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Phespirit goes to the Republic of Ireland
Dublin     November 2004

In 1912, James Joyce left Dublin. Feeling disowned and alienated from his own country, his self-imposed exile lasted until his death in Zürich twenty-nine years later ..... Now, fast forward to 2004 to find a Dublin that has become profoundly influenced by Joyce's literature and legacy. Ulysses aficionados follow in the fictional footsteps of Leopold Bloom on the eighteen stages of his Odyssean journey around the city. But when Phespirit went to Dublin he managed to create his own eighteen stage journey, spreading it across a leisurely three days instead of a single Bloomsday.

  1. Day the first - the city; art and religion.

    Arise from bed at the [1] Drury Court Hotel, take breakfast, then step into Lower Stephen Street; a circuitous walk via Grafton Street to [2] Dublin Castle for a quick peak in the Chapel; to the rear of the castle to visit the [3] Chester Beatty Library; through the castle grounds to Lord Edward Street for [4] Christ Church Cathedral; then down Nicholas Street to see [5] St. Patrick's Cathedral; back to the hotel for lunch, then away to Grafton Street, South Anne Street, Molesworth Street, Dawson Street, Nassau Street, and on to [6] The National Gallery of Ireland; after quality time in the gallery exit to [7] Merrion Square at dusk; finally on to [8] Upper O'Connell Street in the evening to sample fish & chips at Beshoff's Restaurant.

  2. Day the second - the river; parks and academia.

    In the early chill of Sunday, as the city sleeps off its Saturday night, a light morning frost of broken glass covers Grafton Street; walk to the [9] River Liffey; turn along George's Quay and across Matt Talbot Bridge to the moorings of the tall ship Jeanie Johnston, then back to Custom House, south over O'Connoll Bridge and west along to the [10] Ha'penny Bridge; back over to the north side then stroll along the river to [11] Phoenix Park for a wander around Europe's largest enclosed city park; back to the river, across Sean Heuston Bridge, and return along the south side to [12] Temple Bar for lunch; into [13] Trinity College to look at the Book of Kells and the old library; lastly a late walk around [14] St. Stephen's Green with an alfresco soundtrack provided by Ma Samba.

  3. Day the third - the sea; headlands and harbours.

    Start from Tara Street DART station near George's Quay for travels by train to outlying areas north and south of Dublin city centre; the northern end of the line is at the windy headland of [15] Howth, twenty five minutes from Tara Street; the southern end (an hour and twenty minutes from Howth) is at the town of [16] Greystones in County Wicklow; homeward bound, alight at [17] Sandycove and Glasthule to visit the 'James Joyce Tower' (the Martello tower from the opening chapter of Ulysses and now a James Joyce museum); from Pearse Street Station in Dublin turn down Westland Row, Kildare Street, Molesworth Street, South Anne Street and Anne's Lane to look at some low quality contemporary art in the fashionable but pointless [18] Kerlin Gallery.

For a brief historical interlude in the midst of all this roaming, Phespirit took a trip to County Meath to visit the Boyne Valley and the megalithic tomb at Newgrange, plus the ruined holy sites of Monasterboice and Mellifont Abbey, and to watch the sun set from a high vantage point on top of the Hill of Tara.

Phespirit did not like Ulysses when he first read it many moons ago but he likes its place in the world.

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