The City of Dublin

Ted Wynne is a a student at the University of Rhode Island and an official API Student Blogger. Ted is studying abroad with API this spring in Dublin, Ireland.

I don’t want to write this country off as nothing but picturesque. You don’t care about the color of the sky and grass or the smell of baked goods on an early Sunday morning, especially not a line of those adjectives from me. I am a writer, not a poet. I appreciate the visuals of a moment, a drive through the countryside, for myself. To tell you all of what I’ve seen in overly complex detail is pretentious and dull. I’ll take a picture, upload it to Facebook, say “I’m in Ireland and YEAH it’s pretty awesome”, and leave my bragging at that. Yet, for now I cannot go the novel approach either: dialogue, fluid story, characters and etc. That way would sadly have to be watered down. For the following post is on the nightlife in Dublin, heavily self-edited seeing how many of the things I’ve done here late at night aren’t exactly “appropriate” for an education-based study abroad blog. For an article on peace and serenity, tune in much later when I finally get time to tune down the octane. For an actual narrative tale, I believe I’ll be in the mood for one after API’s trip to Paris this weekend.

Dublin is not like the Ireland you see in the movies. There are no rolling green hills or wise bearded men in tweeds. No straw cottages with smoking chimney pipes or ancient stone hedges stretching beautifully across an open landscape. There are lines of brightly colored doors against grey brown apartments, tightly packed pubs, bars, theatres, shoe stores, wine shops, restaurants, neon lights, and skinny Europeans who’d be branded hipster on our side of the pond. Not a single sheep wanders past the dirt road you walk upon. Instead: a weirdly numerous amount of double-decker buses, Audi taxis, BMWs, Aston Martins, and Range Rovers disregard normal world rules (left side and rotaries?) in a quest to brutally maul anyone crossing Dublin’s paved and cobble stoned roadways. Business people in pinstripes and scarves flourish. Homeless folks beg for spare change. Buskers sing and play guitar blues looking for the same. The cat calls and drunken laughs last as long as the sky is dark.

The city thrives on its pub culture. It is the center for the fantastic, live local music, friendly people, and Dublin brewed beer and whiskey. I’d laugh at any fellow American who thinks that they can outdo a band of late night Dubliners. The Irish leave no stereotype unattended. They drink. A lot. Each pub is its own promised land, the Guinness taps flowing with milk and honey. Jameson is served smooth and hot. The bar stools are packed with the jolliest of lads, laughing and roaring along with folk musicians covering popular rock songs with their banjos and drums. Jack Kennedy, fifty years past dead, is still the national hero; his picture hangs up above the band next to the current Pope.

Last call is unusually early: half eleven. The drunken crowds disperse, bubbling with smiles, moving on to the later night bars or clubs which have just opened their doors. Every other man and girl smokes a pipe or a hand rolled cigarette. Naturally, I have to partake. Somehow it becomes 3AM. Grafton Street is bright with light. Hoards of people sing, carts sell chips and burgers, a hobo with nothing but rags, an aged guitar, and a Bass Pro Shops hat sings a stunning and sad rendition of Johnny Cash’s Folsum Prison Blues. Somehow all of us have made friends over the past couple hours, single serving acquaintances that have made our night grand, been the center of cheers. They lead us to hole-in-the-wall Meccas for brilliant living, sharing stories and advice on how to experience their city, their country, their continent. Playful cursing goes back in forth regarding American football and politics, rugby, cigars, and good food.

When our pockets run out of money and the pint glasses go dry, we each kiss two cheeks at once and journey home: a twenty minute stroll back up Grafton where the buskers still croon, along St Stephen’s Green where the trees are dark and ghostlike, and the brick lined road of Harcourt where the clubs still rage with noise.

Laying back on my king sized bed on the top floor of our old Irish house, I realize that it’s only Wednesday. The sun will be up in a few hours .But I don’t have class tomorrow. I may take a stroll down the street to get a burrito, a trip to Temple Bar to see a movie at the IFI. The possibilities are endless for this city. And then there’s the weekend: to Paris, to Rome, to Scotland, to anywhere.

So life is good as I fall asleep.


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