A day in Dublin

Yesterday I went to Dublin … something I do too rarely these days. It was a lovely day … we always said that Dublin looks good in the sunshine. If I’d had a camera I could have taken some nice shots, particularly of the small Huguenot cemetery in Merrion Row, which was a riot of bluebells.

I went to Toner’s pub in Baggot Street … it hasn’t changed in the 25 or so years since I used to frequent it, though the ownership has. I looked around and thought about my friends from those days coming smiling through the door … especially one friend who is no longer with us.

Toner’s is said to be the only pub that W. B. Yeats (an untypical Irishman in some respects) ever visited. Legend has it that he sipped a sherry, then said to the friend who had brought him, ‘Now I have seen a pub … can we leave please?’

I went to the launch in the Department of Foreign Affairs, St Stephen’s Green, of a book I had edited. The launch was by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, in the impressive setting of a ballroom built for the visit of the Prince of Wales in the 1890s, and in the audience were various dignitaries including two former Taoisigh (Prime Ministers).

The book is called Ireland at the United Nations: Memories of the Early Years. The author is Noel Dorr, a former President of the UN Security Council, and Irish Ambassador to the UN and the UK at various times.

Noel is an extremely nice, friendly man. In his speech he thanked me for the help and encouragement I’d given him, and said that although we had just met, he felt that he knew me through all the emails we’d exchanged. Earlier in the week he sent me, as a gift, a boxed set of DVDs of BBC productions of all 37 Shakespeare plays.

To cap a felicitous day, when I arrived at the bus station the last Cavan bus was pulling out, but I managed to persuade the driver, through pleading gestures, to let me on. He gave me a stern lecture about how they’re really not supposed to do that, but it was worth it. I clapped him on the shoulder and forgave him.

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11 Comments

Filed under The music of what happened

11 responses to “A day in Dublin

  1. nobby

    Looks like a great pub Brendan. Not one I have been to but that is unlikely since I have only spent a day in Dublin and most of that in just one pub with a few friends.

    I have always assumed I would return if not only for one of the best beers in the world but, stangely, never have.

  2. Rubbing shoulders with the best, Brendano?, well done. 🙂

  3. Hi Nobby … good to see you here. Toner’s is small and hasn’t had a lick of paint in many years … i.e. it has plenty of ‘character’. 🙂

    It’s one of the few original Victorian pubs remaining in Dublin … many were renovated and updated. On rugby international weekends it used to be packed to the rafters with singing revellers … quite an experience.

    I would say I have drunk more beer there than in any other pub.

  4. Hello ixxviilvi … I assume I know you from somewhere? I see you’re in Australia.

  5. Of Course, sun, surf and girls in bikinis, this is my real ID, my serious one. This time I set up a blog site instead of just a comment ID, should have it ready soon. Chose not to post it yet, don’t want to steal your thunder.

  6. Don’t worry about my thunder, ixx. This is just a personal blog.

  7. Nice post Brendan.
    Glad the bus driver let you on.
    I’ve not been back to Dublin for a few years now.

  8. Thanks, Isobel. There’s a good buzz around Dublin despite all the economic doom and gloom. One can get too much of rural seclusion, nice though it is. 🙂

  9. Glad you liked it, Cymbeline. There’s something very Irish about doing something and then explaining why you weren’t allowed to. It would have been unIrish for him not to let me on.

  10. claire2

    Hey Brendano! Good blog – you sound very important in your job!
    Love the anecdotes about Yeats and the pub. I think it’s almost obligatory for such a poet not to fall into type.
    That said, that pub sounds like loads of the old pubs in Liverpool. They’re usually in scruffy down and out Godforsaken places – Bootle, or Kirkdale – named after liners or some shipping connection; they look like mouldy slices of decaying cake and when you get inside, the regulars are usually sliding up the walls…
    I see MyT has gone down so I guess I won’t be seeing you over there any more. Shame.

  11. Hi Claire … how’s it going? I think Kate said that MyT would be down for a few days … I wonder whether there’ll be major changes if and when it comes back.

    I’ve been in plenty of pubs like the ones you describe. Toner’s had a mixed clientele back then … engineering students, office workers … all types, really. It was almost a home from home. They used to have rock gigs in the tiny basement, which must have been a terrible fire hazard.

    I’m not at all important in my job … I mostly work on psychology books and journals … but this particular author seemed to take a liking to me. We worked together closely over a period of a few months, and I did try to be helpful. He would be a real bete noire on MyT, as he helped to write some of the EU treaties. 🙂

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