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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Living in Dublin

Written by Rudi Rauschenbach
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I stand in my room briefly, thinking if I need anything else.  Keys.  Phone.  Wallet.  I place them in my purse, put on my scarf and jacket.  I tousle my hair quickly and leave the apartment.  The crisp Irish air welcomes me as I open the door.  I am currently a resident of Shanowen Square Apartments in the district of Santry in the city of Dublin.  I make my way to the bus stop and await bus number 9.

The Costa Coffee right by Trinity College, he had said. 

I think I know where that is, don’t I? Trinity College.  Of course I know where that is; Trinity is, after all, only one of the most famous colleges as well as Ireland’s oldest university.  I look nervously at the bus routes, trying to understand the winding and weaving of streets that look like a piece of textile cloth, no start and no end.  As I convince myself of the correct route, I hear the bus approach.  I turn around, take a deep breath and hop on the bus.

What is it about Ireland?  Is it the green Cliffs of Moher?  The pint of Guinness? The unmistakable accents? I myself am still asking these questions, yet not really intent on finding a concrete answer.

      “Trinity College, please,” I say to the bus driver and put in the allotted amount of coins.  The driver’s hair is graying slightly.  I notice on his left hand ring finger is a silver Claddagh ring, a traditional Irish ring representing love, loyalty and friendship.  I remember having heard that some Irish married couples use this as their wedding ring.  The ring has a heart, signifying love, a crown above the heart, standing for loyalty, and the hands holding the heart, signifying friendship.  He smiles at me, hits a few buttons and waves me through.

      I take a seat towards the back and look out the window.  The morning fog still has much of its hold on the day with only small rays of sun occasionally peeking through.  Since I arrived in September, the weather has been mostly moderate with not as much rain as everyone warned me about.  No matter how many times I have taken the bus before, I am still engrossed with the scenery and the architecture.

      Dublin is the capital as well as the most populous city in Ireland.  The name Dublin comes from the Irish name Dubhlinn, which means, “black pool.”  The city of Dublin is near the midpoint of Ireland’s east coast and right at the mouth of the River Liffey.  


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      In my vision, I see a pizza place for “take-away” (notice, not “to-go”) called Mizzoni Pizza.  The pizza joint claims that they are “Probably the best!”  Not actually, but probably.  Whoever came up with that vague slogan is certainly due for a raise.

      I look around the bus; in the very back, there is a group of three of four pre-teen girls who must be playing a game where the point is to see who can be the most obnoxious.  To my left is a young man with headphones in, succeeding in tuning out the world while the rest of us merely try.  I smile to myself and realize that we are almost near O’Connell Street.

      O’Connell Street is one of Dublin’s main passageways.  The street is named after the Irish leader, Daniel O’Connell.  He is often referred to as “The Emancipator” or “The Liberator” who campaigned for the Irish Catholic Emancipation during the first half of the 19th century.  There is also a statue of him on his street as well.  

      The famous street has many other statues and monuments, including the General Post Office, which is one of Ireland’s most famous buildings and remains a symbol of Irish nationalism.  During the 1916 Easter Rising it was the unofficial headquarters of the uprising leaders fighting for Irish nationalism.  Ahead, there is The Spire of Dublin.  The Spire is the world’s tallest sculpture at 121.2 meters or 398 feet.  It is a stainless steel, needle-like structure that incidentally has become more of a joke amongst Dubliners, gaining various inappropriate nicknames.

      Approaching my destination, I press the red button near me, indicating my desired stop.  I make my way to the front of the bus and step out.  A wave of nerves begins to break at my feet and make its way throughout my body.  My absolute favorite thing about the city of Dublin is the Dubliners.  Walking through the crowded streets becomes a fun pastime and the best way to people watch.

      There is a live band to my right playing the song “Little Lion Man” by the popular UK band, Mumford & Sons.  There are people stopped and listening like time has simply stopped for the music.  Some just throw a few euro coins as they hustle to work or other engagements.  Ahead of me, there is a group of Irish firemen holding calendars for 2013.  When I pass them, I steal a quick glance at the muscular Irishman emblazoned on the cover.  Seeing my look, one of the firemen calls to me. 

      “It’s for a good cause! Only ten euro!”


 

      I blush, say my no-thank-you and keep walking.

      Well, it is for charity… I think to myself and smile; perhaps on the way back I’ll do my good deed for the day.

      As I approach Costa Coffee, I pull out my phone and see a text from him.

      Be there in 5 min!

      I stand outside the front of the coffee shop and begin to idly play with my phone, wondering if I should go in.  I never could quite figure out the protocol for these types of things; do I go in a save a table? Do I order? Do I wait so we can order together?  With these questions still flooding my mind, I see him from across the street.  He has dark hair, blue eyes, and looks devastatingly Irish.  Once I see him crossing, I realize I will have to question nothing more.

      

©Rudi Rauschenbach

      

 

 

      

 

Last modified on Saturday, 09 November 2013