Bloomsday in Dublin

[Apologies, the mobile version of WP won’t let me embed the photos where I wanted them.]

I spent Bloomsday perambulating about Dublin and managed to hit several spots of note. I started at the Joyce Center around 10:30am, and found that while things were gearing up there, the Center itself wasn’t going to be open until 2pm. Striding around N. Great George’s St. was a Joyce impersonator, who I later learned was named Milner Shevlin, and his resemblance to Joyce is quite remarkable. About 6-7 others were there in period dress, and an old Model-T automobile converted to a mobile Espresso shop was also parked nearby.

From there, I went up to Eccles St, and photographed the doorway at the Bloom House there, since #7 no longer exists. Heading back towards the river, I stopped for a selfie with the Joyce statue.

The folks at the Joyce center had advised me to check out Davy Byrne’s pub and the Sweny chemist for more Joycean action. On my way to the pub, I got sidetracked and wandered into Trinity College for a bit. There were no Joyce impersonators amidst the buskers on Grafton St., and, to my annoyance, none of the shops seemed to have any Bloomsday or Joyce-related apparel — I promised someone a T-shirt — and so I made my way onto Duke, were there was quite a crowd of men in straw boaters inside Davy Byrne’s. It was lunchtime and the pub was busy, so despite wanting to sample their special of the day (a gorgonzola sandwich with a glass of burgundy), I lit out for the chemist.

Sweny’s was a treat, since it has been preserved in the early-century style, and luckily for me, wasn’t very busy when I arrived. After taking some pictures and signing the guestbook, I crossed the street for a roast beef and horseradish sandwich washed down with an O’Hara’s stout. While I was in Kennedy’s, a rather large crowd of people in Edwardian dress descended on the chemist’s and I watched them mingle about from my seat in the pub.

I decided the Joyce center would probably be mobbed as well, so I chose to simply explore for a while. I visited Merrion Square and the Oscar Wilde memorial (and his house across the street), and made my way to St. Stephen’s green. There I photographed some of the flowers, and I also found my Gerty MacDowell for the day. A young woman was lounging rather prettily on the grass near some bright flowers, so I went up to her and asked if I could take her picture. She said yes.

The rest of our interaction departed from the Ulysses script: she didn’t show any leg, there were no fireworks, and I refrained from any untoward physical expression in public.

After visiting the bust of Joyce in the park, I made may way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral – I stayed outside – and then to Christchurch, which I explored from the main floor down to the crypt. It was there I discovered the mummified cat and rat which are, according to the caption, mentioned in Finnegan’s Wake. I passed St. Audoen’s next, and headed into the Cow’s Lane/Pudding Row area. There I stopped for a while to listen to the Joyce readings in the Meeting House Square, and then scoped out the restaurants and pubs in the Temple Bar. By this time I was feeling a bit hungry and footsore, so I looped back to a tapas restaurant I’d noticed, and there’s concluded my downtown stay with a Spanish approximation of Poldy’s lunch. Whereas he had quaffed French wine with his Italian blue cheese, I ordered a tempranillo with a (really, really good) Picón, which I ordered not only because of the Bloomsday parallels, but because I’m a sucker for any raw milk blue.

There was a possibility of waiting for a group of other New Orleans students after my dinner at The Port House, because the literary pub crawl they were planning had sounded like fun. But I’d already had two glasses of wine, so I didn’t need any more alcohol, I was tired, and just then the rain started. I headed for the bus stop, which was coincidentally only a few blocks from Dublin’s old Monto district (aka “Nighttown”), but I encountered neither streetwalkers nor hallucinatory visions,
and rode the bus safely to UCD.

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