Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dublin - where hearts are stolen

In Dublin we enjoyed glorious weather. Our raincoats and umbrellas rested in the hotel room while we walked around sweating in jeans and shirts. In the bright sunshine and 80 degrees, every citizen of Dublin appeared to be out on the streets. The darkish pubs were empty, with the patrons spilled out on the curbs, hands shading their eyes from the sun glinting off the amber gold of their pints. Gift of gab notwithstanding, I observed that the Irish begin the real talk mostly when the hand holds a pint and then the floodgates open. The pub-scene-girls looked beautiful to me...gorgeous dresses, super fancy heels, sophisticated makeup. As we passed through these merry throngs I heard plenty of energetic babble, espresso machines coughing and phlegming, the screeching of seagulls and every few minutes, a siren. I couldn't make out a word but caught the friendly ambiance nonetheless.

We ate at "The Hairy Lemon" -  typical pub fair: Irish Stew and a Dublin Coddle with a pint of ale each. The combination of too much food and the beer we're unaccustomed to (9% alcohol) nearly did us in so we put the brakes on the pub visits. The music starts too late and for every bit of Irish music you might hear you have to endure too much Johnny Cash for my liking. I'm happy to have done my pubbing in Dublin twenty years ago when my constitution was more inclined.

The Book of Kells at Trinity College is the national treasure of Ireland and worth standing in line to see for the second time. We heard evensong at St. Pat's and enjoyed reading about Jonathan Swift who was Dean for thirty years. He's buried there next to "Stella", a woman with whom he had what is called an "ambiguous relationship". He met her when she was eight years old and fatherless - smacks a bit of Woody Allen to me. I hope a whole generation hasn't been turned off Swift because of the terrible "Gulliver's Travels" film of last year. His satirical writing as in the below summarized "modest proposal" shouldn't be missed.
A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests that impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as Irish policy in general. In English writing, the phrase "a modest proposal" is now conventionally an allusion to this style of straight-faced satire.

The hop-on hop-off bus provided an overview of the city and considerable entertainment on it's own. Few people actually "hop" especially when they've just finished the Guinness tour. I clambered on, almost fell asleep and dragged my butt off. The sun, warm air, excess clothing and "bus bobble" did me in. Richard stayed alert and got us to the right stops. We loved visiting the Chester Beatty library
and Christ Church Cathedral, which is reeling from the shock of having their principal relic stolen earlier this year. A petrified heart that hung on the wall since the 1300's was pinched. There's a major appeal out world-wide to dealers in such rare antiquities to provide help and information.

Home of the heart

The heart thieves didn't have to fight the crowds in Christ Church. This was the scene just after a week day service ended. There was a woman and Richard. I was only a photographer and so don't really count.


  1. petrified heart - creep city. but might be a nice idea for a new country western song.

  2. too weird. I wonder if the heart will ever turn up. I'll keep my eyes open.
    your trip sounds really interesting. I agree about pub crawling at our age. It's really for the young.

  3. It was fun to re-take this trip through your eyes.
    P.S. Love your writing!