An Irishman's Diary
Things I love about Dublin:
1. The boardwalk.
2. The view westwards along the Liffey at sunset.
3. The bike scheme.
4. Walking through Trinity’s front square at night.
5. Church bells ringing on a Sunday morning.
6. Kilmainham Gaol.
7. There being a Hilton Hotel across the road from Kilmainham Gaol.
8. Architecture with a sense of humour.
9. Raglan Road on an autumn day.
10. The canyon-like street that runs through Guinness’s Brewery.
11. The walled garden of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.
12. Italianate grandeur and the poetry-inscribed gravestone of a horse.
13. Walking through the Liberties and suddenly smelling horse manure from a yard.
14. Kids play hurling against the walls of Guinness’s.
15. Extensive use of the nation’s favourite adjective in place-names. Even one of the canals in Dublin is Grand. It has a Grand Parade running alongside it. And there’s a hotel in Malahide that’s Grand too.
16. The Beckett Bridge.
17. Most of the other bridges.
18. Fawning season in Phoenix Park.
19. Signs warning about “fawning season”, while foreign dignitaries are being entertained at Farmleigh and Áras an Uachtaráin.
20. Environmental management with a sense of humour.
21. That circular railing around the Central Bank. Yes, it’s ugly, but it’s always reassuring to see money ring-fenced.
22. The first smell of burgers when you approach Lans-downe Road on match day.
23. Ditto the first smell of home-made ham sandwiches near Croke Park.
24. The pedestrian traffic light outside the Dáil. It always works.
25. The surprising and still growing number of people who clean up after their dogs.
26. Cobblestone streets (except when you’re on a bike).
28. Charles Stewart Parnell proclaiming that “no man has the right to fix the boundary to the march of a nation” just beside the fast-growing Chinatown.
29. Swans on the canal.
30. Barges on the canal, occasionally.
31. The Chester Beatty Library and that Celtic snake thing in the garden outside that children love running around.
32. The politeness of Dublin gurriers who, even while indulging in gratuitous verbal abuse, call you “mister”.
33. Georgian doors.
34. Harry Clarkian windows.
35. Merchant’s Arch.
36. The arch that crosses the road at Christchurch.
37. People in shirtsleeves outside pubs and cafes every time the air temperature climbs above 10 degrees celsius.
38. A crowd of several hundred drinking outside the Barge pub in Portobello on a summer’s evening.
39. Rivers that sound like characters, or oul’ fellas, or both: The Camac. The Poddle. The Dodder.