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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Saturday 9 February 2008

A lovely spring day this Saturday in Dublin. All of fresh, clean air with no pollution. Clear blue skies. Golden sunshine mixed with the classic chill and absolutely no humidity. No wonder, Dubliners cheered on a party in the carnival-like atmosphere that bustled about downtown all of today.
I woke up late, caught some telly, made what I presumed to be a healthy breakfast, dressed and went along to my favourite bookshops and cafes. All the time, the brilliant sunshine streaming in through the windows had busied itself, urging me to come out and play so off I went.
I felt so light-hearted I may have been walking on air.
I picked up the Saturday papers with their weekend reviews except that there are one too many publications and I often feel spoilt for choice. I settled for The Times.
I also grabbed the latest Vanity Fair magazine with its glossy Hollywood edition. It's only just out.
I bought a few British classics, went shopping for dinner and got a call from D who was already in town. We arranged to meet on Jarvis Street. D, an Irish poet, lives just upstairs from my flat. We went to an Italian cafe, next to the Liffey river, sat ourselves at a sidewalk table, close to many happy people, - yes, all laughing and talking nineteen to the dozen they were - and I had myself some long awaited wine. As is often the case, I smiled at everybody. Then after a time, we crossed the Ha'Penny bridge over to Temple Bar where in the long cool evening, people stood fashionably just about everywhere, languishing in the splendid weather.
Right in the middle of the Square, we happened on a book sale that appeared to be in full swing. In the fading twilight, obscure books and untitled paintings lay scattered about on hastily-arranged tables. Such is the spirit of Dublin, Ireland as I've already mentioned with its overwhelming love for various literature that books are evident everywhere. Still, it's a modest city and never showy, that you may be cajoled to tasting its poetic charms for yourself.
As we chose more reads, diners had filled the cafe tables roundabout to listen to the sound of loud African drums thanks to a few clever musicians playacting buskers.
I regaled shyly in the party mood that the intoxicating atmosphere had conjured up.
Des picked up 2 paperbacks; one on the poetry of WH Auden and the other featuring British contemporary works. I settled for a fascinating collection of non-fictional essays bundled up into a very old dog-eared book titled The Modern Approach to Psychology in the Western Mind. It talks of the workings of the human psyche in great detail, starting from the time of the Greeks.
We then walked on to this lovely pub called The Palace Bar made up of 2 levels that demonstrate the venue's rich literary history. It's situated on Fleet Street, had been in operation for several years and was often a second home to famous Irish journalists and writers during the pre-war and post-war periods.
Here was where they met for that necessary camaraderie over a regular pint or 2.
Last September, also saw the celebration of the annual Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Festival. The late Kavanagh was one of Ireland's most famous, rebellious poets.
But back to the pub.
Carefully-framed b/w photographs of such jolly meetings and intimate chatter by these old-world journalists hang everywhere on the walls. A large pencil sketch of a Samuel Beckett portrait resembles a steely gaze complete with dagger looks.
The tall ceiling is circled by old-fashioned stained glass windows and I began to steadfastly admire the polished mahogany wood panelling that shaped the rest of the decor. More wine for me and another 2 generous pints for D before we strolled back out into the cold night air. The pub featured interesting and sometimes eccentric customers as well...you knew somehow that the patrons had all lived colourful lives up to now. Upstairs, a party of young Italians made a deafening noise.
Far from wearing a frown, their voices stayed music to my ears! :-)