We spent the New Year in Dublin with my mom, dad and brother. I’ve never been to Ireland, though I imagined it to be a place of sweeping green. And it was. Even in the overcast (though not unbearably cold) afternoons, the green at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College were even more pronounced.
We stayed in the absolutely beautiful Shelbourne Hotel and in four days, squeezed in the tourist musts: City bus tour, the Guinness Storehouse and a delicious pint at the gravity bar. We skipped the tour at the Jameson distillery but didn’t skip the bar. We had an amazing traditional Irish meal in Temple Bar, strolled through the rooms at the National Gallery, shopped along Grafton St., took a fabulous literary pub crawl along the Duke, O’Neil’s, the Stand, and Davy Byrnes and we felt in the company of the great bards and in the shadow of Mr. Bloom as the actors recited Joyce, Yeats, Beckett and Behan. We drank fantastic beer and whiskey, enjoyed traditional pub food, toasted in the New Year at the Shelbourne, and on the last night, stuffed my brother with enough food from the carvery to keep him satisfied until he returns.
Overall, it was a really beautiful trip. I hope that I can visit Ireland again in the summer when everything is in bloom. But it was great to see my family again and stockpile enough literary inspiration to come back to the buda and the pen & page. Happy New Year, Internet!
It came slowly
Afraid of insufficient self-content,
Or some inherent weakness in itself,
Small and hesitant,
Like children at the top of stairs,
It came through shops, rooms, temples
Streets, places that were badly-lit,
It was a gift that took me unawares
And I accepted it.
— Brendan Kennelly