~skeleton dance~

January 11th, 2008

If you can’t get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you’d best teach it to dance.
~George Bernard Shaw

Yesterday was all about digging (and digging deeper within) the literary tradition of Ireland.
Here is the view from my daily train (DART) into Dublin, and Connolly station.

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I explored the northern area of Dublin above the Liffey River, on a quest for the Writer’s Museum, which promised to display rare artifacts once belonging to Ireland’s (in)famous authors.

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Not only was it open, but beyond cases full of first editions, they did indeed give in to the fetishization
of the actual fountain pen/lunettes/pipe/portable Remington of so-and-so, including (in order of appearance) Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, WB Yeats, Sammy Beckett, and James Joyce.
Oh yeah, and there was also a smattering of ladies.

My favorite item was this Parisian phone of Beckett’s, with the don’t even think of calling me red button:

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I also admired the Lingaphone (never heard of it!) recording of Shaw’s Spoken English and Broken English:

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The area around the museum and heading back toward the river (Northern Quays) is more working-class than the touristy nooks. The main drag is O’Connell Street, pretty much wall-to-wall pubs except for the ominous Dr. Quirkey’s Good Time Emporium, but I found some interesting bits on the side roads as well:

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Eventually I headed back over the river to meet Ali at The Palace, the last venue in our vintage pubcrawl.
Liam Aherne is the bar’s owner, and was my bar-keep, though it took me quite a time to realize it.
He bought me a pint o’Guinness and told me about his kids in New York and that he had been born in the apartment above. He blessed me when I left, which I was sad to do.

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There were a lot of elder statesmen in long coats and hats, which I love–not simply to be called “young lady”–but for the old-school manner and charm that can go with it. A man (60s? 70s?) with the most amazing deep voice was chatting me up, flirting some, giving grief some (you work here now? no? well scoot over!), and later Laim told me he is a highly-regarded priest in Ireland. No doubt–a sermon in that baritone would be something…

Once Ali arrived they all gathered round to say “Ah! This is why the lass has been smiling so much!” and “Do you play rugby, then?” to Alfonso, who towered over everyone, as usual. We had such a good time I forgot to make photographs of the gorgeous Victorian interior, so here is their own advertisement, as modeled by Ali.

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Poet Patrick Kavanaugh wrote
When I came to Dublin in 1939 I thought The Palace the most wonderful temple of art. There’s where the gabble about poetry was to be heard. Later on, in the first years of the war, the pub did develop a sort of literary life.
But one thing I noticed then and it is truer now: there weren’t one willing to play the passive feminine role. All were looking for artistic kudos, for creative erections and the result was frustration all round.

Here is novelist Brain O’Nolan (aka Flann O’Brien, in fedora) and Kavanaugh at The Palace, pondering “creative erections”…

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On the way home we found the shop where no doubt all Irish writers purchase their Propelling Pencils (I sense an inadvertent theme):
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The DART bookend:
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Today I spent the whole day in my pjs in bed, an actual writer in her native habitat:

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Tomorrow, Geneva, then Neuchatel, following the wisdom of one G.B. Shaw,
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

Slán Agat, Ireland!

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One Response to “~skeleton dance~”

  1. Habib says:

    Creating yourself indeed. Oh, I would have enjoyed the Palace with you! Next time perhaps.
    XO D

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