Centuries–old stone bridges jutting out from dusty streets. St. Patrick’s clocktower reaching toward the sun. Faint aroma of potato crepes creeping along the morning fog. Mid-morning breakfast along Liffey River as elfin creatures meander to work.
A three-hour trek through downtown Dublin. Leprechaun Lair looms large in plans, if only for the tale. Guinness Storehouse atop a cobble-stoned path, its barley scent floating through dumpy alleys filled with Broguishly slung slang. Seventh-floor panoramic view of the city’s two million inhabitants, most of who are foregoing recovery from last night’s drinking binge and heading out to the pubs for Ireland’s seemingly 24/7 happy hour. In some sections horses pull hansoms, their steps cadenced to the whistled Irish folk tunes of bored drivers.
Trinity College co-eds trot about in flannel skirts and hooded sweatshirts on their way to imbibe something dark and cluttering. From beneath a ubiquitous green overhang, a tattered and bleeding male makes violent gestures toward a woman whose jack-o-lantern smile and excessive facial jewelry suggest she’s been through these battles before, and won.
Dublin is un-romantic, blue collar at best, blessed with the Obama/Bob the Builder slogan “Yes We Can” the way that large dogs have signs on their fences stating “Beware of Dog.” Stained t-shirts and scuffed jeans adorn well-muscled blokes whose blistered hands and tar-stained teeth shout “hard labor.’ One gets the feeling the Sunday Church confessional will have a long line.
It is Wednesday evening now. The banging of something being constructed is coming though my window, attached to the smell of another something distinctly digestive. A layer of brown and gray hovers above the city. Sunsets in Ireland come through a haze, as if clarity could be possible with all the drink (sarcasm).
Along the streets, the workforce appears to be heading home for a change. The Liffey is quiet. Darkness brings a looming sense, as though the city has taken a deep breath and is holding it for the evening. The air feels like a taut balloon. In unlit corners, Leprechaun mill about. Somewhere a glass is filling. A hard night impends.