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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Friday, 23 November 2007


Bitterly cold. Wrapped up to the nines. A delicious breakfast. Ran to the double-decker bus. Made it. Market day in town. I hurry to keep my appointment with the travel agent. Paid for air ticket and collected it already, for next week. Wonderful travel agency & excellent customer service. I'll fly first to a European city, then elsewhere. I'm getting a tiny place of my own - but it's mine, yay - permanently in Dublin. I'll be moving between London and Dublin.
How does it feel like being in the Republic of Ireland? It's a picturesque city with vast famed literature, with cafes too numerous to count, with bookshopes too large to explore and now with exciting, generous Christmas offers found in department stores everywhere. It's hard to find these kind of offers in Asia. Maybe because prices always include shipping and such.
The Irish are said to love to shop but they have a gentle manner and are always polite.
I sometimes return home with a stack of magazines and newspapers...there is just so much to read here and again compared to South-East Asia, they cost very little; plus all the magazines...fiction, women's, men's, literary, cuisine, fashion, society, specialists etc are always hot off the oven. They appear on shelves 2 days before the printed date. You're also entitled to free gifts and offers. Plus, England and Ireland share everything closely - they're like twins when it comes to the media.
In fact, Dublin is still like the England one glimpses endearingly in old storybooks, the kind of buildings, shops and culture that still stay untouched by the advances of time. Heritage works nicely with modernity.
I have just been to a lunchtime poetry reading. Chapters Bookstore on Parnell Street has organised a series of festive poetry readings for the Christmas season. I've missed a good few but it was nice to settle at the back of the shop, and in between shelves on chairs, neatly laid out in a semi-circle.

Today, featured published Irish poetess, Catherine Ann Cullen who really drew me in with her reading. She's quite well known in Ireland and her performance - reading&dialogue - were spontanous. I loved it that she made her poems for us so personal reading from her book and also new pieces on paper and each one had a family story - perhaps of her husband, her daughter, her mother-in-law and even one of a favourite rosemary tree out in the garden.
If you'e not yet famed or made your name, it is better I've found to read in front of strangers and not always people who know you because if strangers give you a hearty applause, that's the best test for your work really.
However, Cullen who has published A Bone in My Throat (12 euros) with Doghouse, doesn't need any introduction and it was wonderful to see her family and friends come out to listen to her read. It promoted an intimate feeling of togetherness...such is the valuable tool of poetry.
It is afternoon and tea-time. A friend is coming to meet me in the city so I have to go.

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