Top of the mornin’ to ya!
Sorry, I know there’s probably not a single Irish person out there who actually says that, but I couldn’t help myself!
My apologies for not posting anything on here for so long. I was planning to continue writing about every city that I visited and somehow catch up to the present, but, guess what, it never happened. I’ve had to accept that I’m just too far behind, so I’m skipping the rest of my travels through Italy, England, France and Spain (I’ll write about them one day), and I’m going to tell you about Dublin.
My favourite thing about Dublin is hearing marvellous Irish accents everywhere you go. It doesn’t matter how many Irish people you’ve met before, there’s something magical about immersing yourself in the homeland of this lilting, lyrical way of speaking. The voice in my head (which I regularly talk to) suddenly became Irish too. Walking down O’Connell Street, I found myself thinking, “Jaysus, it’s freezing. Sure, I’ll just pop in here and find some warmt.” (Apologies to all Irish people for that!)
As if that wasn’t enough, the inside of my head has also had to put up with a song called ‘Molly Malone’ that’s been playing on repeat. I had never heard this song before I came to Dublin, but apparently it’s pretty famous. This fictional lady not only has a song, she also has a statue, and it was here, on my first day in Dublin that I was introduced to her.
The guide on my free walking tour took us to a statue of a lady with a cart, and, ignoring our embarrassed grins, made us link arms and sing a rousing rendition of ‘Molly Malone’. The chorus goes like this:
Alive alive oh-oh, alive alive oh-oh, crying cockles and mussels, alive alive oh! (Repeat one dozen times.)
Since that first day, I have heard ‘Molly Malone’ played through the speaker systems of souvenir shops, performed by buskers on the street and singers in pubs, and even belted out by my tour bus driver during a day trip to Glendalough. Now I hear it in my head every minute of the day (and also when I wake up in the middle of the night).
There’s nothing like an Irish pub
Apart from talking and singing to myself, I have actually been exploring the city. It’s a fairly grey place, due to the ever-present clouds that hang low in the sky and which is accentuated by old stone buildings such as St Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle. But step inside any pub or cafe and the colour and warmth feels more intense than anywhere else in the world. There’s no way Irish pubs would have the character that they do if it were always sunny outside. Full of dark polished wood, twinkling lights, steaming plates of stew and mashed potato and the softly jangling melodies of Irish folk music, they don’t disappoint.
If I was better organised and if I were staying longer, I would go to places like Kilmainham Gaol where the 1916 rebels were executed and the Dublinia Museum to learn about Vikings. Instead, I have experienced Dublin largely by walking alongside the river, shopping on Grafton Street and sipping Irish coffee in a cosy cafe. And I’ve loved every minute.