We had an appointment
at Crumlin Secondary School. So we caught the bus, a77,
from the end of Dame Street, following the map. The surroundings becoming more
working class and grungy as we head towards Crumlin. The bus driver is a tad
useless, "on the Crumlin Road" was all he could reply. Passengers
on the bus tell us where the school is, but even they get it wrong. We have
to walk from the Crumlin Business College, to 314.
And it's the bloody
worst school I've ever seen, or smelt, in my entire life. The teachers wear
academic gowns in a vain, pathetic, attempt to have some credibility, the headmasters
office is more like a store-room, the secretary doesn't pick up his phone, some
kid's being checked in the hallway, and he's being told he should be going home.
He's faking. Every
fibre in all our bodies is screaming "get me out of here!", which
we soon do. Several kids are copping a beating in the playground at recess,
and the pink and black uniform was enough to make you vomit.
Get the bus back,
then looking in the windows of the antique shops in Patrick Street. Clocks.
Denture repairs while you wait.
Walking up to Moore
Street, and the tobacco merchants are out in force, flogging 'Samson', although
the fruit people are selling 10 mandarins for £1. There's
an old guy on the streets with plastic bags tied around his feet, and there's
children sitting behind cardboard 'hunry and homeless' signs.
To the Bus Office.
Downstairs to the information section. Yes, there is a bus, the 123,
an IMP, from Thomas Street, that goes across the city and up the Malahide Road,
then a five minute walk to Mount Temple School. Hallelujah. It's close.
But, big bonus,
on the way back, found Bailey's, in Duke Street, and the display of the
door of 7 Eccles Street, the home of Leopold and Molly Bloom.
If I'd paid
closer attention during my single reading of the book I'd have known that
the door is wider than usual, is deep blue, and has a vaguely Egyptian-style,
mask-like, doorknocker, set above a letter drop. The knocker is screwed
It's set up
like some sort of literary shrine. It's great.
this photo's the real thing.
Then the Flea Market,
it's a warren of small stalls, all older, interesting stuff. Coloured photos
of old Dublin, hippy-type second-hand clothes, tarot readings.
It's James Joyce's birthday. I wonder if they do anything special here? Some
of the brass plaques embedded in the footpaths around town document Bloom's
journey are in front of the things mentioned in the book, but some of the stores
mentioned, particularly on the North side, have been long gone, replaced by
fast food places.
123 bus eventually arrived, we're following the map, checking exactly where we are.
Along Dame Street, O'Connell Street, then out through some fairly grotty areas,
Summerhill, through to some pleasanter ones. To the Marion area. Bram Stoker
was born around here somewhere, but for some reason he doesn't figure that highly
on the Irish Literature litany. To the Malahide Road. A walk up to Mount Temple.
The clock tower's impressive.
We get interviewed
by the Vice-Principal, and the kids are enrolled. Again, Hallelujah!
We buy chips from Burdocks to celebrate. Apparently Burdocks is considered the
finest fish and chip shop in the known universe. They're not. Good, though.
Today we have to register as aliens.
Found Harcourt Square, in Harcourt Street. Shown to where the alien registration
was, and wait in a room after taking the number 68. There's three closed wooden
windows. We press the buzzer. Wait a few minutes, press again. Helen appears,
and asks for 67. There is no 67. This is like Kafka's nightmare with an Irish
twist. 68, yes that's us.
And, naturally, the documentation that we have isn't right. Yep, Straight Outta
Kafka. We need a bank statement and photographs. Helen is the most dopey, sour-faced
bitch I've ever come across. We give her our documents, including the passports.
She disappears, closing the wooden windows behind her, probably to conceal the
hive of non-activity going on here.
Reappears five minutes later, and yes, these are fine, but they still need the
other stuff, and photographs. Jaysus. I'm feeling utterly pissed off.
St Stephens Green
We get the photographs done. £3 for 4 photos. I get the urge to buy one
of those 35p 'Fuck Off' badges from one of the shops up on the second floor.
Buying the stationery the kids'll need. Exercise books, pens, pencils, erasers,
pencil cases, gluesticks. You can't buy A4 loose-leaf refills in this country,
a bit odd.
In search of a laundromat. End up in Wexford Street, and it's £3:80 washed
I've just realised that Tailors Court is next to a pub. The Napper Tandy.
Just finished the first section of Ulysses, there's
a mention of Bride Street and found the mention of the virgin
at the windows of Hodges
Figgis, where C bought the book itself.
Thomas Street, walked up past Christchurch, towards the Guinness factory, up
to Watling Street, then, on the way back, discover Mother Redcaps bazaar. Tried
to find 'Ulysses on the Liffey' at one of the second hand book stalls there,
but I'm told to try 'Greens', near Merrion Square.
The Screen cinema, in D'Olier Street. A cobbled section, with a statue of a
midget usher holding a torch. There's a girl over there, waiting for the cinema
to open, like us, she carries her fiddle case, wears her hair in two tails,
wears glasses, smokes, and Liam thinks she's beautiful.
and thoroughly enjoyed Pulp Fiction, and smuggling Liam into an R-rated movie.
We're expected to pay the £3 entrance, but we don't. We're given all the
papers anyway, the guides to the Cathedral, the Crypt, and the Eucharist for
today. The red-robed choir is rehearsing, but the service eventually begins,
the choir, the priests bishops whatever. The choir sings, and one of the guys
at the back looks bored, he's yawning, and one of the girls has an arm in a
sling. The sermon's about the mind of God, and how unknowable it is, but we
are the temple, apparently.
Dublin Writers Museum
beginning with the Book of Kells, it's a quick jump to the greats, Synge, O'Casey, Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, Shaw,
Behan, Beckett, Kavanagh, and a mention of some writer whose book's been
favourably compared with Ulysses, but which is in Gaelic, and hoping it's
been translated. Interesting stuff here, but the presentation sucks.
a bit later
Getting a bit pissed in the Hairy Lemon. Wooden polished floor, low beams overhead,
things crammed everywhere, gas lamps, posters, the church pew seats. Apparently Hairy Lemon was a real Dublin character, who was hairy, naturally,
but who had a round, yellow, face.
The kids first day at school. Mount Temple Comprehensive.
My feet hurt, my legs ache, I've walked so much. Archaeology stuff, trying to
get these aching feet in some door.
A walk to Archaeological
Development, the Power House in Pigeon House Road, out past Ringsend, north
of Irishtown. It's a long way. After C and the kids left for their first day
at Mount Temple at about 7:45 this morning, the epic began. Passed St Stephens
Green, Merrion Square, heading in the vague direction of Pearse Street. Find
it, map out, looking like a lost tourist, the area begins to get really grungy,
the docks area. Ships loading and unloading, ferries Dublin-Pembroke. Round
corners, pass about 50 little houses all the same with their front doors jutting
into the pavement. Right road, over the canal, Texaco, Dublin Bus depot, roundabout.
Ask the man, who leaves his office to give me directions, up that road and to
your left. I do. Three cannons. A menacing dog that I bluff, bus stops but no
busses stopping. Only one bus a day, at 7:20. Passing nearly everything that
leads out of Dublin.
'up that way,' I'm told, the granite building on your left. Walking further,
I find it. The Power House. It's about 9:15. Beth, from whom I received
the letter, won't be in for maybe an hour. I can wait, or I can make an
appointment. I'll make the appointment. Nice building, probably the only
one within a 10k radius of this place.
A walk back to Dublin. The same way back, I think, except this time I
take more notice of the landmarks. Walking there, I felt good, like Leopold
Bloom. But the walk back, it began to ache. At least it wasn't raining.
And, the Pigeon House is mentioned in 'Dubliners', in the 'An Encounter'
find the National Museum in Kildare Street, my second option. It's closed on
Mondays. Shit. But people are entering and leaving. A guy assumes I'm a tourist,
but after I tell him what I'm about, he says to wait and he'll send 'the guy'
Wait and wait, I've been forgotten. Shit. But as I'm leaving, he appears and
tells me to press the button to enter. I do. Security. Telling my story again,
I'm told that Ned Kelly is my man, I assume he's taking the piss, then waiting,
"Not too close to that, it's alarmed", it takes a while before I get
passed the twisted vowels of 'alarmed'. I sit, read the pub guide. A man appears.
Eamonn Kelly. Ned.
get a Visitors Pass clip.
Right, I'm in business. I'm taken to his office. Tell him the story. He
reads and photocopies my CV and Chris Gosden's reference.
We talk. Nothing really. "What do you think we do here?" inquiry
startles me. Nothing 'til April. Shit. Then some talk about cataloguing
photographs. Old photographs. Ideal. No promises, though. He'll contact
me, takes my address, "the best people live in Dublin 8. Me, you, and
Mary Robinson." He then goes on to explain how Phoenix Park is in Dublin
We shake hands, I'm feeling hopeful about this one.
a little later
Temple Bar, two drunks yelling at each other about which one's the liar. Amusing
enough, I'm feeling so useless I'm taking some enjoyment in the uselessness
To the last option.
The Office of Public Works. 51 St Stephens Green. To Victor Buckley. No, there's
not much archaeologically happening at the moment, in Trim, and some other places.
There's a 'tender' for the excavation of some site. Archaeological Development
is in the running for that one. There's no lab work done in Dublin - the material
is dated in the Belfast lab, or in England. I could try 'Ned' - Eamonn Kelly.
Yeah, right. If I'm into bones I could try coming back tomorrow. To see the
bone specialist. Okay then, I will.
My epic voyage over
Dublin. If I wrote down every thought I'd had during the voyage Ulysses would,
in comparison, have been a very thin book.
Left to buy another notebook. I don't know how the Irish managed to produce
so many great writers, as this notebook was a tad difficult to find, perhaps
Joyce and Beckett pissed off to France, as writing paper was easier to get.
Up to Lord Edward Street, nothing, newsagents don't carry notebooks. Down South
Great Georges Road, nothing. Down to St Stephens Green Mall. Ask the security
guy where stationary can be bought, "Hughes & Hughes, about half way
along." Right. Already looked in there, but have another look anyway, there's
only fancy writing paper for letters. Ask the assistant, she suggests the art
supply shop on the Second Floor. I look around, eventually finding it. Yes,
among the expensive stuff is the cheap stuff.
I have a job. Finally. Cleaning bones, for the OPW, but under the immediate
supervision of somebody named Barra.
In Bewleys. Grafton Street.
Over there are five girls. One has a Black Crowes t-shirt, and another lights
up in the nonsmoking section, pretending that the smoke is actually the steam
from her coffee. The smoking one has a Sepultura t-shirt, and she manages to
finish the cigarette. I admire her attitude.
Fred Hannas. Look around the 'Irish Interest' section, three shelves on Joyce
alone, but no Ulysses on the Liffey. Downstairs. Remaindered and secondhand.
I buy a collection of maps on the topography of Ulyssean Dublin. Upstairs, I'm
directed to the woman who'll know about Mairtin O'Whatsits, and told yes, it
is out of print, and no, it was never in English, and yes, it is a classic of
Must be some classic, you can't read it, and the Irish version is out of print,
I start work tomorrow, Leeson Lane is off Leeson Street. The morning's free.
I mean, really free. The apartment's been got, the kids are in school, and I
have something real to do.
Almost feel like a resident. For the moment, a guilt-free one too.
To Leeson Lane. The OPW. The place is an old dispensary, maybe it was
attached to a hospital at some stage. The walls are cream, the carpets
green, doors lead off rabbit-warren type corridors. I have no idea about
how to actually clean bones.
To clean bones, you get a plastic bucket thing, and a toothbrush, and then taking
each skeletal remain, soak it, getting rid of the large bits of compacted dirt,
then scrub. It's a bit unnerving. This bit of vertebrae was once part of a real
person, the remains of a body that was buried under Ardfert Cathedral in County
Kerry. Occasionally tiny bits would crumble off and disintegrate. Jaysus, some
person's body has lasted in some grave since medieval times, remained intact
during the digging up process, and the bagging, remained together while being
transferred in the back of some army truck from Kerry to here, and dies as soon
as I get hold of it. Vertebrae are fragile, but, whoever you were, I'm sorry.
A large packet of cornflakes from Dunnes is £1.39.
Stephen's thoughts on Hamlet. The discussion that took place in the National
Library. Walked past there yesterday. It's fun knowing the streets and some
of the places Bloom wanders. But a lot has gone, particularly from O'Connell
Street, what was once something else is now a MacDonalds or a Burger King.,
Today I washed the guys ribs, and toes.
Apparently the 'depart
with us, ye sunners', and other biblical puns advertising holidays in sunny
places have been causing offense. Jaysus.
bought C a Claddagh Ring. It's beautiful.
Then to Leeson Lane.
Do one of the guys legs, then find the skull, which takes nearly all day. Taking
the skull pieces, cleaning them, then the jaw. The teeth are still attached,
although a few are missing, and the jaw itself is broken into two halves, find
most of the teeth, and place them where they 'fit', ending up with nearly all.
Eye socket, and there's a second eyesocket but it's from another body. Apparently
some of the bits of the body that was buried above this one filtered down. Neck
joints. Most of the skull itself is in pieces. Hundreds, which I clean.
Somebody grieved over this person about 500 years ago, maybe his children wept
at the funeral. Who knows But apparently he was buried on the Northern, outside
part of the Cathedral, which somehow, has associations with being spiritually
Liam and I left to
give a letter asking for Work Experience to a Charlie Byrne, at RTE. We know
it's in Dublin 4, but that's about a dozen suburbs.
Finally, Gary's over the road opened, and after asking for the phone book,
on a high shelf near the door, found RTE, 764 3711, Donnybrook 4. Gary himself,
if that's his name, dropped a carton of plastic bottles of cola, while bringing
them in. Someone's going to get a hell of a surprise when they untwist the caps
of those ones.
Back to the flat,
check out where Donnybrook is, and it looks walkable. C has trouble understanding
that 'Donnybrook 4' was the complete address. We leave. To the Telecom Centre.
Radio Telefis Eirann. Yes, there would be someone there, yes, it's in Nutley
Road. But, she says, just get on a 10 bus and tell the driver you want RTE.
You just can't miss it, she says, it's on the dual carriageway.
Walk to the bus stop, outside Trinity. And while waiting an old man, with headgear
of a brown towel and a tie, a la a wise man, shakes my hand before touching
my left temple, muttering something unintelligible, but something like I lack
something. He may have been right.
On the bus, £1.35.
Liam shifts so he can see where we're going. I can see where we've been. Once
again, Liam gets chatted to on the bus by some guy who, like everybody else,
has a relative in Australia. True, every Irish person knows a brother, sister,
aunt, uncle, nephew, niece or cousin that's somewhere in Australia. Anyway,
with both the driver of the 10 and this guy knowing that we're headed for RTE
I feel assured that we'll find it. And we do.
Charlie will get the letter on Monday morning.
We walk back. Past rows and rows of Georgian doors. Every colour. Pink. Orange.
Black. Green. Red. Natural. Leeson Street.
The queue in
the foyer is lengthening, many waiting at the ticket office, was asked if I
had a ticket before being allowed into the foyer. They seem to have a thing
here about timing. Theatres shut between sessions, as though things have to
be done right, in contrast to the bending of most other rules. Theatres and
Alien Offices are possibly the only exceptions.
In. The band has finished the soundcheck. In row G, seven from the front, aisle
seat. After the ticket check, it wasn't so much a sprint as a fast walk into
the theatre itself. The bar at the back is open, Kelly's Bar, and others' have
bought pints in plastic glasses. The guy next to me has just lit up, despite
the no smoking signs. Good luck to him if he gets away with it.
Road to Ballyalla
'The Guy' turned out
to be doing his Doctorate in 18th Century Irish History, in Belfast. The vacant
seat between us was certainly more than filled by Roisin. Chatty. Drinking pints,
getting a free one when she went to the bar for matches, has toured Morocco through
"Hey Davy .. are ya well ?" she yells as the band appears.
Spillane was brilliant.
Low whistle sounded a little odd through the mix, scratchy, but the pipes shone
through. Slow stuff. Daire's Dream, River of Gems, stuff from Pipedreams, and
some other stuff probably from the new CD, Hearts stuff, another bracket introduced
as "my favourite cartoons". The Storm, Road to Ballyalla, encoring
with some blues. Electric guitar, a bit Santana-ish. The background stage setting
is from "Annie".
Roisin ended up dancing, "isn't he a pet?" she asks.
Over in about 90 minutes. I love this. I wish someone I cared about was here
to enjoy it with me.
Walking back, quickly,
nervously, Okay 'til Werbergh Street, crowds. Werbergh and Bride, though, are
deserted. It's okay, despite all the warnings.
Somehow managing to wander into some courtyard, I think of St Annes, a painted
pieta behind glass, "Do You Think Your Suffering Is Greater Than Mine",
and a brown robed monk moves by. It's an unanswerable question.
Visited the National Museum, I think the kids were rather bored by it, but Liam
was inspired by the Ardagh Chalice, and bought a postcard of it on the way out.
There's an exhibition of Prehistoric Ireland, from log boats to gold work. Watched
a video on Celtic Art, more a slide show actually, some of it was out of focus,
but it did take pains to prove that the similarities between Irish Celtic Art
and Scandinavian Art lies in their common roots in the Germanic people.
I like this place.
Liam went off to school happily enough, Olivia's awaiting I guess. They
also have RE at school, but the teacher's a dud, believes in giving the half-hour
answer to any question. I told the kids to ask about his thoughts on infinite
Walkies. Doing a
Bloom. Backstreets, heading towards Molesworth Street Government printers, but
end up in Hodges Figgis, at the Map and Touring section, buy a Wicklow map (£3.99).
Saw the AA Ireland book (£24.95, a bit pricey).
14/2, Valentines Day
A cleaner shining
up the T in 'Oriental' at the Bewleys in Grafton Street. To Westmoreland
Street Bewleys. Tea, in a pot, and coffee, in a mug. Sit in
one of the red high-backed couches in the Garden Room, with the tree in the
middle of it that seems to be permanently in blossom. There's a lit fire in
the next room. I wonder which spot was James' and Nora's favourite? Feel like
not moving at all. And, in Grafton Street, C and I were given free heart-shaped
Got another job today, doing the Westropp photographs at the Museum, I'll try
for two days a week, hope they'll accept that. Wait in the foyer for Ned. The
first 'reception' guy is useless, does nothing. The second does. Ned appears,
and yes, he was just about to write to me. Thousands of negatives need to be
catalogued before they explode. Nitrogen. Yes, I'll be cataloguing and the National
Museum will be blown away. There are indeed thousands of negatives, and a chest
full of 'glass slides' for lantern projectors.
Leeson Lane. Cleaning the legs. Easier. The bones are bigger, fewer fragments.
The skull takes a long time, with a lot of fragments, but skulls aren't boring.
I manage to jigsaw three larger pieces of skull together; make a complete, toothed,
lower jaw. The feet, the hands. Finally drop all the pieces of the right hand
into a freshly filled tub, and they bob up and down, like some gruesome soup.
And basically was told to leave Alfie Mulligans, just getting out of the torrential
rain isn't enough reason to sit in a pub, you have to buy a pint. Live and learn.
Through the lanes,
the one that leads into Powerscourt from Grafton Street, Coppinger Alley, leaving
behind the Year 10 'Transition Year' students collecting for the Irish Wheelchair
Foundation, to South Great Georges Arcade. Hippies. Girls with nose studs. Sticking
bits of metal in your face is very big here.
and photoshopped version of a photograph from
They just played 'Firedance' from Riverdance on the radio. Jaysus, this is huge.
Like Moving Hearts on steroids.
Bride Street is mentioned a couple of times in Ulysses.
Where I live.
Have an appointment
with Raghnall at the Museum, regarding some kind of computer program. The photographs
have to be cross-referenced by type and location, and if possible with a corresponding
SMR (Site Monument Record).
At work, continued my third skeleton, arms, ribs, other bits, the pelvis, which
I think is a woman's. There's two work experience students here, also cleaning.
Heather and Clare. Heather gets an almost complete skull, and thinks it's a
little morbid, but chats away, ghost stories about dead mothers' reappearing,
and men appearing as a black/white light between two girls dancing at Salthill.
And the graves of the Famine paupers, buried with small, blank, headstones,
thousands of them.
Called at the Museum,
but Raghnall hasn't done anything towards the program. Call back next Thursday.
Day card racks at Eason's has now become the Saint Patrick's Day card racks.
A regular Saint Patricks Day extravaganza, some with rosettes, or ribbons, or
Across the street, the spire is beautiful, with saints set into it. Inside,
people are praying, and instead of real candles they have Christmas Tree type
electric flickering ones. You get to drop money into a slot, press a button,
and a light flickers for you. Progress I guess. Maybe the more down and out
types in here were stealing the real candles.
A disco, at Mount Temple, the kids' school, and bejaysus, I'm kind of expected
to help supervise.
Moore Street market
and once again somebody asks what part of Australia we're from, and they have
three brothers in Sydney, and we're to enjoy our holiday.
a bit later
reading Ulysses. The
lame Gertie, the false hopes in Leopold.
Walks. Through St Stephens Green, and C swears that near the entrance arch she
saw Michelle Pfeiffer, damn, missed it, but the three sculptured ladies, which,
apparently were a gift from the Federal Republic of Germany in praise of the
Irish contribution to the restoration of Germany after World War II, with the
ladies representing the thread of mankind.
Leeson Street, pass Georgian doors, a few bookshops, Leinster House, the Art
Gallery, the painting of the sixth seal and the apocalypse rages, other paintings
of Brittany, a room with paintings by Jack Yeats who was a tad too fond of the
palette knife, there's quite a few paintings that are just too cutesy, like
the pastoral idylls, the grievous wounded poachers, the Irish salt of the earth
types, sweet and wholesome children. Meanwhile, the useless tart in the Knobs
and Knockers shop on Nassau Street is totally unfamiliar with the knocker on
the 7 Eccles Street Door, and most probably with what the address signifies
anyway. I assumed the most famous door in literature would be better known,
particularly here. And the Grafton Bewleys turns out to be so crowded I can't
Grafton Street. There's a busker, plays banjo, seen him quite a lot, and he's
the most miserable looking bastard on the planet. This absolutely mournful look.
The depressed banjo player. This time around though, he's accompanied by an
equally miserably looking double-bass player, and a suicidally depressed guitarist.
On the St Kevins
bus to Glendalough, £25 return.
Leeson Street, McCloskey's hotel, Morehampton road, there's blue and white balloons
tied to a pole, Donnybrook, Old Wesley RFC, RTE, following the N11, Doyle Montrose,
hey, this bus just went through a red light, thou shalt not put false sun gods
before us, Stillorgan Park Hotel, the houses around here slightly more upmarket,
white two storey stucco, St John of God hospital, Byrnes, there's a laughing
woman on board that's giving everybody the shits, turn off to Foxrock, Cornelscourt
with acres of boring apartments, Loughlinston, M11 'to the SouthEast', Shankill,
a church with a white Madonna, 4 ks from Bray, Swanks the Cleaners, Shanganagh
Hotel, St James Church, mountains, yes it's green, County Wicklow, Bray's a
try hard tourist town, Viking Tackle, no, not much reason to delay in Bray,
Ravenswell Road on the right, Ardmore Hotel, more passengers are getting on,
Bray Old Folks, Ruthcloven Estate, larger white houses, red light roadworks,
if that woman doesn't stop laughing I may have to kill her, Boghall Road, N11,
Fragrances of Ireland, a sign to the Powerscourt Waterfall, Kilmacanogue 'Last
Stop Foodstore' (a bit ominous), windy road, is that snow ?, patchwork of green,
there's sheep with red markings, I've seen the house I want to live in and it's
for sale, Roundwood 6 ks, and hallelujah the laughing woman has gone, there's
cows and a lake, and this is apparently a Community Alert Area, and the bus
has just stalled for the second time, smaller farms, narrower roads, the hedgerows
are being trimmed so there's no bustling going on there, Roundwood, Coach House,
Wicklow Willows, Laragh 8 ks, Glendalough 10 Ks, church, right turn, another
church in ruins, a bubbling stream, wondering what stories this landscape could
tell, a stone bridge, Annamoe, a cottage with a satellite dish, Trooperstown
Wood, R756, Laragh, ruins, and Welcome to Glendalough.
To the Youth
Hostel, after getting directions from the
barmaid in the Glendalough Tavern.
"An Og", I asked.
"The Youth Hostel."
"You mean the An Eegje, up the road, you can't miss it."
And we don't.
It's a beautiful old building.
We dump the bags,
book in, and shown the room, up a wooden staircase, and we have a view of the
Round Tower, brilliant. Then head off to the monastery, the cemetery, the ruins,
and it's all brilliant. C says she discovered the tombstone of a 155 year old
back to the tavern, and apparently the tooth fairy won't come if you break your
teeth on the bar, and C&W music plays on the jukebox, and I'm asked if I
enjoy the cricket, well yes, but only when Australia is beating England. And
the TV's on, we stay until 'Home and Away' begins.
There's a place called 'Teas', which turned out to be so bad it was funny. Up
a driveway, and into what looks like a badly built extension, shuffled into
a little room set up with chairs and laminex tables, and an old lady waddles
out, and yes, there is tea, but she doesn't appear to hear the question about
coffee, and there's nothing for the kids unless they like milk (which is pronounced
'milluk' apparently). The place smells, like a cross between old people and
wet carpet. So, C and I have tea, and we share the four scones.
after surviving 'Teas'
Through the monastery site, across the river, waterfalls, the huge mountains
in the distance which look exactly as they should, Reefert Church, Poulanass
Falls, to Saint
Kevins Cell (from which he apparently flung the amorous tart), and bejaysus
it's cold, a 'soft' hail.
Visitors centre, photographs and a slide presentation and a scale model of the
Laragh Inn, and bejaysus, it has Fosters on tap. No, I'll stay with the Guinness
On the way back, Liam and I did a moonlight visit to the cemetery, through the
gate, over the fence. The grave stones glistening in the moonlight, some in
the middle of paths that you have to walk on. Inspired Liam no end.
Tobac, in the Eating Room, and outside the weather if really foul. Maybe
today's the day when the Glendalough Round Tower bites the dust. We were
going to walk the Glendalough Way, but somehow I just can't see that happening
At least we
have a great view of the Roundtower from the bedroom window.
Not much else to do, waiting for the bus, but sit in the Tavern. I'm just having
my fourth Guinness, Bonanza in on TV. At least I think it's Bonanza.
On the bus, heading back. We're at Roundwood. The St Kevins Bus depot. They've
refuelled and the water that was sprayed over the windows has pretty much instantly
froze on contact. It's like they're attempting to de-ice the bus, but it's not
and we now have a
telephone, and our number's 475-1943. Our phone has R, S and L buttons, and
God knows what they are.
Leeson Lane. Reading the lab manuals to skeletal identification. 208 bones in
the human body, and how to recognize them, and what they may be confused with.
It's interesting, really.
National Concert Hall. It's a free gig, with the RTE Orchestra. Quite a few
composers are having their works premiered tonight.
The first is called Cromwell, and it's all dissonant crap. When musicians other
than percussionists are required to hit their instruments, then the plot's been
lost. Next. Fiddle harmonics, it's all over the place too, nothing goes anywhere,
it's like random noises. Next. Oh shit, looks like have the trombone extravaganza,
yep, and this piece has about twenty trombone solo's (maybe it seems that way),
all sounding like variations on a fart. Boring. They even laughed up the back,
so I can't be only one. Intermission. And I just discovered that the woman next
to me is the wife of the composer of the trombone wank, and I think I may have
said the wrong thing, I tried to be diplomatic though. Second Half, and the
last two are called 'Of Queens Music' and 'Dance Music', and this is great,
this is almost like what Michael Nyman might be if he wrote dance music, and
bejaysus, even Shannon's awake for this one, it's great, fast and loud and passionate.
They obviously saved the best 'til last. And there's an absolutely gorgeous
blonde in the viola section.
Sitting in bed, surrounded
by my adoring family, wearing my birthday scarf, khaki mittens, and 'Wolf :
a false memoir' by James Harrison. We've scoffed the dark chocolate KitKat,
the Topper bar, and the Terry's chocolate-orange bar. A copy of Weekly World
News, with 'Space Alien Meets With Newt Gingrich' on the cover. Three pens,
and 6 notebooks. I'm 41 today, but don't feel it, and I'm having the greatest
year of all time. Perhaps the knowledge that our time here is limited makes
each day kind of precious. Mittens aren't the best to write in. And, on the
news, some 17 year old "danced her her to stardom" last night, filling
in for Jean Butler in Riverdance.
Crane Lane, to Connolly's Bookshop, leave a £4 deposit on the AA Guide
to Ireland, and get tempted by a 50p badge of Lenin.
Grafton Street. Liam's busking.
Birthday tea. Fish and chips from Burdocks. We all had haddock, huge pieces
of fish, with really thick batter that manages to be greasy and crunchy at the
same time. Wonder if Liam Neeson, Sinead O'Connor, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Mick
Jagger and all the other celebrities that have queued up for their Burdock's
had the haddock too.
and while the rest
have gone to see 'Leon', it's walkies time.
To Lord Edward Street, crossing, being given a pamphlet for Dublinia by some
boy in a friar's robe but with his jeans showing underneath the hem, down, under
the bridge of Bridge Street, the floorplan of the Viking house, then down towards
the Liffey, over the O'Donovan Rossa Bridge that connects Winetavern Street
with Chancery Place, and around the back of the Four Courts, huge, grey, imposing
buildings, into Church Street and the first church is St Michans, which which
closed on Saturday afternoons, further up is Saint Mary's, with beggars out
the front and for some reason prams seem to be a popular accessory with its
congregation today, a statue stands in a rocky grotto and it's still surrounded
with Christmas lights, further on The Georgian Trail, which leads through the
Registry of Deeds, and taking no short cuts over the grass and no games like
hurling or football please. The doors with statues, two of them of men with
books on their heads, symbolizing academic learning probably, one holding a
key, the other a scroll. Through the building, its graffitteed walls, courtyard,
then through another building that's not arch-vaulted like the first, then out
into Henrietta Street. Once glorious, not now, but from somewhere there's the
sound of Uillean Pipes. Left into Bolton Street, and things become looking familiar
now, the Wax Museum, and there, the Black Church and the Young Traveller. To
the nearest pub, Joxer Daley's. Stay there until the rain eases off, the walls
of Joxer's are a kind of illustrated Irish alphabet. To Eccles Street, number
seven. Now part of the Mater Hospital, but a plaque set into the wall, where
7 was, has Joyces' image. Across the road is 'Bloom House', and tried to figure
which one had the 'loose cellar flap' but couldn't. Dorset Street Lower. Temple
Street, and with a twist, into North Great Georges, the James Joyce Centre at
35 is open, there's three people on duty and they all look like serious wankers,
but only the bookshop is free, and they don't have anything I haven't seen before.
To Parnell Street, the Ambassador is showing 'Quiz Show' (I guess The Road To
Wellville didn't last long) and before 5:00 it's £3 for adults and £2.50
for children. To the Ilac Centre, finding the Dublin Library, by the pond and
up the stairs. Left it a bit too late today to join as members, and soon there's
a guy who's job it is to wander around telling everybody that the library is
abut to close, and he's virtually ignored until they flicker the lights on and
off. Out to Henry Street east, HMV and Golden Discs. Down Liffey Street, over
the Ha'penny Bridge, Merchant's Quay where there's a old man busking, probably
the worst harmonica playing I've ever heard, but he's making money. Through
Temple Bar, cross at the Olympia, the gates to the Castle are locked, detour
along Castle Street, which somehow I didn't even know existed until know. Werburgh
Street, and back.
Up in the roof garden
of Tailor's Court. The sky is blue again, which I'm beginning to believe is
a sign of something ominous. The cranes of redevelopment dot the city. Able
to pick out which spires belong to which church, people below yelling to people
above, and a key being dropped to a girl waiting in front of the green door.
Old men walking, and tourists rubbernecking St Pats. Steam belches from the
Guinness hopstore, and other plumes 'puffballing', as Joyce described it, from
Watching a hurling game, an all-girl affair, with pony-tails hanging behind
the protective helmets. One team has a uniform, a black top with two narrow
white stripes, the other doesn't. It's a fast game, with great scope for violence.
"Did you hurt that player ?" asked the ref.
Well, she did
actually, she absolutely clobbered that player. Anyway, we think the black team
The Wellington Monument,
with graffiti lamenting Kurt Cobain and 'Mr Blone loves nice guy Every', whoever
that is. Down the Central Drive, the gas lamps are real. Later, peering through
the gaps in the fence into Dublin Zoo. Looks like a really depressing kind of
back along the quays,
pass the acre where the bodies of those executed for their part in the 1798
rebellion were buried in mass graves, then across what I think is called Bloody
Bridge and up to Thomas Street, a look into Dublin Market, boring as all hall.
A spruiker mentions free tea and coffee upstairs, but we don't get any. but
there's furniture, children's shoes, pets and leather jackets. Out, through
the lane, eventually to Mother Redcaps, to Patrick Street. Which, to get technical,
is actually Nicholas Street until the Bride Street junction.
and after doing the Moore Street Market, loading up with fruit and vegies,
we end up in the Henry Street Bewleys. That makes it all four Dublin Bewley's
we've visited now.
Prefer the Westmoreland Street one, but the Henry Street one does have
an awesome stained glass window.
in Brenda the Plant Lady's room. Skull, the upper bits of the legs as the everything
below the knees were missing, one arm. Four hours on one skeleton, I'm getting
quicker. Barra's left a key for me, so I can let myself in rather than waiting.
Thank God. His hours tend to be erratic.
Museum. yes, it's Monday so it's closed, but I ring the bell. Click. Open. Yes,
Raghnall is available. We look at the negatives and the photographs. I recognize
Glendalough, the Round Tower, Reefert Cathedral. I'm told about the job. Apparently
the MODES program is becoming the standard throughout Ireland for museum collections,
but a specific program appropriate to cataloguing photographs is still being
devised. Shown another room, accidentally kicking something on the floor. Part
of a Viking longboat. Jaysus, hope nobody saw.
I'm sent to visit a Nigel Monaghan, the 'computer expert'. Down Kildare Street,
turn left into Merrion Street, pass the Huegenot cemetery, and next door is
the Natural History wing of the Museum. Yep, got that.
I show Nigel some of the data we're dealing with, and some of the fields we
need, as none of the extant ones deal specifically with photographs. Type by
Location, the SMR numbers are too hard to use. Anyway, that's his problem. I'll
just use whatever they give me to work with.
Cherubs restaurant in Leeson Street, yellow decor, with cutesy angels on the
walls. The waitress is dairkhaired and French. C has white tea, and the usual
black coffee for me. A pity, as the milk was off, and C spends the rest of the
afternoon recovering from stomach cramps.
a bit later
St Stephens Green has chooks. In Grafton Street, a didge-playing busker is raking
in the money, while a child down the road is playing tin whistle. The kid is
the better musician, but he's making nothing. I express my outrage by giving
nothing to either.
Lesson Lane. Barra tends to have the radio on all day, listening to talk-back
radio. The topics, so far, have included a distraught mother whose daughter
totally refuses to wear a confirmation dress, and the height requirement for
the Gardi. 5'8" and an 'in proportion' body for men, nothing about proportions
for women. The main news was about the jailing of an Irish priest in America
for his part in a $7 million robbery, while the weather forecast was for all
things crappy, gale force winds, sleet and hail, but today, it's actually been
quite mild and lovely.