When the plan for Liz to fly over came together, one date stood out: June 16. That’s Liz’s birthday, and the date of the events described in James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” It’s hard to ignore when the Universe shouts out you, so we added 2 days in Dublin to the itinerary.
The James Joyce Centre in Dublin hosts a variety of Bloomsday events, the highlight of which are a series of walking tours to trace the routes Leopold Bloom took in the book. This was absolutely fascinating, as the city hasn’t changed much in the 100+ years that have passed since the book was written. And odd thing that didn’t emerge until the completion of the tour at the Joyce statue (seen at left) is that Dubliners don’t really care for him. He didn’t live in Dublin for most of his life, and the bulk of his literature is his ode to his homeland. In “Ulysses” in particular, he paints Dubliners is a less-then-flattering light. And while locals are aware of the book (even if they haven’t read it), their relationship with him is complicated. As a result, the colloquial name for the statue is “The Prick with the Stick.”
Aside from this highlight, there was plenty of drink. I know it comes as no surprise to anyone reading this, but the Irish LOVE to drink. We hit the Jameson distillery, the Guinness brewery and all manner of pubs. Of course we hit Trinity College and the Book of Kells, and a few U2 locales, but in all honesty we saw everything we wanted to in a few hours. When asking locals what else we should see and do, the universal response was, “There’s a pub…” Followed by some mix of the following: around the corner, down the road, you have to see, that’s really cool, etc. The message was received: Welcome to Dublin, let’s get drunk! So while looking for the (non-existent) typical meal of Dublin coddle or traditional music, we proceeded to drink. And drink. And drink.