Notes on my fifth day in Dublin.


I get a slow start today, roaming An Lár in search of souvenirs. Thanks to some tips from Paul and his friends last night, I'm able to find some CDs of local music to give to a couple of friends as souvenirs. I also find their recommended brands of vinegar potato chips, which my S.O. is sure to turn cartwheels for.


Then I drop into Trinity College. There's an art exhibit in Douglas Hyde Gallery, so I have a look; but it's a little too art-school for my tastes. On my way out to explore the rest of the campus, a rain shower hits. So I have to take my photos of the ancient uni buildings from under a folding umbrella.


I happen upon a narrow space between two buildings which leads to a tiny cemetary plot for professors.


Ancient, older, old, newer and new all intermingle here, which is of keen interest to a Californian Tokyoite—to us, "history" means "50 years ago". The campus is quiet.


I see another exhibit around the campus called "Strange Weather", about climate change. I'm fortunate enough to have been born in the only country in the world where climate change is officially a myth, so I have nothing to worry about. One of the exhibitors is a group called Dear Climate.


I pop back to the hostel to drop off all the souvenirs I've bought.

View from window
A view from the hostel room window.
View from hostel window
Same view, different angle.
View from hostel window
Same view, yet another angle.

The window itself.


After that, more rambling, more picturesque neighborhoods. Every inch of Dublin is a picture.


The streets are mainly deserted due to the rain. But when I walk into a shopping mall, the place is jumping. Something about malls speaks directly to the contemporary heart. People congregate here as naturally as breathing. Misfits like me fail to see the charm of it, to our own disadvantage. Perhaps it's the manicured cleanliness of design; the chic modernity and the implication that this rubs off on anyone within; the comfort of being swaddled in familiar brands: you know you'll never spend a euro and not get exactly the goods, services, image and experience that you expected. Or maybe it's something else.

Spilt milk
An enigmatic shop window display.
Show posters
Posters for the show I saw, and the one I decided to see.


I buy a ticket for a play tomorrow. I'm not usually a patron of the theater, but if you travel in order to see things you can "only see there", then theater seems the very definition of this.

Olympia Theatre box office
The Olympia Theatre box office.
Play ticket
My ticket to the play.


Then I wander into a cathedral. I'm the only one there. The building has a hushed, solemn beauty. (Once people come in, it becomes a place with people.) I find that votive candles are 15 cents each, so I drop a euro in the box and take six. (Keep the change.) I light the candles and think of a different person for each one, and I ask the candles and whatever they represent—which may only be a visible metaphor for my own hopes—for one thing: "Give them relief."



And who are these six people? In roman-à-clef manner, I here identify them by first initial only:

  1. R
  2. S
  3. H
  4. K
  5. N
  6. L

Annoyed yet?

The altar in a cathedral.
Steps leading up
Within the cathedral.


Then I decide to fulfill some tourist duties and tour the Old Jameson Distillery. Rumor has it that at the end of the tour they ply you with fine whiskey. But I'd been naïve and underestimated the touristiness of the scene. It was like a Disneyland attraction. (Well, good for them. In this economy you've gotta make money somehow.) I forwent the tour and ducked around to a pub for a "Jimmy on the rocks". Mission accomplished.

Distillery gates.
The Old Jameson Distillery.
A big vat
A vat just outside the distillery.

Wall art
Art found on a wall somewhere.
Wall art
More art on a wall. Perhaps "Kage" is the artist's name.


I wander more, drink a Beamish on the sidewalk under an overhang during a squall, drink a Strongbow on a bench on a triangular traffic island, where a bunch of kids are lounging on the next bench over. One comes over to bum a smoke, and I have to tell him I don't smoke. I wish I could flash some kind of badge or certificate at him which proves and affirms that, no, I'm not being a cheap bastard, I really don't smoke. I'd give you one if I had one! Sorry!

Rehearsal studio
A rehearsal studio with no soundproofing.
Dublin tram
A tram. I never rode one in Dublin.


I pass a rehearsal studio with apparently no soundproofing at all. Somewhere in there is a drummer who totally rocks. I also come across what may be a Thomasson.

Potential Thomasson
Is this a "Thomasson"?
Maybe a Thomasson
What did this fence used to guard?


Then I come to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

St. Patrick's Cathedral
St. Patrick's Cathedral.


I sit in the park at the cathedral and read my book for a while. I've been reading this book at some nice locations all over Dublin. There are lots of people, with dogs.

Sinn Féin
Hi, Sinn Féin!


After that, I even happen upon an office for Sinn Féin. Hey!


I have pizza for lunch (cheap, bad) and Indian food for dinner (not so cheap, bad). Today is a bad food day. At the Indian place, I order chicken tikka, and guess what it comes with: a side of ketchup, and a side of mayonnaise. I sigh and think, with a mixture of amusement and sadness, "Oh, Ireland!"