Onwards to the Emerald Isle

Trip Start Apr 12, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, July 9, 2006

Back in the Amalfi Coast Rev, Brooks and i came across a hoard of hilarious Irish folk headed up by the imitable Big Kevin and 'Fookin Dornald. Not that we needed any real reminding, the Irish are always a great deal oo fun, great sense of humour, good times, always up for it. You gotta love the Irish, and you gotta love Ireland. I knew all this before i'd even arrived to the place. I was well ahead.

I woke up one morning a few weeks back in Prague (and unusual predicament on its own) and had a sudden burst of epiphany that i pack up my shite, go to London to pick up my long lost saxomophone, and hit up the wonderful Emerald Isle for a few weeks of musical frivolity, of frolicking about the green hills with a gut full of Guinness in search for that ever elusive pot o gold. So look out lepreachauns, mind yer potaters, the Camster was coming home to roost...

It was a profound sense of deja vu this morning when i arose at the foolish hour of 4am, revisiting the sleety early morning London streets just as the Reverand and i had done some months earlier prior to our flight to Bilbao, Spain. Thankfully, it was a largely painless excercise in getting myself up Chalk Farm road to Golders Greene station, for a connecting bus to Stansted Airport an hour away. Stansted was beginning to feel like a place i knew well, having arrived and departed from this location a number of times throughout the trip to date. The flight followed suit, a painless, easy hour long flight over land and waters to my first Irish port of call. Dublin.

I was informed by a number of...er....informants, over the trip, that Ireland was far from inexpensive, and Dublin itself was potentially on par with the expediture of London! Now, my cash situation is far from plentiful, but i figured i'd be absolutely raking it in with the smooth, alluring sounds that would surely emanate from my horn through the streets of Dublin, that expenditure was the least of my worries. Another painless connector bus took me to the 'Busaras' station 10 minutes trundle from the core of Dublin, and i made my way to the nearest reccomended hostel to check in for a couple of nights. The Abbey COurt hostel seemed pretty decent, if not a tad shady, so i dumped my bags and sax, and hit the streets for my first taste of Dublin town, and my first taste of a real Guinness.

Okay. I like Guinness at home. I drink it. It's good. But compared to Guinness from Dublin - real guinness, brewed some kilometres away at the Guinness factory itself, well i tells ya, folks, the stuff is absolute black gold. If i was a permanent resident of Ireland i would be a perpetually rotund boozehound, like one of those classic stereotypical Irish drunkards, singing Olde tunes through a few teeth, a mouldy scally cap on me head, and a flannel jacket that did nothing to keep in the girth that harbours me Guinness intake. This Guinness has a certain zest, a certain warmth. It buzzes the sides of your mouth and demands that you take another sip, so smooth and so much creamier than the brew back home with its subtle bitter aftertaste that usually fores you to stop at two. My God i was in heaven. With limited sleep from last night, i stopped at one for now and felt a bit schtonkered, though the International Bar was a top notch Irish Pub and a fine place to drink.

It was sensational to finally see Temple Bar, the crux of Dublin, the Old Quarter if you will, and the heart of Dublin's drinking spots and tourist area. Temple Bar is notorious for being the place to 'go off', and street cleaners come in droves nightly in order to wach clear the bottle tops, smashed glass and Guinness tinted vomit that strafes the beleaguered cobble-bricked streets. One of my favourite Paul Kelly songs 'Every F*$%in City' has a vivid line in it, '...foolishly i followed you to Dublin....like a ghost i walked the streets of Temple Bar....all the young things puking up their Guinness, and once i thought i saw you from afar'. I always had this haunted, spirited image of what the Temple Bar area must be like, and and it was a treat to be able to see it in real life. Less of a treat to actually see these young things munting up their Guinness all over the shop, which certainly is no myth, and does occur. Funnily enough Kelly is playing a solo show here on the 28th, but i doubt i'll get back to see him.

Back over the River Liffey, sectioning off Dublin into two main north and south o' the river districts, i checked in to the hostel around 2.30pm and had a Guinness induced nap. Woke up in the late afternoon, got acquainted with the hostel areas, made meself some tucker for dinner, then, remembering it was the final of the World Cup tonight, hit the town to watch the match.

Supped another glorious few rounds of this magical Guinness at a bar named Fitzgeralds, and enjoyed the match with a stout affected head. Here's one of a few notes i wrote during the match:
"Italian mob just erupted apeshit when Zidane copped the red card. Helluva headbutt, and trademark Vaffanculos all round".
Personally, this years World Cup has allowed me to finally understand the aesthetics of soccer. I used to play the game back in high school during the many lunchtimes of year 11 and 12 (i used the word 'play' extremely loosely here), though the extent of my capabilities was in the offshot game 'roost', which consisted of skillfully booting the life out of the ball into the air and hopefully having it land on the head of some poor bugger roaming the field, causing great humour to all but the victim. But now i get it, soccer is a great game, and i realise now that spanking the buggery out of the ball is not the be all and end all.

So the match was won by the Italians, and the streets of Dublin went absolute maniacal with chants of 'EEtalia! Eetalia!!', and people massed to the Temple Bar area to drink, scream, dance, get their gear off, and be merry. And some probably vomited up Guinness as well. There was this extremely intense energy that suddenly permeated through the whole city. i felt it, and i felt the Guinness, i was slave to both forces. So, energised and boozy, i pulled out my sax, and like the wandering minstrel, trundled up and down the people-lined streets of Temple Bar, wailing sax, joining in with soccer anthems and teaming up with various Italian mobs. One youthful inebriate came up to me and hugged me, telling me it was the best thing thats happened all night. Must have been French. Confident from my stint in Temple bar, i walked with sax in hand and the sax case on my back and had a go at busking in the darkened mall fo Grafton St. It must have been my night i reckon, because one of the first people to walk past muttered 'play Baker St'. Those who know me are well informed that Baker Street is in the top three of soulful dittys that i frequently pump out on the horn. This bloke was getting what he asked for. After impressing the pants of this gringo and his entourage, the money kept rolling in, as i took up the mantle of half-cut soulful nighttime saxman on the streets of Dublin. A couple canoodled together near me and i serenaded their special moment, earning a few quid from their moment of love. A trio of blokes came up and kept requesting abstract tunes, and whatever i was playing seemed to work for them. Another bloke who looked like he just rocked up from planet Mars chanted with wide eyes 'Amsterdam....Amsterdam...Amsterdam!'. I said i didnt know that one, and suggested that he keep moving, or indeed, return to his home planet. A hoard of Italian ladies rocked up and started singing some random Italian tune, and somehow i got a kiss out of it, despite my inability to perform with them. In roughly 1 hour, i pulled in a good 15 Euro, enough to cover my beers for the night. It was a highly successful first attempt at the busking gig, and felt that i'd come to the right place for it.

The Wandering minstrel pulled up his socks and put away his horn 'round mindnight...heading back to the Abbey Court Hostel on the north of the River Liffey.

Tommorow, the love affair with Guinness was set to to prosper - a visit to the Guinness Storehouse!
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