Twenty-five minutes’ slog back to the hotel across downtown Dublin, the mist turned thicker then to real rain, thank god for the Akubra but my good grey suit is drenched; the wool can take it but in my head is a loop of Sinéad O’Connor crooning Dublin in a rainstorm at the opening of Troy, that croon explodes in that song and I saw her do it once live with just an acoustic guitar, more petrifying than the record (The Lion and the Cobra), though she should have credited Yeats’ No Second Troy for the lines she stole. As for Dublin, it’s pretty nice; this note is just visitor’s impressions and a couple of snaps.
I mentioned that walk across town, which is compact enough that walking is pretty well the way to go, especially given that the traffic is horrible and worsened by the “Luas” light-rapid-transit now under construction.
It could be a result or cause of that traffic; whichever, Dubliners jaywalk en masse with cheerful insouciance, casting a casual eye airily at the traffic signals, which admittedly are pretty opaque, many of them regulating flow through odd-angled three-way intersections representing Georgian or perhaps Medieval urban-planning values.
On the subject of that hotel, stay away from the Dublin Hilton, its pleasant, polite staff can’t manage any logistical request no matter how slight without bollixing it up. And the location’s not that great. Plus they want €20/day for wireless, which doesn’t work in most of the hotel.
It doesn’t always rain, and that building there is about as tall as it gets, they have vigorous urban height limitations, and while I think that denser is usually better in cities, the place certainly feels pleasant.
Spic-n-span clean, too, and generally prosperous; there’s a chi-chi little urban village called Ranelagh just round the corner from the hotel, and the laundrette there has pale hardwood floors, red Eurostyled sofas, and a row of rent-the-net computers with, forsooth, big flat-panel screens.
Walking across town between the raindrops, I noticed that while the women here are not actually prettier than anywhere else, many of them have these deliciously-creamy perfect complexions, I was wondering if it was in the genes but Lauren suggested the climate (mild, wet, grey) helps. But my goodness, this fall’s clothes are putrid, all this lovely skin is wrapped up in grey, black, and dull brown; it doesn’t seem to have afflicted Vancouver’s women nearly as badly or maybe I’ve just been working too hard to notice. Please can we have some colour next year?
Speaking of all those women and men too, boy are there ever a lot of them. The traffic is just one symptom; every street is full of people it seems and every coffee shop and bus stop and kiosk has people queued up. Plenty of little kids being towed around and pregnant women, so this place is busy and getting busier.
We have been working damn hard this week and had a couple of well-earned ones at day’s end with our colleagues. There are now many more “Irish pubs” ouside of Ireland than are found in the country, but they sure do a fine job on them here.
The brick buildings here are just brick buildings, the stores just stores, the streets just streets, but the doors are special; many ordinary homes and offices have them painted brilliant yellow or green; above is the door of Newman College on St. Stephen’s Green.
The weather is bloody this time of year, the traffic is worse, but it’s a fine town.