I arrived yesterday morning at 7:45 a.m. Irish time (that’s 2:45 our time), and to try to ward off jet lag, threw myself into a day full of getting to know Dublin.
If you’ve never travelled internationally, jet lag is the phenomenon where you travel to a different time zone, but your body’s still on home time. So when I arrived at 7:45 a.m. Irish time, my body still though I had a few more hours to sleep before I should have to get up and march around a new city. The thing is, though, if you arrive in a new time zone and don’t try to move with that time immediately, you’re likely to end up doing weird things like sleeping all day and staying up all night. So when we arrived at our hotel, we took a short nap, and then got up to walk around the city.
We ended up exploring Grafton Street, which is a posh pedestrian shopping avenue; taking a City Sightseeing bus tour around Dublin (one of the big, red, open-top buses; they aren’t just in London!); and doing a brief literary walking tour of the Grafton area. (If you’d like to see a map of the city, click here.)
Here’s what I loved most about day 1: the literature. Dublin has a campaign called One City, One Book, where the whole city reads the same book together. This year’s choice? James Joyce’s Dubliners, of course. (What better to read when you’re in Dublin?) But even more than that, the city is full of literary life. Every pub has pictures and quotes from famous authors who visited or wrote there; every tour guide is full of anecdotes of writers’ lives. Our evening literary tour guide had a great story about Oscar Wilde being a boxing champ in his youth… who knew? Even our taxi driver had read some Joyce! We talked about Ulysses, of all things, as he took us to our hotel in the morning. You’ve got to love a city where the taxi drivers and publicans are fluent in Joyce.
Today, Mr. Shifflett and I are off on two more walking tours, this time specific to James Joyce. The first is a Joyce Circular, to get a feel for important locations in the life of James Joyce. The second is called In the Footsteps of Leopold Bloom, which will make us more familiar with where the events of Ulysses take place. Both of these tours are with the James Joyce Centre, which is organizing all of the really
nerdy awesome stuff we’ll be doing for Bloomsday. Tonight, theater buffs, we’ll be seeing David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross at the Gate Theatre.
Next post: all about Ulysses, which I finally finished. Tonight (or your afternoon): updates on the walking tours and a play review.