hints of spring

It's still January, and it's grey and rainy, but in the parks the most fantastic thing is happening; the snowdrops and other spring flowers are starting to come out. Maybe not such a big deal, but as where I come from it's still the depths of winter, it's just a lovely little reminder that the days may still be short, but spring is just around the corner. And while I know that the Irish moan about the rain, I have something to say to them: if it didn't rain this much, the parks would be a lot less pretty. They'd dry up in the summer, the trees would be smaller and it would all be less lush and gorgeous.

I love snowdrops. When you look at them the first time, they look quite small and simple. But then you look again, and they are beautiful. There's the little, bell-like flower and the dainty green rim around it. Plus, they way the peek their heads out through the decaying leaf-mold is a nice touch, appreciated by students of Gothic lit., like me. They are living reminders that, while January can look like death, it's really part of the cycle of life.


As I'm from a small community with nature encroaching from all sides, I need the countryside and I really do appreciate that within just a few minutes walk from my apartment, there are several really beautiful ones in Dublin's city centre. Plus, the grounds in college are gorgeous. It's so strange. I've only been here for eight and half months, but it's starting to feel like home.

Dublin Tourism asked me to mention the podcasts on their site. And actually, they are seriously pretty cool. So if you haven't been here, and you want to get an idea of what's it's like, check 'em out.

Musings on Dublin architecture, and other issues

While Dublin is a pretty city, most of the buildings, even the big ones, are quite simple on the outside. I'm not that well-travelled, but I think that they'd be more obviously "fancy" in other places. The amazing thing is that when you go inside, they vary hugely, and can be really extraordinary. I've kind of gotten used to it, but I was reminded again yesterday evening when me and my Boyfriend went for a post-cinema drink at this place on College Green, The Bank. Although it's right near college, I had never been there before. Wow. We just had one drink, but it's an amazing building. It used to be a bank (well, d'oh) and they still have the old vaults downstairs. People (misinformed people) say, "Well, why not just buy some beer and drink it at home to save money?" but they are missing the point. Drinking a "glass" (half pint of beer) or a hot whiskey in an amazing old place like that is less about the drinking than about basically renting a table so's to soak in the atmosphere. I'll definitely be going back. My Uncle Joey has been down in Wexford for a couple of days, but he's back tonight for 2 more days in the city and I'll take him there. You never know: he might decide that I deserve to be treated for a meal out!

We'd been to the cinema to see A Serious Man, which paints a generally depressing picture of middle age, American Judaism, family life...you name it. It's by the Coen Brothers. It was good, but it made me feel anxious. I like the Screen on d'Olier St though. It's not swanking and gorgeous and arty like the Lighthouse. It's not huge and American like Cineworld. It's in an ugly cement building that looks like a bunker and the decor is strictly functional. But in a good way, like you're supposed to be focusing on the movie, not the flashiness of it all.

Back at the apartment, Bepe was weird. We came in and although he was half way through watching something on TV he just muttered goodnight and went away. Trying to give us some privacy? Or being rude? Boys; they are hard to understand.

and also...

Called in to the Douglas Hyde Gallery at college today. I was going to write about how great the show was, but one of the blogs I watch did it already. Check it out: http://inkywrists.ie/2010/01/16/james-castle-at-douglas-hyde-gallery/


Honestly, I feel like one of those cartoon characters that has to prop up their eyelids with matchsticks to stay awake. What a weekend. The words "fifty-something uncle" don't usually summon up wild weekends, but Uncle Joey is no ordinary 50-something.

Some of the highlights:

Massive pub crawl on Friday evening. Uncle Joey liked the Brazen Head so much, he asked me to only take him to old pubs, so we went from one to another, building up and then maintaining a pleasant "almost drunk" state. For some reason though, we ended up in The Dragon. While the main point of The Dragon is that it's Dublin's best gay club, it's a friendly place where anyone can go and the decor is *absolutely amazing*. I don't go there much but I do love the way it's kitted out. On Saturday, it was an Irish Breakfast (of course), followed by a DART trip to Bray and more pubs, including, fortunately, a trad session that I'd tracked down. My uncle was totally in his element and by the end of the day he had a bunch of people around him while he sang. I wish I'd inherited his confidence instead of my teacher parents' reserve. By Sunday, Uncle Joey had already made some friends, so he had a dinner invitation and, to tell you the truth, I was almost relieved. I'm the young one here, but I was worn out.

Strangely enough, the only person I've ever met not to really like U.J. is Bepe. They met Saturday, and Sunday Bepe said rather disapprovingly that he looked "rough". Such an odd comment coming from him. I'm so confused I'm not even offended. Though as B and his friends like to drink beer and shout at the television when the soccer or rugby are on, whose being rough then? B is in a bit of a tizzy right now, because Italy is playing Ireland on Feb. 6th and his boss has given him a ticket to the match. So, lucky me, two whole weeks of listening to him talk about the Italian team and how they are going to win: LIKE I'M INTERESTED.

Tonight, the plan (mine, anyway) is for a quiet evening. Uncle Joey is taking me and my Boyfriend (who I'm introducing as a "friend") out for a meal. I get to choose where and I'm not sure. Something healthy might be good as after that weekend, I could do with a bit of a detox.