Friday, October 5, 2012

Dublin Day 2

I spent yesterday walking to the Guinness storehouse, taking the tour and walking back.  I got to see much of the town.  Since I have a talk this afternoon, I squeezed in a quick walk across the river (Liffey) to see the other side, including the Post Office, the Garden of Remembrance, and the Writers' Museum.  So here are stray thoughts and observations along the way:

The Post Office is an important site since it was a pivotal location during the 1916 Easter Rising.  Sounds strange that the Post Office would be relevant since it is not on the Junta gameboard until one remembers that the Post Office was also a telegraphy center. I really don't know much of the history of the Rising or the war the Irish fought to become independent.  Good thing I found a graphic novel of the 1916 events.  Darkest ending of any graphic novel I have ever read.
  • Most notable in the Declaration issued during the Rising: mention of exiled Irish in America and their support.  Leaping Diasporas!  
  • I do like the use of usurpation in the declaration.  Reminds me of something.
The next stop was the Garden of Remembrance.  A very nice memorial to those who died during the war of independence.  It is most appropriate that the writing on the wall is only in Irish.  Every else in town, the signs are either bilingual or only in English (a Quebec separatist's nightmare).  The design was very similar to some of the cemeteries and memorials I saw in Europe commemorating those who died in one of the World Wars.

Across the street from the Garden is the Writers' Museum.  Joyce, Shaw, Wilde are the ones I know the best.  Pithy bunch.  Ironic that Dublin celebrates them so since many of the writers featured in the museum spent little time in Ireland and wrote much that seemed critical.  Joyce had a hard time getting Dubliners published in Ireland.  I had not realized that Bram Stoker was from here as well. 

  • I really liked the line about the English giving a language to the Irish that they used as a weapon against the British as so many Irish writers dominated the Anglosphere including their playing around with English words/grammar/conventions.
  • The funny thing about walking into a Writers' Museum (the first one, I believe, in my many travels around the globe) is that I realized not only am I married to an aspiring writer but I am one as well.  This should be obvious, given not just the blog but the books and articles and such, but I have never really identified myself as such.  Obviously, I am not in the same class as Joyce and his pals except for the basic notion of putting words to paper and then having them published.  I have often thought of myself as teacher, lecturer, researcher but writer?  Hmmmm.  Probably says something about my writing.  
Other random observations:
  • For a country having deep economic problems, Dublin seems lively and robust.  Lots of people walking around, with lots of restaurants (including froo-froo cupcake places) doing quite well, and lots of stores that seem to be thriving.  I did see some dilapidated areas close to the Guinness storehouse, but this hardly feels like a place spiraling downwards.
  • The streets are covered with students shilling for a variety of charities.  Never saw this many kids asking folks to "support cancer" or fund hospitals or whatever.
  • As a college town, Dublin seems like a great place to be.  The stuff does not seem too expensive, and the place is swarming with young folks.  We shall see in about two hours how brutal they are to visiting speakers.

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