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Where the girls are so pretty.

Yeah, okay, first things first. Yes, Dublin has caved to the inevitable and has erected a statue of Molly Malone:

21.  Molly Malone

You would not believe how hard it was to get this shot. This statue is absolutely crawling with people who believe that it is the height of artistry and wit to have their picture taken while groping the statue's boobs. Perhaps I will one day write a short story about how the Molly Malone statue has finally had enough of being groped all the time by tourists and comes alive and goes on a smashing rampage through the city.

Anyway.


Like Chicago, Dublin divides itself into the North Side and the South Side, and both sides have clearly expressed identities and Views about the Other Side. These photos are from the North Side. The South Side will wait for another post.

The fancy part of the North Side is right on the river, where there's a big semi-pedestrian mall called O'Connell Street. It has the nice department stores, a few quirkyfancy restaurants, the Abbey Theatre is nearby, the Gate Theatre is right there. I got to see plays at both of these places, and I loved them. I saw a new play called Drum Belly at the Abbey, about Irish-American gangsters in 1969 New York, and at the Gate, I saw Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw, which is about prostitution. Both fabulous productions, and more similar to each other in theme and tone than you'd imagine. Anyway, O'Connell Street:

1.  O'Connell Street

The big spiky thing is . . . wait for it . . . the Spire of Dublin. It's a really tall, really thin spike, right in the middle of downtown. It's there essentially to be there, to look cool and modern and signal the re-gentrification of O'Connell Street.

2.  The Spire

Nearby struts another famous Dublin resident, James Joyce. I might have been more interested if I hadn't had to read Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man in high school, which was A) a difficult text for high-school kids, and B) the teacher didn't teach it all that well, which meant that all of us seventeen-year-olds struggled through a hard text that, as far as we could tell, was pretty much about the same sort of self-absorbed kid that all of us were, except that our teachers gave us shit when we wrote stream-of-consciousness ramblings, but they taught the same thing when it came from the pen of James Joyce, so I think we all kind of resented him for that. Sorry, James Joyce.

3.  James Joyce

Nearby is the General Post Office, which has a couple of features to recommend it. First of all, it's one of those big impressive fancy post offices that conveys the statement that sending mail is a noble and honorable thing. It really could be the setting for Pratchett's Going Postal, which is pretty cool. It's also notable for being pretty much the headquarters of the 1916 rebellion, and there's a little museum inside the Post Office that showcases stamps, postal services, and IRISH FREEDOM FIGHTERS. One of these things is not like the others.

4.  General Post Office

There's also the Customs House, which I'm told is very pretty in the light of the setting sun, except that it rained most of the time I was in Dublin, so I just enjoyed the Lion and the Unicorn fighting for the Crown (the Lion beat the Unicorn all around the town).

13.  Customs House

5.  Lion And Unicorn

This piece of public art was located outside an insurance agency. It has no historic or cultural significance beyond being really nifty.

6.  Insurance Statuary

Right at the north end of the O'Connell Street semi-pedestrian mall is a monument to Charles Stewart Parnell, godfather of Irish independence.

7.  Parnell Monument

Beyond that, and beyond the Gate Theatre, is a memorial garden in honor of the executed leaders of the 1916 uprising. It's a surprisingly lovely and well-designed little oasis of calm in the city, with some carefully considered symbolism (the statue is supposed to represent the Children of Lir) and plenty of spaces for contemplation. I think it's one of the better-designed memorial parks I've seen.

8.  Memorial Garden 1

9.  Memorial Garden Pool

10.  Children of Lir Statue

Despite the gloom, it was very much springtime in Dublin.

11.  Spring Tree

And finally, the lovely and graceful Ha'penny Bridge, that will take you to Temple Bar (haunt of drunken tourists in search of Guinness sold to them by Professional Irishpersons) and the delights of the South Side.

12.  Ha'penny Bridge

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
dawtheminstrel
Apr. 27th, 2013 03:40 pm (UTC)
Great pics, FP. Ireland certainly produced its share of literary giants in the early 20th century. There must have been something in the water.
frenchpony
Apr. 27th, 2013 04:53 pm (UTC)
There's a whole Writers' Museum devoted to them (separate from the James Joyce museum, I think) right near the memorial garden. There's an entry fee, so I didn't go in, because there's a free art gallery nearby. The art gallery was pretty cool, though, once you got through the (rather silly) special exhibit and into the main galleries.
dot_o_choillmor
Apr. 28th, 2013 11:06 am (UTC)
Oh gosh, look at that grey sky. Such a pity.

You got some great pics, though. And I've seen the crowds around Molly (known to locals as the tart with the cart) so I know that wasn't easy!

I'm thrilled you got to go to the Gate and the Abbey! Wow. I've never been to the Abbey but would love to.
frenchpony
Apr. 28th, 2013 12:42 pm (UTC)
Not only was Drum Belly a really neat play, but the Abbey decided to print the entire script in the program! So, yes, they weren't free (neither were the programs at the Gate, though, but they didn't give you the whole script for your money), but you did get an awful lot for the money. And you could wait until after the show to decide to buy it, so that was what I did. I decided that I liked the play, and now I have a copy of it.

I'd originally intended to go to the Abbey on Wednesday evening, but when I went to the box office on Tuesday to get the ticket, I was told that Wednesday was the official First Night, and they were sold out, but they still had a few seats for the last preview for Tuesday night. I had to go see a play at the Abbey, so Tuesday night it was. Then, as I was walking by the Gate, it struck me that I still didn't have any entertainment planned for Wednesday, so I stopped in at the box office on my way to the memorial garden and asked if they had any tickets for Wednesday night, and what was playing. Ten minutes later, I had tickets for the Gate in my hot little hands. I love it when things work out like that.
fafojoy
Apr. 29th, 2013 09:02 am (UTC)
The pics are great, FP. I am learning New things. I particularly liked that bridge in the last picture.
frenchpony
Apr. 29th, 2013 11:46 am (UTC)
The bridge was fantastic! I came upon it while going out for a drink with a colleague, a U of C alum who teaches at University College Dublin. We met at my hostel and then she took me to her favorite pub, and there was this little break in the rain, and the sun actually came out just at magic hour, and then we got to the bridge, and it was so totally a photo op moment. The funny thing is, I had to take the picture very quickly because we didn't have all that much time to get to the pub and back; she was taking a guest speaker out to dinner and I had the show at the Abbey, so our drink really did have to be quick, and photo ops couldn't last forever. So that bridge picture really was a lucky shot!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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