Visiting Dublin: A Brief Guide

The one place in the world where the Three Great Falsehoods remain strongly alive is Ireland and, especially the capital city, Dublin. These Three Great Falsehoods are this really is my last beer for today. The check is in the mail. OK, we’ll meet at half past eight. With intended irony, the Irish use these three comments to let you know they’re quite fond of alcohol occasionally, they can tell high tales with the best and they have little regard for punctuality.

If you are aware of the above, you’ll have no problem finding your way around Dublin. Dublin is a city best learned by walking, during which time you’ll no doubt explore one or two of the thousand-plus pubs where the three Great Falsehoods reign supreme. Dublin’s pubs are known for long, earnest discussions on the wonders of the world and the wonders of God.

Between pubs, you will find an amazing array of museums, churches, galleries, cathedrals and theaters. Rapid development in the 1990’s caused Dublin to awake from a sleepy city to one of the world’s loveliest metropolitan tourist destinations.

Dublin contains some of the sharpest, eye-pleasing photographs I’ve seen; Claudia and Ingo Latotzki show you pictures of Dublin that reveal its innermost soul; photos of ancient buildings, beautiful sculptures and modern scenes and people pull you into the town and tease you into being there. The text even advises you of the best time of day to be in a specific spot, the best time of year to visit and even lets you know when the last guest usually leaves a bar.

Local customs are exposed, such as ordering up two or three drinks at one time at “closing time” when no more alcohol is allowed sold. There is no law, however, prohibiting one from ordering up a few and slowly sipping while pursuing the three Great Falsehoods. Doors must be locked at the legal closing time and no one can come in. If you are already in, however, there is no law dictating how long you may stay.

There are many English-speaking writers from Ireland and they are appropriately remembered. There is a life-like sculpture of Poet Patrick Kavanagh, sitting on a bench and peering out across the water, just as he did in real life. From a distance, he appears to be truly still alive, although he died in 1967. With each photo in Dublin, there is an extremely informative mini-history. Under Kavanagh’s photo the text reveals that he once smeared his boots with cow-dung before entering Dublin so all would know he was a son of the soil.

The text goes on to tell us that Kavanagh once described, in one of his books, the act of masturbation. His publisher decided to delete it from the text. He acquiesced but when the book was out, he went into the bookstores and personally hand-wrote the missing passage, astounding and pleasing bookstore owners and buyers. A critic once called Kavanagh a second rate poet to which he replied that of course he was – all poets were second rate after Homer.

The Dublin Museum contains, along with a Kavanagh exhibit, exhibits of many other famous Irish writers. Ulysses, by Irishman James Joyce, is one of the best-known and loved novels in the world. In part of the novel, the hero Leopold Bloom wanders through Dublin on June 16, 1904. A small cult of Joyce worshippers regularly meet at Dun Laoghaire, a seaside location where they meet at one of Joyce’s hangouts, The Joyce Towers. Here, with tattered first and later editions of Ulysses, they read aloud and recite passages and go from pub to pub, much as Joyce did. It is, indeed, an enjoyable event!

Buildings by well-known architects are all over Dublin. Trinity College is here, designed by architects Keane and Sanderson, in the mid-1750’s. Various styles of architecture abound: neo-classical, Venetian, Queen Anne, Victorian façades, Romanesque façades and supporting photographs indicate a place of great beauty and strength in its buildings. There is a chronology giving Dublin’s progress into the cultural city it is today; a couple of maps showing points of interest and, always, references to the Three Great Falsehoods.
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