Thirty Thousand Streets

Monday, June 16, 2008


Despite it being a hop, skip and a jump away, I'd never been to Dublin, so I was pleased to be going for my old friend Ade's stag do, which took place in Dublin the weekend just gone.

Dublin is something of a chiched destination for such an event to be sure but when I mooted Belfast, our source of inside info from the Emerald Isle itself said (and I quote) "I wouldn't consider going to get smashed in Dublin unless you actually want to get smashed up".

So we reverted to stereotype and went to Dublin.

We set off on Friday morning, a motley crew of advertising sales execs, web designers, Swedish web designers, jazz keyboardists and myself, and kicked off proceedings with a pint at Stanstead Airport at 11 am, which got the ball rolling nicely.

Other than that though, it was relatively tame. No drugs/stripping/prostitution/murder etc. though we did drink rather a lot. Oh, and no matching polo shirts with iron on transfers.

Dublin's a bit of an odd place, and I struggled to get a grasp of what it was really all about though. Nice enough to look at in the day – with an impressive portfolio of historical architecture – which my sources tell me has more overall continuity than, say, London, due large patches of it not being flattened by the Luftwaffe in the 2nd World war. But it did also look a bit like a large English town with a river and bridges (Shrewsbury anyone?) rather than a bustling metropolis. It also had green post boxes, which was a momentarily diverting novelty, and I can reveal that the pedestrian crossings emit a rapid-fire glockenspiel-esque sound which Orbital sampled for one of their tracks in the mid nineties.

It also had a slightly trashy resort feel in the evenings that weekend, what with all the vacationing inebriates staggering round, grunting at one another. I had sort of anticipated this though, and to be fair, we were at least part of the symptom, even if we hadn't chosen to wear outsized Guinness hats and puke in a fountain somewhere.

And be-jaysus it was expensive. I'd been warned about this but I think the 'penny dropped' when, shortly after we checked in, we went to get a bite to eat. Having opted for an restaurant selling traditional Irish 'fayre', I chose a 'Boxty' which is basically a filled pancake, which cost about sixteen quid. This was pretty much par for the course really, and while I can appreciate that people have got to make a living, the portions weren't hugely generous, and I couldn't quite kick the feeling that they'd seen us (the Brits) coming.

The boozers were pretty good mind – I really liked the John Kehoe on Saturday afternoon – and as for the Guiness (and Murphy's, and Beamish...) well, it tasted like another drink really – cool and ridiculously smooth.

Culturally, well, it wasn't that kind of holiday, though I did find a gallery/exhibition space round the corner from our hotel where they had a graphic art show on, consisting of posters responding to the brief of 'Flags and Anthems'. There was some excellent stuff and I bought a couple there and then.

We headed back Sunday, which was just in time. Sharing an apartment with six other guys smoking, sweating, drinking and farting has got a pretty limited sell by date really, and by that time I really wanted to go home and sleep properly. Easier said than done however, and the flight was delayed for about two hours, during which one of the people on our flight helpfully managed to spew all up and down the concourse. Which was nice.

Chilling out tonight. My housemates are out drinking at the Hermits Cave (sic) in the aftermath of the Camberwell Arts College degree show, and my housemate Jess didn't seem to be able to comprehend why I didn't want to go and booze in a pub stuffed to the gills with pissed up art students, but then, I did all that years ago.

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