Well, I’m back in good ol’ Dublin, which I have become quite fond of, really. I came back to get a tourist visa stamp, keeping me legal in Ireland for another 3 months. But, I’ve also taken the opportunity to do a complete theatre and tourist binge. Yesterday I visited the ‘Little Museum of Dublin,’ which is a two-room museum in one of the Georgian terrace houses on St. Stephen’s Green. It consists mainly of photos, posters and letters, with a few odds and ends thrown in, and concerns Dublin’s history in the 20th century. It was really interesting to go to, I heard lots of fabulous little stories about the place, and I’ve consequently grown more affectionate towards it, as I’ve learnt more about it. The tour guide was ridiculously enthusiastic, but I kept tripping her up with my questions that she didn’t know the answers to. I didn’t mean to do it, and I wasn’t meaning to make a point, as I actually thought she was very well-informed and a lovely guide, but it kept happening and became a bit awkward after a while. Anyway, there were some very interesting things on display. One was a letter Samuel Beckett had written to a young boy who was living in Beckett’s childhood home, and who had to do a school assignment on the history of his house. Beckett finished the letter with, ‘If you see my ghost around the house or grounds, please give him my regards,’ or something like that. It was very sweet. There was also a modern art piece, which was of a series of Monster Munch (a kind of crisp you can get in Ireland and the UK – see picture) dipped in gold and on display. It was to symbolise how bonkers everyone and everything got during the Celtic Tiger boom years. It was kind of amazingly awesome and horrendous.
There was also the first (and only) issue of Nouveau, a magazine for the nouveau riche of Ireland, the title of which was not meant to be ironic. Again, a reminder of how crazy things got around here (and, just quietly, the magazine reminded me slightly of ‘the (sydney) magazine’ in style and smugness – but I’ve always hated that publication).
After seeing the museum, I went to see a show at the Peacock Theatre, which is kind of like Downstairs Belvoir in aims and programming. The production I saw was, ‘I ♥ Alice ♥ I’, which originally showed in the 2010 Dublin Fringe. It was absolutely brilliant. A beautiful and intimate piece of theatre, describing a long-term lesbian relationship, it was written and directed by one of the performers (which is something I’ve seen a lot of in Ireland – I haven’t seen nearly so much theatre created that way in Australia. I think a lot of people, in fact I KNOW a lot of Australians would consider it a dangerous hubris, but most of the stuff I’ve seen in Ireland has worked really well), a woman named Amy Conroy. I’ve been going to theatre for a good many years now, and this is the first show that has genuinely shocked and surprised me by its ending in a long time. I wouldn’t call myself a particularly naive or gullible audience member, but I was completely taken in by some aspects of the show, which later proved to be false, and I was completely flabbergasted. To be honest, my first feeling was of absolute disappointment and betrayal, and anger that I was so completely fooled (and some of that feeling still remains), but the rest of me is amazed that the show was so believable, so convincing, so well-crafted, that I wasn’t able to see through the false bits at all. So, yes, if you happen to be around Dublin anytime soon, you MUST see ‘I ♥ Alice ♥ I’. And, even if you’re not, I’m absolutely certain it will be touring to a theatre near you at some point soon. So, see it. SEE IT.
After the theatre, I finally headed to O’Donoghue’s, a very famous Dublin pub, that was the start of many a famous Irish folk band, such as ‘The Dubliners’, ‘Sweeney’s Men’, The Fureys, Christy Moore and others. I’d been putting off going here, mainly because it was out of the way from the places I normally stayed, and I didn’t want to walk around the back streets of Dublin late at night by myself. But, I decided it was time I visited the place. Of course, it was full of tourists. Very loud American tourists, to start off with. And, honestly, I’ve met a lot of lovely Americans, but, when you’re not talking to them, when they’re just getting very drunk and yelling and whooping at the musicians, they just seem like the arrogant stereotype. I mean, honestly. Their whoops were bursting my ear drums. And, whilst Irish men would give up their stools for me to sit down, turn around to check they weren’t blocking my view, make sure I was having fun, the American tourists would stand directly in front of me, not move and then sing, very loudly, out of tune, over the top of the musicians. They actually seem to now realise other people in the world exist apart from them. I know, I know. Australians, when drunk, can be just as horrible. But, I saw Americans last night, so I’m feeling a bit anti-American.
If anything, I should be feeling anti-European, as a large group of middle-aged men from Germany, Poland and France entered the pub later in the evening, and they were unbelievably sleazy. They clocked me and the American girl I had been talking to (see, I do like Americans, I promise!) the minute they walked in the bar, and then wouldn’t leave us alone. In the most ridiculously, sleazy, creepy way too. Anyone who read my facebook wall would know of the 65 year old man who told me he and his friends were from a parallel world who had come to earth because of all the beautiful women. His friend from Germany would lock eyes with us from across the room and start grinding his hips in our direction. When we attempted to get past to go to the bathroom, they felt the need to touch us all over, to help us along the way to the toilets. It was disgusting. The weird thing was that they didn’t seem particularly drunk, meaning that they genuinely thought this sort of behaviour was acceptable. It wasn’t exaggerated due to alcohol (not that excessive alcohol would make that behaviour any more acceptable, but it certainly would have made it more usual). I wasn’t sure if these men were all powerful or rich or influential or something, and that made them think they were able to attract women in such a way. I should check if there was some sort of important European conference on in Dublin yesterday.
Anyway, I’m off to the theatre again tonight, at the Project Arts Centre (which I learnt, through my visit to the Little Museum of Dublin, was a venue that U2 played at once upon a time. So, there you go). And, tomorrow, despite some initial problems with my booking, I’m off to Wicklow! Hooray!