January's hidden treasures

Sure, the weather is awful, but why complain? It's January. It's supposed to be awful. And when it is cold and rainy and we have to wear bulky clothes, well, there's no reason not to relax, eat a little too much, have one hot whiskey too many and wait until it warms up to worry about things. While I'm glad it's not January all year long, I'm happy to go with the flow.

After being a bit caught up in a minor personal melodrama, I've decided that my New Year's resolution is to take each day as it comes, work hard, enjoy life and start trying to make a plan for what I'll do when my course is finished. I started this weekend. Sunday dawned grey and slushy and very wintery, but I rang around and arranged to go to the Hugh Lane Gallery with Saoirse and my Boyfriend to see the massive Francis Bacon exhibition. I've been to that gallery before, and I like it because it's free, it's not too big and it seems to be a little different to the rest. From outside, the building looks like a standard Georgian townhouse, but inside, it's pretty fancy. The exhibition was not just about Bacon's art, but about his life and times, and there lots of bits and pieces. Photos, crumpled magazine pages, an old article about a 27-year-old George Michael. I hadn't even realised that Francis Bacon was Irish, but he was born right here in Dublin and grew up not far away. Poor man, the love of his life, George Dyer (Bacon was gay)died tragically. I can't imagine.

Anyway, getting away from gloomy thoughts, I've decided (part of the more general New Year's Resolution) not to waste Sundays anymore. There is always something to do.

My Uncle Joey arrives on Friday and will be gracing Dublin with his presence for five days before he goes down to Kilmore Quay to look up an old sailor buddy of his and maybe try to find the ancestral patch of land, which he believes to be down there. I had to go into Dublin Tourism on Monday, and as well as making vague promises to source me tickets to some of the festivals running in the city this year, they were actually really helpful. I think I've had enough family staying in my tiny apartment for now and as Bepe is here, it's not ideal anyway. But I don't want Uncle Joey in a hotel, because he's not a hotel sort of guy. He's from a small community, he's very friendly, and if he was staying in a hotel, I just know he'd hover round reception trying to show them his family photos and take them out for beers. Apparently, there are some bed and breakfasts near Phibsboro that might be better for someone like him. I'm thinking maybe this one. I think someone like Uncle Joey will be better off in a normal family house where they'll look at his family pictures and maybe even listen to his stories! I've heard that there's a very good pub for traditional music in the Phibsboro area, but as the best person to ask about that is my Boyfriend's dad and I'm too nervous to meet him, I'll have to ask trusty ol' Google instead. What I really want, though, is a place where people can come and sing spontaneously. My uncle is a great singer - traditional and other stuff -- and there's a big overlap between Newfoundland trad and Irish trad and I'm sure it'll be hard to STOP him from singing, so the sort of place where that's welcome would be perfect.

Anyways, I'm off home. Definitely a soup day and today I am thinking maybe tomato and basil...and some bread...

Oh but before I forget, the good people at Dublin Tourism asked me in particular to mention that there are loads of festivals on this year and that many of them are listed here. Folks, I've been here since April, and it's actually true. Festivals are back-to-back in Dublin, even in the dark-and-gloomy months. It might sound silly, but that's one of the reasons the thought of maybe leaving in June upsets me. Not that I don't love where I'm from, but I've kind of gotten used to the big city.



Your Uncle really sounds like a character and I am sure everybody would love to meet him. Not sure about Phibsboro but then I don't know the North of the City, have always been told to stay South, there are some nice B&B's in Ranelagh.


Ranelagh is nice, but I was thinking of Phibsboro for two reasons -- it's a short bus drive or a doable walk to my place, and it's supposedly got this great Trad pub for music and singing -- although I am yet to track it down!


I don't know whether it's a good thing or bad, but speaking from experience (18 years ago), it's going to be very, very hard to leave.


Wow, eighteen years! Do you speak with an Irish accent yet?


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