It’s become almost a tradition at this stage, that I walk across the river to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre at 2pm on a Saturday in the hope of getting a cheap seat for a Saturday matinee. Today however I was out luck. The theatre was in darkness. No show for me. Just as I was about to pirouette around and head home, I had a brainwave. I really ought to do something useful with my Saturday afternoon. So I decided to take a stroll along the Grand Canal.
I got moving. The view from my apartment window is where the other canal – the Royal Canal – ends. I have already been on a few wanders along its banks. Its rival southside canal is more of a mystery to me. I would rectify that.
A deeply pleasant walk it was too, as the canal meanders through some of Dublin’s more salubrious areas. I took a selfie with the statue of Patrick Kavanagh, and made a mental note to return during the summer to try some of the restaurants with terraces overlooking the water (although if the truth be told some of these places had the whiff of ‘eatery’ off them. If there is one establishment whose door I will never darken it is a restaurant that styles itself as an ‘eatery’. This is an irrational personal tic I know. So be it though.
I saw The Barge pub on my right – that’s a place I’ve heard people speak highly of. Now I know where it is. One day.
As I passed beneath the bridge of Harcourt Street tram stop (well I think it was that one – from my vantage point beneath the bridge I couldn’t say for certain) I decided not to be lazy and take a lift home. However as I had no idea where the canal would take me other than further away I decided that I’d rejoin the streets and check my location. I was on the Portobello Bridge. To my left was Rathmines, to my right it was town. I headed townward on Richmond Street.
So that’s where the Bernard Shaw pub is – another hostelry I have heard people talk about. Another time.
I walked up Camden Street, Aungier Street and South Great George’s Street. Outside the George Bar – the battleship of Ireland’s gay scene, and the oldest gay venue in the country – a young woman with a megaphone was encouraging people to come in for the Saturday market. It would have been rude not to. Inside the main bar – the nightclub section which I have not been to in many years, owing to the fact that I am too old for nightclubs, the stalls were laid out. I decided against making any purchase – I have enough candles (I have none) and badges, and prints. It was very pleasant nonetheless. I know where to go to buy my lesbian knitwear in future.
I passed through the seventh pit of hell (also known as Temple Bar) to the appealing sight of two extraordinarily drunk, rotund English gentleman, singing loudly while taking a lie down on the pavement while exposing their pendulous, tattooed bellies. It looked like they were enjoying themselves.
Crossing the Ha’Penny Bridge I stopped concentrating on my surroundings. This is my part of town – through which I pass on a daily basis. I take it for granted in a way.
Home again after my two hour circular loop through town.
All told a worthwhile way to spend a Saturday afternoon.