Initially I thought my travelling companion had thrown his tartare sauce from his fish and chips up in the air and the breeze had sent it cascading across my sleeve, but when he looked befuddled and then started to uproariously laugh I knew I was in trouble. I’d been shat on by a monstrous gull.
The birds that owned the skies of Howth, a beautiful coastal town near Dublin, were the size of obscenely large flying Labradors and their shits packed a potent punch in terms of load and vile funk. The consistency of it made it look like they’d been eating mounds of sand. It was very grainy and incredibly hard to wipe off. The moist toilet tissue which I enlisted to help started to break up and worsen the stain. A ghostly white patch was left on my denim jacket arm. The true horror was yet to be discovered. I looked down and noticed the bowel based cluster bomb had hit my shoe, a light grey trainer. A great highlighter of perspiration and stubborn bird crap. My gaze started to nervously move up the outfit. It had hit trouser, t-shirt, even sock! This hellish beast had somehow hit every item of clothing with shitty shrapnel. They cackled as they hovered above me.
Other than this dignity and clothing destroying moment Howth provided the highlight of our two night stay. It had a rugged coastline (one cliff had a Corsa embedded into it), sheer drops, stacks that jutted out of the water like rocky hard on’s, vividly coloured heather, and quaint chocolate box style cottages with smoke bellowing from their slate grey chimneys. Standing on the rather dubious cliff top pathways, where boulders would slide past you, I looked out towards the vast sea. Water stretched all the way to the distant horizon. The sheer size of it provided a moment of reflection and I began to contemplate our existence. I thought how incredibly insignificant we are as individuals. If you look at the ocean as history and everything that’s gone before, as a single entity you don’t even amount to a turd smear on a strip of bog roll. Bobbing around in the waters of time not making much of an impact, just smelling a bit. Geniuses’ like Einstein could be floaters, they hang around for a while but eventually they disappear, if their ideas are worthwhile they may pop back up again (like a reckless floater will do from time to time, if this is the case snip it with fingers or use a plastic bag and a whisk) but they will eventually fade away, or to maintain this analogy will go round the u-bend.
Dublin itself is not too dissimilar to any major English city. Apart from I saw some blokes racing horses through a council estate and that Primark is called Pennies and they sell massive Irish flag glasses.
Places we visited included St Stephens Park which had the usual problems of a communal green area. Alcoholism, drug taking and in this case two ducks partaking in a vicious battle. The noble victor winning the right to rape a female. I once read that a Canadian mallard has a little brush at the end of his 9ft curly nob which sweeps away any encrusted jizzum which may have been left on his prospective mate’s vagina.
St Marsh’s library next to St Patrick’s Cathedral is a gem of a find. Shame it was such a bastard to locate, being as someone had shimmied up the lamppost and turned the sign in the opposite direction. Cathedrals on the whole are pretty amazing architecturally and it always makes me curse that they were built for religious reasons. Why couldn’t they be really nice banks or hospitals? You could do a liver transplant on an altar or a deposit on a plinth. Why build something so beautiful in celebration of something that doesn’t exist?
Stepping into Ireland’s first public library you’re met with the sound of creaking oak bookcases that house reams of dusty leather bound books. You weren’t allowed to take pictures of the haggard texts because the over enthusiastic guide claimed that if they were exposed to the flash of a camera they would simply ‘explode!’ The newly installed exhibition was showcasing (behind Perspex) the origins of medical science. It was a privilege to get a firsthand look at documents that charted a new age of enlightened thinking and understanding. It also featured early books on natural history and the illustrations must have been based on hazy, cabin fever riddled explorers accounts because a rhino appeared to have five horns, was wearing a Don Quixote suit of armor and had three bumholes (one of those may have admittedly been a fanny, I wouldn’t know). A genitalia laden basilisk the world has never encountered before, and is not ever likely to. Although I hear Chyna is planning a comeback.
We also visited the shamelessly touristic Jameson’s Distillery. Which isn’t even a distillery, just a mock up. After paying the heinous entrance fee you fall privy to a vile little presentation about how and when the whisky was made featuring actors who once starred as nonce’s in The Bill and unconvincing burns victims in Doctors, ‘Ow, it really hurts!’. Inside the ‘re-imagined’ distillery, the guide disturbingly referred to the museum mannequins as her friends, ‘My good old chum Tom there would carry the painfully heavy bag of wheat up the stairs.’ Unlike the dummies, I wasn’t a pal of the guide’s by the end of the tasting tour. I preferred the peaty Scotch malt as oppose to the smooth Irish whiskey. That really pissed her off. ‘Sorry we appear to have made a mistake on your tasting session certificate, we misheard your surname, we thought you said Gaybastard.’
As we wandered around the streets looking for a cheap beer, we noticed there was a lot of U2 ‘Tax dodgers’ graffiti spray painted across the city. I enjoyed seeing this criticism of the deluded Irish wannabe deity and his wanker band mates. ‘The Edge’, I wish he’d fall off it.
We eventually found a decently priced pub and went about destroying the myth that Guinness tastes better in Ireland. It really doesn’t and anybody who says it does is a charlatan. No matter where you drink it, Birmingham or Belfast, it’s like consuming a hearty meal of lead and has the rich smoky taste of a 90’s working men’s club ashtray.
Our hostel was situated in the lively Temple Bar area. A dense collection of bars, clubs and restaurants. Christ knows why it was lively with the cheapest pint at 6 Euros. We were staying at the rather magnificent looking Oliver St.John Gogarty. The green painted building was decked from the floor to the roof in flags of the world. A red brick centre of cultural harmony. Our room was a ten bed dormitory, with only one key. So you had to get up no matter what time it was in the night to let in the early morning revelers. Such as a group of Mexicans who seemed to have no lights out etiquette. You’d wearily roll out of bed to let them in at 5am and then they’d burst in, returning like triumphant long lost explorers , conquistadors of the night and tell you tales of two euro beers and ‘sopping Slovak pussy’. I wish life was like a big hostel. All social boundaries come down and everyone wants to speak to you, even about easy Eastern European quims, it’s great.