things getting tight. I've offered to do this weeks laundry in the Liffey, but
no, C says that it's not that desperate yet.
Michael Flatley's resigned from Riverdance.
Hugh Lane Gallery.
Another 'Sundays at Noon' concert. First we get a marimba solo. Always feel
a bit sorry for marimba players, that their cheap
parents were too scungy to
buy them real instruments. Then a violin and piano bit, all atonal arrhythmic
crap, flashy and smartarse
playing though. Next, the soprano. I have no idea
what she's singing about. The cellist is good though.
Outside, in Bride Street, the local boyos have gotten hold of skyrockets.
And Father Comisky has been nominated for Irishman of the Year, despite having
been dragged through the press, and is currently checked into some American
rehab program for his alcoholism. Or maybe there's more than one Father Comisky.
The GPO. No rebellions in progress. I feel vaguely disappointed.
Joyce's Tower, Sandycove
The exhibition, the posters, a flashing Gerty, an expounding Citizen,
a yessing Maly. Books, photographs, his guitar, a tie he gave to Beckett, his trunk upstairs, the room, bed, hammock, the panther in the fireplace
"leave him to me !", the Fearful Jesuit stairwell, come up,
the turret, looking at the not quite snot green sea and the forty foot bathing place
And on the news, some Chinese doctor is proclaiming a cure for Parkinson's Disease
after injecting 9 people with foetal brain tissue. Wonder who the willing donors
A postcard from some rellies, a strange one, the most unreadable part of
it being about some kind of lamentation over some decision regarding Australian
archaeology and the material from SouthWest Tasmania. Didn't quite get the gist
of exactly what happened, but Australian archaeology has always been lamentable
anyway. All those bloody essays in which you have to argue that yes, there has
been continual (if not rapid) change in the Australian archaeological record
over 40,000 years of Aboriginal occupation. What crap. Millions of battles between
aboriginal tribes and not a single Cuchullain or Dierdre to emerge from the melee, they couldn't even manage a Finn
MacCool. There's enough Aboriginal dreamtime mythology to
sink a fleet of bark canoes, but yet not a single Mad
Sweeney. But then, archaeology doesn't give a snit
for mythology anyway.
And yes, Michael Flatley's definitely parted ways with Riverdance. Seems
that his demand of £50,000 a week was a bit much, basically wanted his
wage doubled. Jaysus, if I had mine doubled I'd still be getting feck all. A
thatched pub set on fire by traveller's children, courtesy skyrockets, the travellers
themselves left Laytown in a 'shower' of stones. The British reaction to the
French nuclear tests? couldn't give a damn. While the US only 'regrets' it,
much to the amusement of the French Minister. How jolly. Tres jolies en Paris
There's a book on Bunratty Castle that I glanced through. The only pre-restoration
illustrations are line drawings, so maybe they assume that no pre-restoration
photographs exist. They do. I catalogued about a dozen of Westropp's photographs of Bunratty earlier today, interior and exterior.
Re-reading the Newgrange chapter in 'The Road Wet The Wind Close', the structure,
the decorations on the orthostats. Any relationship between the builders of
this and the builders of Stonehenge or the builders of Carnac? Is Newgrange
before or after Stonehenge?
Street, walked Beaver Street. The opposite way to what Leopold and Stephen did
though. Towards the corner where Stephen copped the beating.
Busaras. Waiting for the tour bus.
of Tara, a guided tour by the
luscious Lara Johnson. No time to walk over Rath Grainne. Pity.
and cups of tea at the Wellington Court Hotel, County Meath.
Dowth, then Mellifont Abbey, and then onwards to Monasterboice. The Cross of
Muirdach, panel by panel.
Out, on the balcony, and just below me some guy came to the front door, leaned
into it, gave up when the door didn't open, then walked up to Swifts. No, shithead,
you just don't walk into anybody's home. Why not try that across the road at
the Iveagh Buildings, and see how long it takes for its residents to kill you.
Yep, I was so proud. Proud as any Dublin parent could be, nearly burstin', as
Shannon did her first slag on the streets of Dublin itself. Outside the Irish
Craft Centre, waiting for the 123 bus to school. The big ph-chew landing, glob
on the pavement. A true Dub.
Emer O'Kennedy, today's Dunnes' check out chick. First Emer I've come across
for real in Ireland, But somehow I don't think she'd excite Cuchullain to the
point where he'd insist on plonking his sword in her sweet country, maybe if
she bared her country and said "sword me, big boy," but he'd probably
just deputize his three times fifty warriors to cross that sweet country instead.
But the chick in the chemist wouldn't get her sweet country crossed by anybody.
Deputized or not.
Seamus Heany's just won the Nobel Prize for Literature. And deservedly so, even
Astray is out of print. I'd have given the Prize to Shane MacGowan,
though, I mean, he wrote Fairytale of New York, and Rainy Night in Soho, and
Haunted, and, and, and ...
The Long Hall. Over on the other side there's the
80 year old version of The Absinthe Drinker, getting right into what's at
least her second bottle of Guinness. Probably seeing us as tourists and
no doubt thinking "piss off," or something equally as welcoming.
Yep, give the Ceade Maile Failte surface a tiny scratch and hers is what
you'll find underneath.
The Bad Ass Cafe. Eat the Peach, Banana-Rama, and Knickerbocker Glories.
On minute, a massive chorus of Tobacco sellers, the next, they've vanished.
A garda talking to one of the cigarette lighters five-for-a-punt people, about
the wad of notes in his hand, "me wages, I've just been given me wages."
All quiet on the tabac front. Damn. I'm out, and need some.
"Tobacco ?" a woman almost whispers, "£3.50."
"Yes," I whisper back.
She signals to someone, and I slip the money and get the blue packet.
Later, the same garda re-emerges from Moore Lane, carrying three cartons of
obviously confiscated cigarettes. Blue cartons. Jaysus, of the tonnage that
must be sold every day on Moore Street, the best they can do is three cartons.
It's the most pathetic 'crack-down' of all time.
Finally, back to
the apartment. Liam's writing an essay on Sir Isaac Butt. An alcoholic apparently,
with mistresses scattered, littering his path. They all did. Parnell, O'Connell,
Butt, the rest. Yep, show 'em a red-haired Irish lassie with skinny legs and
all, and there you have it, lots of sweet countries crossed.
the guards announced closing time. Rather than look at the pictures of Megalithic
Sculpture, and reading the 'expert opinions' for an essay, Liam's sitting in
front of the real things, and arriving at his own expert opinions. The Loughcrew
kerbstone, the Knowth
mace-head, the Sheelagh-ne-gig, although that revolts him. He deserves an 'A' for this.
C's been making lamingtons and Anzac biscuits for tomorrow's picnic in the Wicklow
mountains, maybe we could make a great pile of vegemite sandwiches too. Except,
here, vegemite's £1:50 for a tiny sample jar.
This week's 'Big Issues' has Sinead O'Connor on the cover. Nearly tempted to
buy it, but wouldn't want to give the seller false hopes.
At the waterfall, at Devil's Glen.
It's okay, but not as romantic as the Glencar waterfall. Maybe this one has
historical and literary associations too, I don't know. Talk about the 'colours'
of the trees, just shades of green really, yellow-green, reddish-green, brown-green.
Dalkey Island Hotel.
In the main bar there's photographs of the previous years' Miss Dalkey Island
contestants. Wonder what you have to do to be Miss Dalkey Island, when all that's
there is a Martello Tower, a church (in ruins, naturally), a Promontory Fort,
and a population of goats. The pub's quite good, though. I discover the palpable
loathing they have here for Paul Keating, the Australian Prime Minister. It
seems just to be a given, but I don't know why.
and Dublin beat Limerick in hurling at Croke Park yesterday; while Mary Robinson's
off to Rwanda, and the archbishop's are meeting today to discuss the problem
of child abuse, but the issue of payments to victims is not on their agenda.
Jaysus, when will they accept that apologies are not enough, that payments are
not enough, that nothing less than a crucifixion is enough, nailed to the walls
of their own churches.
Mostly just browsing, but more than a browse of 'Fire in the Head' by Tom Cowan.
Nobody knows that much about Druidic religion anyway, so if they want to connect
it with shamanism, symbolism, Glastonbury waffleism, Avalon "come away
come away", the spirit eternal, then it's okay. And did Diodorus really
witness the Celtic warriors buggering each other, being 'dishonoured' if refused?
Did they really 'scorn women'? Not sure if I really wanted to know that the
Celts were gay. Maybe the priests who are buggering their altar-boys here imagine
they're continuing some kind of glorious Celtic tradition, combining the two
great forces of the Irish spiritual heritage.
Nah. Don't believe it either.
more news, from the front page of tonight's Evening Herald. 'Irishmen Flogged',
in Pakistan for drug-smuggling, one's from Wicklow, the other from Tallaght
(figures, I guess).
The barmaid, cute enough, has a nose-stud and a scab over her left eye, like
she's been hit or something.
A band called
The Tain have just begun. It's an advertised gig, but it's more like a session,
and I'm the only one in the audience. They have a banjo, guitar, box, and pipes.
It's more like a session. Discussing "do'ye know this tune?" then
clagging out, as they forget how it goes, then having a little chat among themselves
about how someone else was "in rare form" last night. They need a
bodhran player, and less talk about handmade guitars that cost £1,100.
This place has the smell of the recently renovated. On the ceiling, shower tubing
and tiny lights, and there's a sculptured bicycle, painted pink. There's the
taint of new-ness about this place, as though it hasn't had enough time to actually
become anybody's 'local' yet.
A song, a ballad naturally, something about a foxy devil, which is about drinking.
Wondering what the characters from the real Tain would make of all this. Maeve
would probably prefer something else entirely, maybe a stanza or two from her
favourite Druid, something cursing the men of Ulster or of her own mighty army.
Maybe something by Bob Dylan.
Now the banjo player is talking about somebody else who plays well, and some
video on banjo-playing that he's seen, commenting on the way a plectrum is held.
Wish they'd just get on with it. But, as I'm the only audience, I guess it doesn't
Must've had a look on my face that looked menacing, as even the lovable rogues
gathering outside the Napper Tandy dispersed when I got near, one of them asking
the time, "quarter to ten."
news: the pubs are being reminded, again, that the winter closing times are
11:00, half an hour earlier than summer times, which all seems a little stupid.
and there's a sticky
note attached to my computer screen:
re: Inchoven Castle
td. Toormore, Co. Clare
OS 16 1st Ed.
Now I'll go back
through the records to find it.
Found it. Then what the hell is Kilfenora, beside being a bloody good tune?
Apparently I was on TV last night, on prime time news. Walking across Molesworth
Street to the Museum, from the anti-drugs demo last week. What a star.
Waling up St Anne Street, and wondering why we've never had a meal at the Gotham
Cafe, the one with all the Rolling Stone covers, Bruce Springsteen skating on
ice, Yoko Ono behind glasses. Met a large Australian outside the Museum, who
works in ceramic tiles in Adelaide. He wanted to know how archaeologists date
gold; bet we ended up talking about footy, and about he he gets to Moore Street
from here; the situation in the North, de Valera, and he was surprised to learn
that Cromwell is the most hated name in Irish history.
Looking through the Treasury, the book shrines, the psalters, wondering of the
the one from Devenish is the one thrown into the lake by Mad Sweeney, and rescued
by the otter. I should check, but maybe it'd just be better if I lived with
the illusion that it was. Oh well, back to the Westropps.
Ballycullen? In Co Clare? Hit a snag, so stuff it for today.
It's near Sixmilebridge.
I bet that Claire with the Acne Problem at the Patrick Street Londis hasn't
even noticed that the Christchurch Bells are ringing. Nope, just this totally
vacant look of "not long to go now", and she didn't appear at all
enthusiastic about selling me cigarette papers at all, altogether. No, not the
king-size, just the ordinary ones.
and after the session at the Auld Dub , went 'round the corner' to Eamon Doran's.
It's crowded, we end up around the back, through the fire escape. Feel awkward,
particularly with Eddie, who's hyper and manic, who howls at the moon and then
rolls hash with an irritating amount of attention to procedure and ritual. Boring.
Have the Townland index; the O'Donovan County Clare Survey, and 'The History
and Topography of the Country of Clare' just in case. Looking for Westropp's 'Ballycullen'. Jaysus, it doesn't exist. Not anywhere.
Yes, it does. And it would've taken less then 15 minutes to find Westropp's
'Cregganeowen' if he'd spelt it Craggeneowen like the rest of humanity.
Finished Westropp's castles of Clare, took nearly all day. Then the Waterford
negatives. The Round Towers. One theory on round tower design is that they were
phallic symbols. Big pricks, basically. If so, the round tower at Ardmore is
a condom wearing phallic symbol, one of those ribbed exciter types.
In 1657, apparently, 157 men hid in there from the English. Despite surrender
terms offered to the contrary, the Brits hung most of them when they emerged,
on the spot.
The 1st edition
6" maps that I'm working with are works of art. At the moment I'm using
the map of County Roscommon, looking for Glenballythomas townland. Glenballythomas
includes Rath Croghan. Cruachan.
There's an absolutely beautiful photograph of the Westmoreland
Street Bewleys, in the Giles Norman shop. It's not in the
£5 'Dublin Collection' of prints. Otherwise, it's £15. Bugger.
have the Townland Index, the O'Donovan Co Clare Survey, and 'The History and
Topography of the County of Clare' ready. Just wish my brain was.
Yeah, right. Ballycullen. Doesn't exist.
Yes, it does.
In Wexford, though, there's a townland called Knock of the Rocks. Must be great.
And just when I was thinking that there must be something about the Antiquities
Divisions of anything that attracts some really ordinary looking Work Experience
types, in walks something unspeakably beautiful. With skinny legs and all.
Raghnall was quoting some of the "nutters" they've been in contact
with. Like the one who claims that "the only difference between Ireland
and Egypt, is that in Ireland they have fairies and in Egypt they have pharaohs,"
and Nessa's letter, addressed to "the red haired lady behind the locked
door, National Museum, Kildare Street" from the man whose house, he says,
was used by Saint Patrick to dump all of Ireland's snakes.
Tom Robinson, in his book on the Aran Islands, 'claims the monument to conception'
of Finnegan's Wake to Joyce's day on Aranmore. Something to do with the 'throwaway'.
Strange, always thought Throwaway was a horse, but maybe he's referring to the
crumpled word on paper, restless and free, floating down the Liffey to the sea,
bumping itself into the O'Connell Street Bridge.
"In the townland of Kildroughtan in this parish (Dysert)
stood anciently the walls of a church, but the principal part of the building
was carried out by fairies."
J. O'Donovan, O.S. Letters, Co Waterford. p.62
This is for real.
There's red tracksuited
primary kids being led out of the Museum after their excursion today, two by
two, each clutching a manilla folder, much to the amusement of the older blue
and grey schoolgirls, all polite, all moving to the one place on the steps at
the front when told. Wonder how many times during an Irish education one gets
dragged to the National Museum. Too many, probably.
Finished the book
of Clare Castles, never thought I would. Took nearly all day just to get from
5:66 to 5:100, then began the Waterford booklet. Ardmore,
the roundtower It's ribbed. One theory on Round Tower design is
that they were phallic symbols.
But, 157 men surrendered to the English, in 1657, after hiding out in the Ardmore
Round Tower and the Cathedral. And despite promises to the contrary, the English
hung 117 of them, on the spot. Jaysus. The Bastards.
Now, is the Ardmore
phallic symbol in the actual Ardmore townland?
Nope, of course not. It's Ardocheasty that's being driven wild with excitement.
and 4 miles out of Lusk, after the road, behind the third fence on the left,
and almost hidden by the fence itself, is St Declan's Well. St Declan was
the one that floated in on a rock, Magritte-like, to the coast of Waterford. I think the dude maybe Westropp himself.
The rock is still there. Westropp is not.
And at Slattery's, there's a band called 'Hedge School', who are described as
'Thin Lizzy meets The Wolfe Tones'. Think I'll give that one a miss, as both
those bands sucked anyway.
There's a bunch of kids being led up Bride Road. Maybe being told "Now
children, this is the Iveagh Hostel, where the boogeyman lives". They're
all eating ice-creams. Yellow ones.
and an army tank has just rolled down Bride Street, passing the Iveagh Hostel.
Must be trouble out in Tallaght tonight.
The Nobel Peace Prize is being announced today. John Major thinks he has it
in the bag.
And the lovely Aisling, of the Dunnes check-out chick hall of fame, is looking
a bit worse for wear this morning, a tad tired, eyes totally devoid of sparkle,
must've gotten through quite a few pints last night.
Maybe we didn't walk far enough, maybe it's gone, maybe the fence completely
hides it, but if St Declan's Well really is there, then it's not making itself
But, nearby, supposedly, was the fort of Emer. At least, a fairly puny mound
was exactly where it should have been, according to the 6" maps and Visiting
The Places. Emer, the love of Cuchullain's life, was a Dub. Yep, bet she wore
Doc Martens, smoked, spat on the footpath, and ate crisps 'til she was spotty.
At Bewleys. Westmoreland Street.
Marion at the servery, with a friend to her left.
"Can I help you there love?"
"A Mug ..." C tried to order
"Blah blah blah, blah blah" says Marion to her friend
"mug of coffee,"
"Blah blah, " Marion continues
"and a pot ... " C tries to order tea
"Blah blah, blah ... here you are."
"... of earl grey tea"
Angry looks from Marion, "then why didn't you say ?" she blurts, but
quickly returning to her friend, "Blah blah blah, blah blah .."
Marion appears to have quite a problem regarding concentration span. The pot
of Earl Grey gets slammed onto the counter.
On the points for
service, we've just given Marion a minus score. She earnt it. Well done.
The Dublin Civic Museum
They've got Nelson's head, from the column that got blown up.
And a huge display of paraphernalia associated with John McCormack. Recordings.
LP covers, photographs, newspaper clippings, stamps, medals, 78's and cylinders,
a poster advertising not only MacCormack but also the support act - the 15 year
old Yehudi Menuhin.
There's no mention of the Peace Prize, although John Major has been accused
of "pandering to the right wing of his own party." I assume he didn't
For some reason,
didn't buy the new In Dublin, even if it does have a copy of the the first ever
Irish Playboy magazine on the front. Maybe they should've put some Irish chick
on the front. Jean Butler maybe, maybe the entire chorus line from Riverdance,
but whoever it was on the cover, it certainly wasn't Sinead O'Connor, hell,
from Henry Street would've been better, and it certainly wasn't Aisling from
Dunnes. Bet whoever it is on the front isn't even Irish.
"It was in Smerwick in 1850 that there landed an expedition of about six
hundred people, financed by the Pope, composed mainly of Italians, but with
Spaniards, English and Irish amongst them, as well as women and children. They
occupied the Golden Fort (Dun an Oir) on the headland, hoisted the Papal Flag,
and waited. It was the first considerable invasion of British territory since
the Norman Conquest, and was taken seriously. They were surrounded by Lord Grey's
forces, surrendered and they were all slaughtered. The massacre shocked Catholic
Europe. On that day Walter Raleigh was the Captain of the Guard. Edmund Spenser,
Lord Grey's secretary, may have witnessed it."
aged twenty one, and his even younger wife Harriet .. spent two mysterious weeks
in Killarney in March 1913."
Banagher. Apparently the Brontes had their honeymoon there, and Trollope worked
in the Post Office.
Bought Shaun Davey's 'The Pilgrim' earlier. Good God Almighty, it's huge. Pipes
and drums and orchestras. Just huge. And just when you think it can't get any
bigger, the bombardes kick in.
There's massive queues outside the Savoy, for 'Pocahontas', had to fight back
a huge urge to announce that she dies in the end. And there's fireworks for
sale, in Moore Street, although here they're apparently called 'foyerworks'.
They're illegal. Walk down Henry Street though and you could buy enough foyerworks
to really scare the shit out of the Bosnian Serbs.
And Shannon has decided that if she gets married to some Irishman, her reception
will be at The Gresham. It'll cost me £30 per person, at 250 guests, about
£7,500. We had a look around, but I felt disreputable, as though the actual
paying guests were thinking I was some kind of foyerwork seller.
and one of the senior Garda heavies is just having a chat with someone, while
the tobacco and foyerworks sellers are still in full cry all around. A few of
the foyerworks rockets were actually set off, one landing against the upper
window of the Ilac Centre, the other blasting high in the air, but he didn't
even budge. Jaysus, you could have filled his pockets with penny bungers and
blown his balls off, and he still wouldn't notice.
Reading more of Voices In Ireland, and, "according to Joyce", Leopold
Bloom was born at 52 Upper Clanbrassil Street. And apparently Bram Stoker married
the woman that Oscar Wilde wanted. Oscar actually asked for the ring back.
52 Upper Clanbrassil Street. where Leoold Bloom once lived ..
The group over there just began singing an Eric Bogle song, "William MacBride",
the one they imagine is about the Easter Rebellion as it mentions 1916. It's
not, it's about World War One.
And Odessa are doing the soundcheck. The flute, wooden; whistles, the normal
one and the Bb low, and a little reverb on that one please, "you want to
play a bit of bodhran there ?", yep, he does.
Others are arriving now, must be on the guest list, which seems humourously
long, maybe everybody south of the Liffey is able to get in free. They look
like southern Liffey types.
Support act. A chick
fiddler, dressed in black, long black hair and pale. I'm in love already, she's
brilliant and she's only just tuned, but she tunes brilliantly. Under the light,
she's blue, so I can't see if she has the proverbial ruby-red lips. Was that Grainne, or Deirdre . Maybe Finn
McCool himself will burst into Whelans sometime during their set
and demand his rights here and now, on the stage, between the microphones, to
amplify every squelchy noise, yep, right in front of the drums.
and she smokes. Bonus points. And her name is Brida Mayoch, and she's a goddess.
were brilliant, a Moving Heart-ish approach to traditional music, and the
drummer is, apparently, "the rhythm king" himself. The bodhran
player turns out to be the same guy that guested with Altan. The flute player
thanking his mother, at the end, for getting them the gig .. so.. Irish,
I guess. From the bottom of his Irish heart.
The fiddler is beautiful. I think her name is Breda Smyth.
C is working out the present list, the "we're home, and here's presents"
kind. Bugger 'em all. I reckon. Nowt for the lot of 'em. A bag of Banshee Bones,
at the most, between them.
I think this is called the Lord Mayors Room. Everything's very knobby, and the
old duck on my right reads her 'Herald Tribune' over the top of her glasses.
Don't know how one gets served in here. Shout "Hey, You !!" ?
Sandra Whelan, though,
recommends Christmas Day. Hectic on Christmas Eve. Brings a silver tray, laden
with sugar bowls (brown and white), tea strainer, an anti-scald thingy for the
tea pot. Plates, with serviettes, silver knives. Class. Chandelier, Victorian
wallpaper, plastered decorated ceiling with a heavy and intricate cornice. Fireplace,
Danish pastries, and walnut bread. Earl Grey tea, with milk, water and tea in
the silver service, and my cappuccino.
The window cleaner
working on the outside, behind the slave on the left of the entrance. Fair enough,
we wouldn't want to let the rabble in.
You can get four
cups of tea from a Shelbourne tea pot.
Some Breton guy has just won the Nobel Peace Prize for his services to the anti-nuclear
campaign. Wonder if John Major and what's-his-face Reynolds feel gypped? Maybe
Jacque Chirac thinks he was more deserving too. Bâtarde.
and just when you're beginning to like the place again, Des King turns up.
"You still around ?" he says, not quite believingly.
Well, yes, I am. We
ignore each other for the next hour and a half.
and now that Heaney's won the prize, Waterstones has a complete display of all
his stuff. Bejaysus, there's more Mad
Sweeney's than you could count. If Waterstones had trees,
mad Sweeney would be falling out of them.
back from the Auld Dub session. Played fiddle, Sean Ryans Reel, Drowsy Maggie,
Kid on the Mountain, but mostly played bodhran. The years of practice, of the
fantasy of playing it at a real Irish session, I guess I've done it now, just
wish I'd played better.
On the way up to the 123 bus stop, with Shannon reciting The Wild Swans At Coole
all the way up Bride Street, while waiting at the sop, and she's probably still
at it on the bus, and probably won't stop until today's written English test
is over. Yep, writing down Yeats' poem is the test.
News. The Brits are now talking about Twin Tracking the peace process. Whatever
There's 'helpers' all around placing the Viking Conference material into cardboard
boxes. And jaysus, there's Des King again, enough to put a man off his ham sandwiches.
Still, didn't stay long, but managed to pinch his copy of 'The Star', which
appears to be full of bizarre stories, giving the low down on Paula Yates' early
days as a heroin-snortin' wild child, sensationalist crime stories, and who's
been caught bonking who.
Trying to attach a townland to a few castles in County Limerick. In Shanagolden.
Turned out to be Shanid Castle, in Shanid Upper, and a convent in Shanid Lower.
And, nearby, a strange, Viking-fixated man, who wants to visit Clonmacnois,
only because the wife of some pagan Viking King is buried there. Tried to get
some conversation going, mentioning Daithi and Cruachan, but he wasn't interested
in Celtic Pagan, only Viking Pagan.
Grafton Street. A busker, on Uillean Pipes, who I think is playing the entirety
of The Brendan Voyage, including Water Under The Keel. He's very, very good,
in fact he's brilliant.
Been playing the CD of The Seige of Derry, Rita Connolly singing St
Patricks Breastplate, and it's absolutely beautiful. I Arise Today. Almost enough
to make one convert on the spot. Hallelujah, and Take me Home, Lord.
I'm getting really good at spelling Manisternagalliaghduff Convent (at Shanagolden,
in the Townload of Mullagh, in Co Limerick).
Except it's not in Mullagh at all, but the townland of Oldabbey, logically.
At morning tea I learnt that HKS stands for Helpless Kerryman Syndrome.
Askeaton Friary. TJW couldn't use enough film on this place.
To Waterstones, to discover that someone's done the book I'm after. Well, nearly.
Legendary Ireland. Photographs, beautiful ones, of the places associated with
Irish mythology. Moytura, Lake Derravaghah, Cruchain. Photographs by Tom Kelly,
text by Somerville Ross. Read it, or at least looked through all the photographs.
A brilliant one of Cuchullain's Stone, looking upward at an apocalyptic sky.
£19. I can't afford it, but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one to have
had the idea. Maybe if there'd been a chapter on the places of The Tain, I'd
have bought it.
Then walking up Duke
Street. Construction work proceeds apace in the marks and Spencer ex-Brown Thomas
and now that Heaney's won the prize, Cathach Books has a window display of Irish
Nobel prize winners. On the left hand side of their door there's Seamus himself,
Samuel Beckett, William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw; there's Rare and
First editions. Hardbacks. Taking up an equal amount of space on the right side
is a display totally dedicated to James Joyce. Ireland's greatest writer, but
who never won the Nobel Prize.
Sub City , just browsing. An entire shelf of Sandman graphic novels. Back to
the Forbidden Planet, read a few comics. 'Big Letters', well drawn, a psychotic
taxi driver. his passenger a woman who imagines her 'daughter' sitting beside
her, but who had been aborted. Another 'Uncut', vigilante women, hey you, you're
gonna play my meat flute. Swish, slice, cut. Throat bleeding men.
Then down to the
Record Collector. If I wanted I could have bought the cassette bootleg of REM
at Slane Castle.
Liam only scored a B1 for his Yeats work. September 1913. If he hadn't slagged
Yeats previously then he may have scored better. I think his English teacher
may have a bit of a crush on the old Yeats. Probably goes on pilgrimages to
Drumcliff graveyard. Ben Bulben, Glencar, and probably even camps out on the
shores of Lake Innisfree. Still, the criticism was better than that on his
Art essay, along the lines of "too much like a documentary", an interesting
comment on an essay on the life and times of some artist. I', just wondering
what drugs the art teacher was on at the time, or if she read it at all.
A 12 year old boy has disappeared on his way to choir practise at the Pro-Cathedral.
And Larry Mullen's son has to live with the name Aaron Elvis Mullens.
on the 123, to Mount Temple. S & L forgot their lunches this morning, C
thinks they'll starve.
Nearly, yes, College Green, around the Bank, Westmoreland, Bewley's window,
Fleet Street, now covered with shades. Stena Sealink, Irish Ferries, Pharmacy,
O'Connell Bridge. The new Burger King. Wonder what they call Burger Kings in
France. Burger d'Roi? Roi d'Burger? And what of the whopper, l'whoppaire?
Jim Larkin, arms out. Lir's clock plays a John Denver tune, the one that fills
up his senses. Right into Cathal Brugha. A pigeon on a statue's head, the one
on the left of the group of three. A man reading a paper on the seat in front.
The Sun. "My Ordeal Over Affair With Sir." More extracts from the
Paula Yates autobiography. Poster for the Pogues new album, Pogue Mahone, how
Storm, Rain, Wind, Hail Guinness.
The Fairview Inn, green and black marbled paintwork.
Brian Road, the roundabouts, first right, and the next one will circle clockwise.
Charlemont, Marino Institute of Education. Griffith Avenue
Marino Casino, while we're in the neighborhood. We're guided through by Doreen
O'Donovan. She obviously loves this place, but, best of all, she got political.
Apparently Charlemont crawled out of his death bed to vote against the Act of
Union. Yep, Charlemont was her man all right.
The latest accessory for any self-respecting 'hunry and homeless' type is a
pathetic dog. The kiddie version of the doped baby.
Got the fabulous Elaine Murphy this time. For whom, Cuchullain would have salmon
leapt over the triple rows of checkouts, laid his sword in that sweet country
then and there, and then leapt back over the walls with Elaine held tight in
one arm, and the cash register in the other.
Shane MacGowan himself is performing at the National Stadium sometime, wherever
that might be. Frabjous Squeals of Joy.
Curlywurly's joke, "did you hear about the two prunes that were arrested
for being stewed ?". And, according to the packaging, Curlywurly's are
'by appointment to HM the Queen'. So the Queen herself probably fancies the
occasional Curlywurly. Princess Di probably binges and purges Curlywurly's.
Prince Charles doesn't look too much like a Curlywurly man. May be that was
the final straw.
"Chucky, if I can't have another Curlywurly then I'll throw myself down
Over the scrambled eggs, discussing approaches Liam could take with the essay
he has to write on Yeats. Imagining a heated conversation between Yeats and
"Marry me or I'll marry yer daughter !"
And wondering if
Iseult MacBride was another legendary beauty, and wondering what happened to
her. Maybe she became one of the aged Dunnes check-out chicks. Maybe Iseult
is the nice lady who scoops the ice-creams in the cafe at Drumcliffe.
And I still can't believe this, I actually have a ticket to see De Danann at
the Olympia, £13.50. The gods themselves descend on Dublin on the 16th
of November, and I'll be there, 8:00pm, Stalls H15. Jaysus, and the poster's
bloody huge too, Dervish sized, and no home is really happy without them. Having
trouble quite believing this.
Back from the Moore
Street market, C and Shannon on the bus up to Mount Temple for Saturday morning
gym, me to the post office (still, no rebellions). To Abbey Street, to the Scout
Shop, bought the Gaelic Badge. Then, over the bridge, the hunry and homeless
girls preparing their signs, and I'm wondering if they've learnt to spell hungry
properly yet, or maybe they intentionally spell it hunry to appear even more
pathetic than they actually are, but don't stay to find out. Through Merchants
Arch, and the coke bottle drummer is really giving his legs a belting. He was
wonderfully tuneful legs.
Mother Redcaps Market. The usual stuff, some okay instruments, some Celtic-design
belts, glass etchings, and noticing that the front page article in The Irish
Times concerns Rickie Lee Jones being refused permission to sing The Altar Boy
on some show called Kenny Live, in case it offends the sensibilities of the
Irish. Bejaysus, what these priests do to their altar boys should offend their
sensibilities, and another article on some new Beatles project, the re-release
of massive amounts of stuff. Not as though they need they money, although Paul
McCartney might want to make a bid for the entirety of Scotland.
St Nicholas of Myna. The bust of Santa himself up high, above the window, in
profile. The Virgin Mary's halo is a neon tube with metal stars, still, the
grotto is kind of cool. I wonder if prayers in this place basically amount to
Out there in Bride Street, there's some kind of research project going on, as
students armed with maps are wandering around, and taking notes. Maybe their
great leader is dropping pearls of wisdom and giving great insights into the
exterior presentation of the Napper Tandy.
The Long Hall,
This is like home. We tried some others, The Mercentile, the new pub on
Dame Street, but it's too new and feels more like a restaurant than a
pub. To The Oak, but it's full of young thing trendoids, so, only really
one alternative left, here.
It's not really busy, and seeing a child in here was a bit surprising,
as they're supposedly not allowed in, according to the notice on the door.
I'm thinking "Hey, you with the kid, piss off," but I refrain,
but when this kid starts a playfight with his dad, punching his stomach
and pulling his ears, I can understand why they're not welcome. Was really
pleased when the family buggered off.
along the opposite wall, there's a old woman with a scarf around her head,
with her son who has a mobile phone. He's speaking into it. I bet he just
rang the Da that the Ma has just been complaining about, something along
the lines of "Hey Da, clean the flat up will yer? Ma reckons you
live in filth an' only care about yer three pints a day". Except
pints is pronounced points.
And Holy Mary Mother O'God, there's a grey Rolls-Royce parked out the front
of the Napper Tandy. Jaysus, hope they've got the minders out. Maybe one the
skinny wreck from the Iveagh Hostel really hit the jackpot with this morning's
98FM cash call or something.
Found the Yeats poem about how he thinks he may be responsible for getting several
young boyos shot, through inspiring such thoughts in his play 'Cathleen ne Houlihan'.
What a bloody egotist, taking responsibility, or suggesting that the ultimate
inspiration for the Easter Rebellion was of his single-handed inspiration. Yep,
I did it. May not have fired a shot, or have been anywhere near the GPO in O'Connell
Street, but the glorious moment is all mine. Yep, they were all fired up that
night in the Abbey Theatre.
Kind of a pity that Pearse didn't get Yeats to sign his name on the Proclamation;
that Connolly didn't give him a position to defend; that Maud didn't hand him
a rifle as they were brought into Howth Harbour; that Constance didn't give
him lessons in how to shoot the thing. A pity he wasn't taken to Kilmainham,
put up against the wall of the Stonebreakers Yard, and shot. Maybe he could
have written some truly great prison poetry that more fully deserved the Nobel
Prize, rather than the fairy filled floss, the mountains of drivel about his
home, and the continual love poetry for Maud. A pity Maud didn't shoot him herself,
although he probably would have written an Ode To The Bullet. They shot Thomas
McDonough, so being a bloody poet wouldn't have saved him. Yeats would have
been the martyr to end all martyrs.
News. The Ulster Unionists are having their conference at Portrush. Obviously,
having a great time. Water slides, amusement arcades, Funland and Joyland, and
the shootin' galleries, all a good Unionist needs. Bet David Trimble insists
on first go on all the rides.
And my poster man had both the Liam O'Flynn and the De Danann posters, what
a guy. The De Danann one was kind of damp, so at the moment it's drying out
on Shannon's floor. Had to bribe her with the offer of a Taz.
A Taz search. First down to the Londis, but no. Read the front pages of today's
newspapers though, 'Ireland On UFO Alert' and 'Paula Yates in 4 in a Bed Romp'.
Then around to the Kevin Street Mart, no Taz's, but lots of Bugs. Two Bugs please.
Two doors up, they have Taz's, bought two of those as well.
Grafton Street. Not only are there Bosnian beggars, there's now Bosnian buskers.
Anything vaguely Eastern European is trying to pass itself off as Bosnian. Or
anything that's been under a sunlamp for an hour or two ..
On the balcony, and there's two girls below having a noisy conversation:
"How d'ja feckin' pay him back ?"
"How d'ja feckin' know ..."
Feck, just had a huge fecker of a firecracker thrown at me, while I was on the
balcony. It bounced off the railings, and exploded with a hell of a bang on
the footpath below, setting off the blue flashing alarm above Gary's over the
road. I think I may still be in shock, literally. My hand is shaking. This is
the equaivalent to a quarter of a stick of dynamite we're taking about.
The alarm is still ringing.
I think it's gonna be ringing 'til Gary arrives tomorrow. There's no garda rushing
to the scene. What's the point of an alarm, when no one does anything about
it. If it were a robbery on Gary's , I'd had have time to stroll over there and clean out his
cigarette stocks, stroll back, and smoke the lot. Jaysus, I'd be fillin' me
pockets with Taz bars too.
It's hard trying to sleep through an alarm, all night long. Shite, I feel like
shite. The scary thing is that means that not one garda patrol has wandered
down Bride Street since yesterday. Not one.
Finally, it's stopped.
Read The Irish News, Super Prod vs Super Taig, how they hate each other, still.
Marches and insults and past events and recriminations and how Dublin's not
doing its part and flying flags and the IRA and the RUC and David Trimble smiling.
Hodges Figgis. Reading about Maud Gonne, trying to discover what happened to
Iseult. She never was a MacBride, she was a Gonne, but became a Stuart, and
died in 1954 from cerebral thrombosis, so she can't have been the ice-cream
lady at Drumcliffe. Pity.
Outside, two kids have been cornered by the garda. Don't know why they bother.
Why not just drop a match into their pockets, officer. Just be done with it,
blow their balls off. Do us all a service, sir, so these bastards won't breed.
Suggesting that the essay that Liam's has to write on Parnell begin with the
extract from Portrait of The Artist, 'They killed my King !" No God for
Wondering if U2 will be showing their faces in Dublin this year. Probably not.
Filling out the four visa applications for the United States. Identification
marks, so, if we get shot or mugged or stabbed they can identify the body probably;
Ever participated in genocide? No, but when I was teaching 8E back in 1993 I
could have had them lined up against a wall and shot. Purpose of visit? To replicate
the Thelma and Louise drive, but without driving into the Grand Canyon. Have
I ever been a drug addict? No, but I've taken panadols occasionally, but I didn't
Didn't go to the Auld Dub tonight. I guess about now they'll be flicking the
lights, last round folks. Wondering what I've missed. Maybe they were really
firing, maybe it was the greatest session of all time, anywhere. Maybe the Chieftains
popped in for a quick pint and decided to whip out the instruments. Maybe Liam
O'Maonlai's singing the Lakes of Ponchatrain, with Sinead O'Connor, with De
Danann, maybe Frankie Gavin's really giving the fiddle some stick, the rosin
like a nuclear cloud above his head, maybe Ringo McDonagh and Colm Murphy are
playing bodhran duets to beat all ...
News. The mayor of New York has just thrown Yassar Arafat out of some kind
of official reception. Implicating him in the murder of some Americans. Maybe
they didn't ask him if he'd ever participated in terrorism on his visa application.
On the way, the gun totin' cowboy from the Dublin Costume Company totin' his
guns at the traffic at the top end of Grafton Street; through the Hibernian
Arcade, and the cute chick from the Chocolate Shop cleaning the inside windows;
into Hodges Figgis, where C is reading Oceans Of Consolation, about Irish emigrants
to Australia. In English bookshops, this book is found in the 'third world'
section. Australia, to the Brits, is a Third World country. Briefly looked at
Heaney's Redress of Poetry, making something of point about Yeats' Thoor Ballylee
being on one side of the country and Joyces' Martello Tower on the other. I
think this is meant to be mightily significant.
Morning break. Talking about Byron and Shelley. Shelley and his Mary dropping
their pamphlets from their hotel windows onto the heads of the people below.
The Museum Mary telling us that Shelley lived in an 'irregular situation' with
two women, half sisters, 'til one of them decided to get herself a poet, went
after Byron, who, apparently, 'declined the opportunity."
Don't know what happened after that.
A browse through the Viking exhibition, upstairs. The Cross of Cong has been
moved up there, and the Shrine nearby. Left when the green schoolgirls piled
in, crowding around the skeleton in the coffin-like display case. Silver ware,
glass ware. No sign of the music room. Discover later that it's been dismantled,
and will probably see the light of day again sometime up at Collins Barracks.
Finished another Westropp book. Raghnall's been in to collect the copyable negatives.
About £5,000 worth, apparently. Suggest the publication of Westropp's
Greatest Hits. Yep. Maybe. But it won't be in my time here, unfortunately. I
could do it off the top of my head. I know what's there.
I think I'll call the book 'Travels with TJ'. But the Westropp family probably
wouldn't appreciate the kind of comments I'd make. There's no Westropp's in
the phonebook, and I don't know all that much about the man, other than he took
a mountain of photographs, 98% of which were utterly boring.
I'm writing Liam's essay on Parnell . Should be able to get it finished tomorrow.
It's only three pages, the trouble is writing it in a style that could pass
"Hay man, you messin' with m'wife ?"
"Well, yeah, watcher goin' do about it, then ?"
"Arm wressle yer, then , two outer three ..."
National Concert Hall
Green 23, "to your left, sir."
Don't feel like much of a sir, when I think I can smell my own socks. Feeling
like a folkie that's wandered into the wrong place. But no, there's Liam O'Flynn
merchandise being flogged in the foyer, like any at folkie-turn.
Intermission. Those unfortunate enough to have the seats Green 22 and Green
24 have cleared out rather quickly, must've been after smellin' m'socks altogether.
Nolliag Casey and
Arty McGlynn, began with The Em Reel and finished with Music for a Found Harmonium.
Then The Voice Squad, who ended their set with The Parting Glass.
and one by one, Liam welcomed his various guests, ended up being:
The final and first tracks of The Given Note were the first and second items
on the repertoire last night, getting most of the album along the way, and others.
Sean Keane's reels, Paul Brady's "Arthur MacBride". Good concert,
but everything seemed slowish. And the totally crap drummer ruined "The
Smith's a Gallant Fireman", bejaysus, wouldn't know a roll if it had a
salad on it and a big sign saying 'Eat Me'.
Moore Street. Tobacco's getting scarce. I'm told I can get it from "the
big red man." And he certainly was a big red man, giving me the choice
between Samson and Drum. Take the Samson. The Irish choice of champions.
Walking back through
the alley from Grafton Street to Powerscourt, the jewellery shops, the demented
beggar stashing her pound coins. Maybe I should twist my mouth into a weird
shape and go sit in some public place, stick me hand out and say "god bless
ye." I'm sure I could do it.
and Jud, who's in a "zen like state of calm" to cope with the Dublin
traffic, has just driven us to the place where we collect the car for the next
big adventure. It's red.
Knockaulin, County Kildare
and C asked at the
newsagent where the hillfort was, but the kid didn't even know there was one
in the area, eventually got sent to the cottage with the corrugated iron roof.
Got the permission, clambered over the barbed wire fence, risked life and limb
as the cows en masse turned out to be bulls en masse, then climbed up the rath,
and sat on Finn
MacCool's stone. One of the most mythologically significant
places in Ireland, if not in Irish history, and it ain't even marked on the
and this is Visiting
The Places has to say:
This 600 foot high
hill, Cnoc Ailinne, is ancient residence of the kings of Leinster. Here,
Ederscel, King of Ireland, was killed by
Nuada Neacht. Around the circumference of the
hill near the top is a rath called Dun
Ailline. This was built by Daire Barrach, son of
Cathaer Mór, in 120 AD. An older origin
has it that it was built by the King Mes Delmonn.
On the north side of the hill inside the
trench is the ancient Holy Well of St John. On the
opposite side is a stone known as Finn
mac Cumhaill's Stone.
is the NW of Kilcullen crossroads.
Kilcullen is on the main road from Naas to Carlow.
Gave up trying to find 'The Graves of the Leinstermen', the signs had all disappeared,
and it was three miles up whatever road may have been the right one.
Brian Boru's fort. A walk around where the walls would have been. It's beautiful.
Fair enough too, he's got the best tune as well.
Ennis. There's blue and yellow everywhere. Finally find an Offaly shirt in my
size, XXL, in a place called Upstairs Downstairs, the shirt of my dreams, but
the orange is actually yellow, so forget it. Green, white and yellow.
Really wanted to see the door frame to this church. The door into the
Staff Workroom at the Museum is a copy of this, just wanted to see the
And, according to O'Donovan, the walls of this place were built by fairies.
They must have been big fairies.
Red Mary, behind an electrified fence, Private Property No Parking Opposite
Gate. Looks evil enough. Yep, there's ghosts in there, and crows. Telling
the kids the stories of how Red Mary hung her maids by their hair, from
We made our own dolmens. So have thousands of others.
It must be the thing to do here.
Where are the swans?
The best bit is the stairs that now go nowhere. And getting seriously tempted
to add my own name to the Signature Tree.
If Yeats doesn't want it, I'll have it.
In the restaurant, the Celts that were involved in the re-enactment of
some battle, are at the table next to us. Drinking their cups of tea and
smoking their cigarettes, and videoing themselves with a camcorder. Celtic
chicks, cute enough, though I doubt Maeve had pierced eyebrows. They should
have blue faces though.
boat was was a brilliant bonus.
We're having tea at Cruise's.
Next door is the Queens Hotel, where Leopold Bloom's father did himself
Found the wedge tomb, then the Grange stone circle. Right, then right again
at Reardon's Pub, and a little way up the road. The biggest stone circle in
Ireland. Imagined it'd be dark and sinister, but it's not, and, apparently:
onetime ruler of the area, Garóid Iarla (of The Desmonds) is reputed to
the waters in a castle
with his retinue. Here Fionn and the Fianna entered the Otherworld,
encountering giant and hideous
(from Visiting The Places)
and, this onetime
ruler would emerge from the lake every seven years on his horse shod with silver
But at least there's no hippies around, no Celtic Druidic groovers this time.
Maybe it's too windy and chilly for 'em, maybe the Celtic gods told 'em to piss
off, maybe they're downing pints in Reardon's.
Any real estate agents handy? Damn. Never any around when you need one.
The Castle, just the place to eat Golly Bar ice-creams
Blackwater River, and the bridge that inspired Spenser to write The Faerie Queen.
Haven't read it, but I know of it. Tarts with wings.
Killarney Youth Hostel
Oh God. There's more bloody Australians here, they're really loud, and they're
talking about Australianisms. Why don't they just shut up. C has just offered
to unpick the Australian flag badge from my jacket.
Two American girls buying what they knew not, on the advice of somebody who
suggested something but which they couldn't remember. Couldn't tell the difference
between Seamus Heaney and Roddy Doyle. Hopeless. Then the other fat American
wanted the book she'd seen in their hotel, a paperback, with different scenes
on the front. Do you have it? Thick as .. but not as thick as these Australians
at the YH.
the papers. And on page 3 of The Sunday World, Kylie
Minogue, our own little Singing Budgie herself, has her
tits out. Meanwhile, Three hundred killed in a Tube Train
fire; The Beatles 4-1 favourite for the No.1 single this Christmas, some
Kerry boy killed in an accident has had his bits transplanted into four
other people, tomorrow's weather should be fine, Bob Geldof's new girlfriend
was the tart who played Sophie Marceau's handmaiden in Braveheart, Mary
Robinson's husband fined for speeding, while her own comments about divorce
have upset some, something about the miserable lives of incredibly rich
women, and, more tit news, on how women can dream their way to enormous
tits "hypnotist puts girls under a spell to make them grow".
Guess I'm up to date with what's going on.
Halloween. Samhain, and at the stroke of midnight tonight, the spirits roam
the earth, released through the tiny crack in time between the end of the old
Celtic Year and the beginning of the new one.
Ladies View, Muckross House, the entire Killarney experience...