarnham Castle. Nillbrook House. The Tuning
Fork. Taylors Lane. Whitechurch Estate. Lissadell. Tirbradden Road, on the right.
And it's farms, sheep with blue paint, and cows, and expanses of green. Rockbrook.
Finally, off the bum-numbing bus.
following the directions for Walk 2 from the 'Wicklow Walks' book. Though I
don't think we managed to follow the dotted lines for very long. Up the road
to the larch forest, then through the forest, along muddy paths, roads, farms,
asking anybody that passed for directions, Deciding just to go with the flow,
and not bother with the inadequacies of the map. Just leave the map folded and
just wander. Worked out better when made up our own rules.
Finally back. To Bewleys. Westmoreland
Radio. It's Kim Taylor
and the Australian Music Show, kookaburras and AccaDacca. But whoever this band
is, Skunkhour or something, are as bland as all hell, and whoever's responsible
for the song 'Sexuality' has got to be a wanker, and 'Past to Present' is a
major league wank. While 'Swoop' apparently mixes traditional 'sounds' with
'today's funky sounds', and their songwriter is today's special guest. Yep,
"people try to tell me the way I live is wrong," and, yep, they suck,
and the way you live sucks. It's Demi Hynes, and yep, it's that boring, plodding
disco, a real '70's thang.
"I wonder if you could direct me," asks some old bloke, who's obviously
been knocking back the pints already this morning, "I'm looking for a one
"I have no idea," I reply. Jaysus, I'm totally unused to this particular
method of finding an apartment.
Down to Past Times in Exchequer Street, the book on the sex lives of British
Royalty has sold out. Yep, they might have become a Republic, but don't the
Irish just love Royalty, just can't get enough of 'em. Jaysus, and takes a month
to order a CD from London as it's considered a 'foreign' import.
C is on the search for cellophane. We expected to be asked if we wanted it in
red, blue, green, orange, purple, yellow or clear, but instead, we're met with
blank looks. Nobody knows what it is. Maybe they think it's a brand of condom
or something else you can only buy in the North. Tried three or four places.
Sitting on the balcony, having a cigarette, and boyos on Bride Street below.
"Are yez given us a smoke ?" I'm asked.
So, I'll expect the brick through the window in a few minutes.
Bewleys Westmoreland Street.
The guy on my right has just emptied an appalling number of sugar saches into
The Long Hall.
C's been making a video in here. Took a few goes to get it right, and it's
.. well ... okay .. but I doubt she'll be up there on the stage tearily
accepting the Oscar for Best Documentary.
We're going to miss this place. The atmosphere, the pictures, the barman,
everything. Maybe if the rebellion that was apparently planned in here had
worked, this place would be better known. Pity. But then, planning a rebellion
in a premise that kinds of backs onto Dublin Castle might not have been
the smartest move ever made.
Liam had an English Exam that was "heavy". Does Yeats' work reveal
a man whose life was one of 'bitter disillusionment', and examine the notion
of absurdity in O'Casey's 'Plough and the Stars', and some other nihilist interpretation
of Catcher in the Rye. Glad it was his exam, and not mine.
The Beatles Anthology 1 is now the best selling CD in Dublin. Well, I'm ever
so surprised. And Number 1 in the Best Selling Books list is the 'Joint Rolling
Handbook'. So I guess there's lots of Dubliners getting stoned listening to
their Beatles records.
Back from another session at the Auld Dub. At the beginning, the televised
soccer match between England and Portugal was mildly diverting, ending in
a 1-1 draw. But somebody named Jock borrowed the bodhran to 'Irish Ways
and Irish Laws' on it.
His friend insisting that the wood was veneer, no, it's not you stupid shit,
and that the skin was great, no it's not, it's utterly cactus.
Spinkadoon, in the Townland of Gortbrack, County Mayo. And where the hell is
It's actually Augheranagalliagh. Jaysus Westropp, everybody knows that.
Clarkes Lounge Bar, Wexford Street.
Whelans and Ryans were full. The televised Ireland vs Holland soccer match is
really packing them in. Some great commentary on the match though "if we
don't get a goal it's all over". There's a sense of impending Doom about
Two great saves. But two too many.
Just one goal please. So I can whoop and cheer ?
Nearly. Again. Too many nearly's.
And Holland gets another one, 2-0. Fuck.
And that's it. Not a single goal. Old Age I reckon, too old and too slow.
Our landlord called in this morning, apparently. With his wife, whose great
grandfather was a Liberties boyo, but got out by joining the British Army.
On the way back from Tower, an impossibly pretty 'hunry and homeless' girl,
look away, she'll nail you for money if you don't, and later, a couple in a
pub on South Great Georges, her with red-dyed hair spotlit; and Bill Whelan's
doing the music for 'Some Mothers Son'.
Down the Londis in Patrick Street for a packet of Marlboro's. Samson can't be
bought, and Mars taste like they've been fertilizing the tobacco fields with
DDT. Reading the new Empire magazine. Pulp Fiction's been voted the most favourite
movie. Reservoir Dogs is Number 3. While The Shawshank Redemption gets the Critics'
Award, while Braveheart gets second. Think I'll stay with the critics.
And, at the top end of Werburgh Street, near the Castle Inn, a plaque has appeared
announcing that this was once the site of 3 Fishamble Street, birthplace of
the poet James
Clarence Mangan. Near James Clarence
Mangan's birthplace is the seat where the the old homeless men sleep on after
the tourists have left.
Weird though. Maybe I should have a look at some early maps of Dublin, but I
can't see how a house in Fishamble Street was once a house in Werburgh Street.
To Moore Street.
Fruit and vegies. And finally, the Samson tobacco is back on the streets. The
stuff I've been told that there won't be a shred of until Christmas is back.
Praise The Lord. In Golden Discs, at the Ilac Centre, I still can't bring myself
to buy Alec Finn's 'Blue Shamrock', even though it has been discounted to £4.99.
My protest at De Danann's cancellation maybe.
Mary Street. Near the fire. The stained glass in here is brilliant.
and up Mary Street. To Wolfe Tone Street, with the facades of buildings,
the gutted Jervis Street Hospital, over the Grattan Bridge, up Parliament,
down Werburgh, my cap blowing over the railings of the St Werburghs Church,
the place where the cats get fed all the discards from Burdocks.
Began reading Household Gods. Set in India in the 1930's, or at least it is
at the beginning. All very English with Roger and Anthony and tiger-hunting
and drinkies on the verandah and horse riding, while the women retire and the
men smoke their cigars and have the double shots of whisky, and they all despise
the natives .. typical Brits.
The blue pub in Marino. And, and I've just discovered, you don't have to
ask for 'a pint of Guinness", just 'a point' will do. The cricket's
on TV, South Africa and England. South Africa are 137-5.
The pub is full of old men, and I may be the youngest one here, but I think
I could include myself among the 'old men'.
Still here. Now there's a retrospective on Jack Charlton on, and the bar goes
reverentially quiet. He's gone, the Irish team have gone the entire series and
couldn't even score a single goal against anybody.
On the 123, heading back, there's a woman in a blue beanie telling whoever was
next to her about being born in the Liberties, but laughing "no,"
when asked if she still lived there. I guess if you were lucky enough to get
out, then you stayed out.
Membership required, £1, and the tickets are £2.50. And I'm wondering
why people who sit behind you in cinemas always want to kick the seats and say
'fuck' a lot. And yes, pal, not only should they stamp 'student' across the
top of your IFC student pass, they should also tattoo 'feckin' eedjit' across
your feckin' forehead. We moved.
"The horror, the horror ..." Apocalypse Now is a truly great movie.
St Patricks Cathedral
For the 'Service of Nine Lessons and Carols'. Shannon and I managed to nab some
seats near the front, despite being told that only the transepts were available.
Ha! It's getting rather crowded, almost Standing Room Only.
The organist is really letting rip. Big chords, shaking the seats, showing what
he can really do. Final chord, held, ta-daaahh! All fingers, and probably his
nose, on the keyboard.
Those people on the side can't see anything, so nyahh nyahh nyahh, and just
over there, near the transept door, is the tympanist, while behind the altar
with the cross flanked by two enormous white candles, is ... the Christmas Tree.
Just lights, no baubles, no Christmas charms, no dangling presents, no shepherds
crooks, trumpets or tiny drums. Just lights. Damn, there's a gold star at the
top. Thought it simple and dignified until I noticed that.
and the Service was brilliant, particularly the Hark The Herald Angels with
an arrangement from The Messiah and complete with tympani and trumpets, and
the choir singing harmonies above the 'all in' songs. Almost found God in the
On the bus, the
8, to Sandycove.
And C's being earbashed by some woman who's apparently just out of hospital,
and she's on about the wonders of Australia, and about a place she calls 'Brisbayne'.
Now she's somehow connected that with Saint Patrick and the Vermin, and the
weather, and koalas, and sunshine, and, somehow, Florida, and how about there's
only two types of people, them being "the church goers and the boozers".
Momentarily, near the bus-stop in front of Trinity, there's silence. But not
for long. Her husband's French, and "keep your mind clean for God, I said
to my son, don't you be reading them dirty tings, you should be reading The
Bible, and the gospels", she's really going for it, now she's onto Star
Signs, and apparently C's Capricorn sign means she's a "winter child".
Jaysus, try convincing someone born in Castlemaine, Victoria, in the middle
of January that she's a 'winter child', and Holy Bejaysus, now she's on about
some old Tasmanian aboriginal with Scottish roots. Yep, this one's a nutter,
particularly when she calls herself 'Mrs Pavarotti' and nearly falls off her
seat laughing at her own joke, and we're here, and her final farewell of 'conversation
is blessed and lovely'. Not this one.
Christmas Lunch with the Museum staff.
We're on The
We've been here since January and amazingly enough, this is the first time.
Dun Laoghaire Station, Salthill and Monkstown, and someone's drawn a moustache
and beard on the poster of Sophie Marceau at Seapoint. Blackrock, nice view
of the Power Station. Booterstown. Sandymount. Landsdown Road. Seats are not
for feet. Pearse Street. Tara Street, we're off.
Bit of a highlight, that.
On the way from Tara Street, at the Nassau/Dawson intersection, a nun has been
clobbered, she's lying on the road, in shock, her hands bloodied. An ambulance
arriving on the scene. Jaysus, I guess some boyo will be fearing hell and eternal
damnation for sure, maybe he thought nuns had divine protection, like some kind
of Holy Deflector Shield. Guess not.
And Steve Wickham's band has just finished. His playing is brilliant but his
repertoire is shite. American Country complete with chicken noises on the fiddle.
It'll take more than chicken noises to put the Count right back into Country
Scott was fantastic, just absolutely feckin' fantastic. All
of it, even the stuff that sounds born-again. And the encore, with Steve Wickham,
Whole of the Moon, the second greatest song ever written,
then Fisherman's Blues, oh bejaysus, must be gettin' on the emotional side,
but nearly goddam wept again.
Lots of new stuff, apparently Dublin is a city full of ghosts where buskers
play old Waterboys hits, the Return of Pan, A Man is in Love, Old England, Don't
Bang The Drum, Trumpets, and another one about wanting to break down Edinburgh
Castle, and another about Growing Towards The Light. Then the encore.
Westropp's negative of Leck Castle. It's in Count Kerry somewhere. Wish I'd
known of it before we toured Kerry, looks wonderful.
It's in the Townland of Faha, Kilconly Parish, and it's really called Leac Behionn,
or, according to the first edition of the 6" maps, Lackbevune Castle (in
ruins, naturally). And it's just a tad north of Ballybunnion, the place Bill
'I'm A True Dub, But Just A Half Pint For Me' Clinton likes to think of as home.
Yes, Virginia, there really is a Ratass. It's near Tralee.
Off the The Auld Dubliner. For what possibly be my last ever session there.
Jaysus, what a session. Ollie and Donnica (both pipers) both firing, into
these enormously long sets, tune after tune after tune. And some chick from
Clare, playing whistle and bodhran. Telling me about Spanish Point, and
going to school there, by bike.
In Belfast, the Direction Action Aginst Drugs group is now killing people, two
in the last 24 hours. Weather, there's a threat of snow. Sounds wonderful to
Back to the Westropp's. He's in Clare today. And, there's Spanish Point, where there's
been probably more than a few Larks in the Clare Air. And I'm wondering if the
chick from last night pedalled the same places that Westropp has photographed.
More bloody townlands in Clare, all around Kilkee, down to Loop Head. The townland
that includes Loop Head is Ross. Illanadoon is in Moveen East, while there's
lots in Foohagh.
Apparently John Major's in town this afternoon, to check if the twin track is
on track. Maybe someone will tell him that he has the opportunity to become
Britain's greatest statesman through being seen to have created peace in Ireland,
but who seems determined to continue to play the arse. God knows why. Maybe
he's a moron. And The Queen has asked Chuck and Di to divorce.
And today is the shortest day of the year, and the day when the morning sun
shines through the light box at Newgrange. It's still dark outside, and I wonder
if the crowd is inside Newgrange already, waiting breathlessly for the sun.
This is my last day here. Walking Golden Lane and the Stephen Streets and crossing
at Aungier, passing Harrisons Gallery then Break For The Border and its horsebacked
Indian, Mercer Clinic, crossing, the Gaiety, up Grafton Street, HMV this morning
playing Born To Run, up South Anne Street, the queue waiting for the Post Office
to open, crossing Dawson, the Sun Alliance building on the Molesworth Street
corner, then Government Publications and Anthony Antiques, the Passport Office,
crossing Kildare, the last time I'll glance at the Ulysses 'safe' plaque, the
now nearly bare tree, 'mornin's' to the guy who sweeps the front, the button
'clank', more 'mornin's' to the desk people, and to the lady who this morning
is mopping the zodiac tiles in the foyer. Knock on the church door, this morning
it was Andy who opened it, and the usual 'howarye' and never being sure of how
to reply. Then
through to my desk intending to finish the cataloguing. Better
get on with it then.
Having the usual cigarette out the front, in the usual spot. This morning,
watching what looks like a garden shed being erected on top of the National
Library. They've been building it for weeks, and it's a bloody good shed.
Don't know why it's there though.
And, apparently, there's 'drinks' at 3.
On last nights news, apparently, a story about young Australian kiddies who
gave Santa a good kicking, then the presents being delivered from the back of
a divvy van. Makes me so proud.
Finished the Westropp's.
Utterly spent, done and complete. Given a present of some books on Irish History,
and a card, then through to the office near The Treasury to get pissed. Talking
with Mary, and Andy, Emma and the Nedettes, and leave about two and a half hours
Pissed. Two 500m cans of Heineken, another of Guinness, and a glass of Bushmills.
And, leaving the Museum, tearily emotional. Collecting my stuff for the last
time, across the tiled floor, everything's incredibly vivid and bright and colourful,
click the front door, down the steps between the columns, along the railing,
really teary now, and through the semi-closed gate. Molesworth, Dawson, Grafton,
the street with Bruxelles, everything's different, more intense and bright.
Can't believe this. On the 123, now heading down Dame Street, to Mount Temple,
for the Christmas Carols. Bejaysus, pissed and all.
And that was bloody great. Liam getting a round of applause during the "thanks"
speech at the end, something like "to Liam, on the video, who's returning
to his homeland, Australia," and I'm still wondering why the hundreds of
singers on the stage had a bit of a chuckle at that one. And Shannon singing
with the choir, there must have been a hundred singers or more, but she's the
only one I noticed. The other 'best bit' was the the first year girl reading
one of The Lessons in Irish.
Jaysus, what a day.
News. Princess Di
wants £15 million, and unlimited access, as the divorce settlement.
Street, of course. There's other Australians here. Hope they
Everywhere's crowded. Too many people. Even the Burger King's full. The O'Connell
Street Bridge is wall to wall people. The 'hunry and homeless' now have blankets
as props. Pathetic. Probably whipped off their beds by their mammies after their
filling breakfasts ...
There's meant to be some kind of Millennium Clock under the waters of the Liffey.
Damned if I can see it.
National Stadium. For the Shane
McGowan and The Popes gig.
Walked here, down Patrick and Clanbrassil Streets, turning at South Circular
Road. Warned that the seats in the middle will eventually be cleared away.
The support band is absolutely shite. But, I'm in a kind of awe of this
place, as Alan Stivell recorded 'Live in Dublin' here. And I reckon he was
dancing where I'm sitting, if I remember the photograph on the cover well
And, no, the seats didn't last long once Shane
MacGowan was on stage. Everybody stood, danced, pogoed, ended
up in the middle of what must the mosh pit. From 'Streams of Whisky' to the
roars when 'Fairytale of New York' began, and the crowd knew every word to every
song, which tended to be early Pogues, Bottle of Smoke, Sick Bed of Cuchulainn,
Body of an American, and some of the newer stuff, Donegal Express, Nancy Whiskey,
But, bejaysus, singing Fairytale later in Patrick Street as we walked home..
It's Christmas Eve, babe ...
And next year, we're apparently having a beach Christmas. A barbie at the beach,
for that all-swimmin' all-surfin' experience. It's what Australians do at Christmas.
We just heard it on Radio Australia, so it's gotta be true.
Christmas Day, and I wonder what Santa will be bringing me this year? Hmmm ..
a fabulously well paid job at the National Museum, maybe as director of the
photographic wing of the Antiquities Department, maybe as Manager of the Mythology
Collection ,maybe the Overseer of the Music Collection. Yeah, in yer dreams.
... and the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day ..
service at St Patricks, in Lady's Chapel, small crowd, no choir, just the
reading from the Communion and lots of prayer.
Shelbourne Hotel. Being served by Bronagh Geraghty.
26/12, St Stephen's Day
and there's been nary a Wran Boy in sight, let alone one demanding money with
Walking. Bride Street, Bride Road leading down to Patrick Street, Kevin Road
Upper, the apartments with the cityscape mosaic, Wexford Street, Whelan's closed,
look down Camden Street where I've queued for concerts a few times; Bleeding
Horse, Charlotte Street and the An Beal Bocht, where I never had a pint but
where Pierre Bensusan stayed; along the Canal for a while, Leeson Street Lower
then up Fitzwilliam, on the corner the house where Jack B Yeats lived and worked,
the doors - one for the Mentally Handicapped Association, the next for the Irish
Schizophrenics; left at Baggot, Toner's and the Baggott Inn both open, but no,
pass by; right again at Merrion Street, somebody photographing the Christmas
Tree, lit, in front of Leinster House, a garda talking into his mobile "red
jumper, thin black moustache", further, another garda and two men telling
him about the broken door, split wood from the lock. Left at Fenian, the Sweny's
Chemist with the lemon soap that I never bought a block of; Westland Row, picking
up a piece of a torn 1996 calendar from St Andrews, showing 'The Awakened Call';
left into Pierce Street, boyos behind me, then running footsteps, I step closer
to the railings allowing them to pass, but expecting to get clobbered, I'm waiting
for the fists, but no, they run on, then stop. Boyos ahead, boyos behind, my
legs are jelly, walk on, cross the road; turn right, eventually to Townsend
Street, then D'Olier Street, the Screen's closed but the Fleet's open, pass
by. Cross Westmoreland, Bewley's is still closed, walk along the Quays, along
the LIffey side for a bit, but then up to the Bar. The Auld Dub is closed, Gogarty's
is in full swing, a session tonight, 8:30 'til 11:00. Walk down, East Sussex
Street, the Project, Big Bag of Sticks on the 30th, Spontaneous Frogs on new
Years Eve. It's a pseudonym for Lir. Parliament, and up. Lord Edward, Werburgh,
Burdock's is closed until the 2nd. And finally back.
Its -7 degrees,
and they're calling it 'The Big Freeze', and the Leopardstown Races have been
cancelled. Damn, was just about to have a flutter on the horsies too. And Princess
DI visited a psychiatrist after spending her Christmas alone. How sad. Therappy
The International Bar
The Duke was crammed, Davy Byrne's doesn't even have a wooden bar, McDaids and
Bruxelles were full of trendies, so, the International, it's great, and over
there, are Frenchies discussing their Frenchy things in an eye-brow pierced
Jack Chirac-loving kind of way.
To Ned's, for tea.
Back, a tad pissed. I think it was the Irish coffees. Great night, Ned's wife
Erin is a native of Clifden, who knows someone who "lives at the end of
the Sky Road", which must be the most romantic address on the planet. Stories
about The Catalpa, the FBI bust, the Islandbridge war memorial, the Raftery's,
More packing. The Christmas Cards have been thrown out, the polaroids have been
removed from the top of the lounge room mirror, all looks rather bare and sad.
By the time we're packed, any trace of us having lived here will have been erased.
The desk that Liam and I carried through Dublin now lies in the Dublin Castle
skip. It's end seems so ignoble, it deserved a better fate.
Been collecting and delivering various friends of Liam and Shannon, making sure
they ring their parents to tell them they arrived safely.
and the apartment's
been rearranged, back to how it was when we arrived.
Madigans Pub, near the James Joyce statue. Managed to get a smidgeon pissed
on one pint. Then, down O'Connell Street, over the bridge, and the souvenir
sellers must be freezing, certainly the old guy in Henry Street with the red
gloves was, couldn't even hold the 'Fortune Teller' sign the right way round.
Westmoreland, to Nassau, up to Reads, then Waterstones briefly, to Home Locators
which is closed, so we're not at all sure now about what to do with the keys
that have to be dropped off. Eventually to the Mall, Golden Discs is having
a New Years Sale, which proves to be useless. Do the groceries, my brain is
Guinnessed and I'm enjoying it.
The Ambassador, at the top end of O'Connell Street, waiting for Liam and his
friend to emerge. And Daryl gets farewelled from outside Dr Quirkey's, where
the 13 to Poppintree leaves from.
back over the Ha'Penny Bridge, which is blue-lit, at least on the two remaining
arches, and the lamps are glowing red.
Folly. That's the word I was looking for. Europeans have a sense of it, in loads.
Australians have no sense of it at all.
friend, Emily, to the bus stop, outside Decwells in South Great Georges.
Abrakebabra. Merchants Arch, the one that used to be Eddie Rockets. And, over
the sound system, Rainy Night in Soho, sure beats all that 50's crap they hammered
when it was an Eddies. Although the baguettes are actually rolls here, and some
plates would be nice.
And the great packing epic has begun, clothes all over the lounge floor. Most
of it will be thrown out. The green flanny I wore at the dig, the grey top that
I wore every day since C complained that I never wore it. It's all going to
the travellers, somehow.
Just when you're about to leave, the Liberties Londis finally hires someone
to match Zelda of the Sorrows, some thick-lipped soft beauty. Buying Banshee
Bones, the last, the salt and vinegar snack of the gods.
And the suitcases are packed. Liam's is as heavy as hell. I think it's all the
Empire magazines he's collected, but we still have too much, I don't know how
we're going to cart this lot around America.
Paud McGee just rang, yes, he's running a bit late, but will be here shortly
to collect us.
31/12, New Years Eve
And got back from Pauds at twenty to three in the morning. A brilliant meal,
salmon (with lemon and bread), venison with mushrooms, blue vein cheese and
chocolate, and an almond thingy. Jaysus, they even gave us a present, a book
of photographs by Father Browne. Just sat at talked mostly, it was great.
Bono's spending his New Years Eve in Sarajevo. And Shannon's just discovered
some amazing facts, that there are nearly nine pages of Murphy's in the Dublin
phone book, and six pages of Ryans, and 54 pages of surnames beginning with
an 'O' patronym.
The luggage is ready to go, we have two violins (in cases, naturally), two brown
and one red suitcase, the camcorder, a brown, a green, a blue, a multi-coloured
and a green-grey backpacks, and two tubes full of posters, one's mine, the other's
Hopefully, all this stuff will arrive at Tullamarine at the same time as we
This will sound pathetic. It's New Years Eve. The crowds will be out around
Christchurch tonight, the place will be alive, but, I don't care, I'm going
to bed. I think it might be slight touch of food poisoning. Maybe it was the
salmon, or the venison, but jaysus, I've felt like shite all day.