Got back last night from a few nights in Dublin and awoke this morning to Cumbrian rain. What an inspiring city Dublin is. We stayed on the north side this time which felt much more like the city I remember – lots of derelict buildings, decaying warehouses, cobbled streets and dark old bars. All solid wood, stained glass, history and ghosts everywhere: traces of names on buildings, crumbling architecture, a Gin Palace, photographs of 1916 before and after the uprising. There was the Trump urinal too. Which I stumbled upon by accident of course.
The writer’s museum was worth seeing and it got me thinking about how what is implied is so much more powerful that what’s said explicitly. I was thinking particularly of Yeat’s The Second Coming and the Easter Rising. I remember my dad reading it to me as a child – “the centre cannot hold”. The hairs rise on my arms. I also discovered the writer Mary Lavin and enjoyed seeing the draft of one of her poems on her typewriter.
I was very excited to find a living elm tree after months of spotting dead ones everywhere (there were many fine examples of dead elms in Phoenix Park zoo, even used as monkey climbing frames). I took a leaf and am hoping it will inspire me to finish my elm poem.
All in all, I tried not to get quite as drunk as Behan and fell in love with the Liffey at night – especially from O’Connell Bridge and lit with green lights from beneath as though giving a glimpse of Poseidon’s cave. I also tried very hard to find the ‘prank plaque’ erected on the bridge for Father Pat Noise around 1996 but couldn’t. Hoping it hasn’t been removed.
Staying in the hotel airport on the way back, I was amazed at how dismal, lonely and old fashioned they all look and feel. I couldn’t sleep so started to write something to that effect around 2am. Whether is becomes a poem or not I don’t know. I gave up shortly after that and had a strong Irish coffee with brandy to end the holiday.