Thursday 29 September 2016


We spent 4 days in and around Dublin. Dublin looks after its writers. It names bridges after them, it has a Writers' Museum, a Writers' Centre, and bookshops have sections on Irish fiction and poetry. At least 2 of the bookshops have displays of literary magazines (including British ones like Rialto, PN Review, etc). I bought a "Poetry Ireland Review", "The Stinging Fly" and "Town and Country", a collection of stories edited by Kevin Barry. I've not seen "The Stinging Fly" before, though I've heard about it. In September they tweeted that for their next issue they'd received 800+ submissions including more than 500 short stories. Getting a story published in it is hard work.

Beckett's bridge opens fortnightly. His phone is on show - it had a button to block incoming calls. Joyce is mentioned in many more places around the town. The James Joyce bridge leads straight to the house of the dead.

A literary pub-crawl is available, but the trend nowadays seems to be that bookshops have associated cafes or tea-rooms. The Winding Stair isn't the only shop to sell both new and second-hand books. It features on a 72c stamp.

Dublin has the highest smock windmill in Europe, a Leprechaun museum, and an abundance of tattoo shops and massage parlours. We saw the bog people. We went to Howth (where we saw cormorants, a curlew, and net-mending workshops side-by-side with sea-food restaurants) and Dalkey. We passed several Martello towers, but didn't see the one that's in Ulysses. My wife saw the Book of Kells. Trinity College at noon was just like being in Cambridge between lectures. We learnt that they call a half a glass. Speed limits are in km/h. The weather was too good to be true.

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