Thursday, January 04, 2007

Dublin Top Five (Good)

Top Five Things I Loved about Dublin:

5. Irish breakfasts (sans eggs and black and white pudding). I guess when you take out 3 out of the 7 ingredients for a traditional Irish breakfast, it ceases to be an Irish breakfast, but I love it anyway. Irish bacon is bacon the way it was meant to be. Mmm, mmm good. And who knew that beans and toast were so damn good together?

4. Luas stops announced in Gaelic. I'm certain that the automated voice on the Luas (the newest lightrail system operating from city center and outward towards Dubin's suburbs) is the same voice from my French language tapes in college. Whenever a stop was announced, it was in both English and Gaelic. Every morning and evening was like a language lesson. Ard Mhusaeum was my favorite. Then there was An Drighead Orga. Ospideal San Seamus.

3. 'Priced to Clear' at Tesco. This is way ghetto, but we totally went food shopping at the 24-hour Tesco (3 blocks from my sister's apartment) every night with the sole pupose of raiding the reduced section of 'Priced to Clear' food. Innocent smoothies, brie cheese and cranberry tartlets, turkey and Denny chicken cold cuts, and mini pizzas galore for at least 50% off! The only downside is that most of the food expires in about 36 hours, but hell, that's good enough for me! If I lived in Dublin, I'd be at Tesco every night planning tomorrow's meals. (God knows I probably wouldn't be making any more money over there than I am over here.)

2. Boxing Day Sales. Everyone made it sound like Boxing Day Sales were going to be mad as hell, but Black Friday in America is much more vicious. I was mentally prepared to punch a girl over a pretty bag that was marked 75% off, but it turns out that the gloves were unnecessary. I love shopping over there in general because they have way swankier digs.

1. The Frames. Happiness! Sheer happiness! The Frames rocked the house down on New Year's Eve and our tickets were worth every inflated Euro I paid for them on eBay! AND we got a bonus Damien Rice singing Cheers Darlin', since Damien just happened to be at the show that night. I'm told they've been performing a New Year's show at Vicar St. for a few years now and it's become a sort of tradition. If I had the money, I'd celebrate New Year's with the Frames every year.

It goes without saying that the ultimate, beyond #1 thing on this list was being able to spend my very first Christmas together with my better half (and we've been together now for over 7 years!). Being with him and my sister for Christmas and New Year's was the best of both worlds.

I realize that this list doesn't include things like the Literary Pub Crawl, visiting any museums, anything related to James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, or Jonathan Swift, traveling to the countryside, or anything else that is traditionally associated with "culture," but like the namesake, this is where lowbrow is highbrow.

Nowadays I'm more fascinated by partaking in the 'Priced to Clear' section at Tesco than kissing the Blarney stone, because one is part of the quotidienne that is indicative of a larger narrative being written in Irish culture today. Read anything about Dublin and you'll learn about how it's the fastest growing European city per capita and is quickly becoming more fashionable, more posh, and more financed. Businesses are pouring money into the city and the once lower middle class society is moving in an upward swing with more higher paid jobs and an inflated economy. Outside of this sweeping picture of the new, shiny Dublin is the one of the people on the outskirts that have been left behind by all this growth. These people are at Tesco every night rifling through the reduced food sections because this is the food that fits their budget. One could say that it's reminiscent of the narrative being written in China today.

At any rate, these days I feel like I'm experiencing a culture more at Tesco than I am on a tour bus. (and wishing that I were more like Steven Johnson, than myself.)

1 comment:

moonrat said...

you said you were going to post a suggestion!!

and amen! for things marked down at tescos. let me tell you i think people are WAY touchy about expiration dates.