Dingle panorama


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In summer, Dingle is a beehive of activity. Coach upon coach of tourists arrive, taking over the town and its 52 pubs. The only foreigners in Dingle this time of year were myself, an Italian travelling salesman showing his fine suits to a fisherman in the harbour and the Lithuanian girl cooking me breakfast in my B&B.

Wednesday morning 9 am, the marina and harbour were still, safe for the gulls screeching and the quiet conversation of fishermen tending their nets.

Most of the town folk probably weren’t aware of the two-week hustle and bustle surrounding St James Church on Main Street and the late night revelling in Brenners hotel opposite the church.

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Talent and crew stuck together in this microcosmos, welcoming the lone traveller from Amsterdam in their midst. Working, laughing, swearing, drinking agus ag caint, ag caint, ag caint.

Mrs Lynch’s Christmas pudding’s always the same

She makes her Christmas pudding in plastic containers, not like her mother, god rest her soul, who’d wrap the thing in cloth and let it hang and rock from her Singer sewing table.

Is the recipe secret? ‘No, I’ve got it on a piece of paper,’ she says, with serious intent. The same recipe for the last 30 years, involving carrots and sultanas and many other things. Whiskey, of course. Just a drop.

It isn’t ‘ripe’ yet, still a little soggy at the top, but Mrs Lynch tells the husband to serve us slices. ‘We’re out of cream,’ she says, despairing. But it tastes heavenly regardless. ‘You don’t have to eat it,’ she adds, almost incredulous we should eat her sticky black concoction. But we want to. Oh, we want to.

She stands on the porch as the husband drives us to the bus stop, in the freezing cold and forgets to wave, her mind already caught on other things. Like the neighbours’ daughter, who she used to mind, who now has a little wan herself. She’s in and out the door and regards Mrs Lynch’s front room her own. Didn’t they buy the DVD player when the little wagon said they should so she could player her Disney DVDs in it? They did.

We thank her for her kindness and the tea, fish and chips and buttered slices of bread, the biscuits and the cider and washing up when we said to leave it. But it’s no bother, didn’t the husband do the cooking?

So he did.

Dublin diary (I)

‘Howyeh luv? Wanna come down to da beach wid me, look for crabs?’

They walk too fast, the pusher and his customer in their scummy nylon shell suits. Always in a hurry going nowhere fast. Hollow cheeks, dead eyes.

Pieces of H in a brown paper bag change owner while they scurry past Christchurch cathedral. A tall black girl glides by, the dealer looks and makes his lewd remark.

Maybe he knows her, maybe he doesn’t. Maybe she sells, maybe she doesn’t.

Dealer and client continue down to the river, laughing, coughing up phlegm.

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet

Don’t get me wrong, the (Irish) country side is very pretty, but I really am a city girl. Dublin just puts a smile on my face. I feel much more at home here now that I was traipsing around sheep dung in the Gaeltacht. Though I did pick up a fetching Northern twang.

Dublin is about chance meetings and surprising conversation.

Yesterday, as I walked by the set of Breakfast on Pluto at the Ierne on Parnell Square, I saw two blokes that looked like gaffers outside on the doorstep. I thought, sure, I’ll walk up and ask if himself is around. As I approached and looked the one guy in the face I realised the ‘gaffer’ was none other than Neil Jordan himself.

I think I just about pulled off the ‘I have no idea who you are’ look on my face.

Later it was business as usual, old friends in the Library bar, talking about the ones that went before us and dissecting Hot Press with one of its writers. And me downing the vodka & tonics without getting a hint of a buzz.