The alarm rang early this morning. I had plans made for today. I was joining some pals at the fleamarket in Dublin 8. It’s on Newmarket Square. Which has to be the most unoriginal name in history. Every town and village in every land has a place called Newmarket.
Who am I to judge though – this market is held on the last Sunday of every month. So I need to either put up, or shut up.
The trouble being, that today is Easter Sunday, and simultaneously the 100 year anniversary of the final Irish uprising against British rule, before actual independence.
In other words, town was busy.
And blocked off.
O’Connell Street was completely cut off to random passersby. It was an invitation only scene. Perhaps the city council was worried about a repeat perfomance of the 1916 shenanigans. A 2016 uprising against modern day inequality perhaps? The homeless people sleeping in doorways of city centre Dublin saying ‘Enough’ ?
I manoeuvred my way across the river onto Dame Street. There were loudspeakers, and massive crowds on College Green. While the Proclamation of the Republic was scrolled on the screen, the words were being broadcast on a loudspeaker by schoolchildren. The audience was completely silent. It was very eerie.
A problem presented itself. I was meeting my friend on the other side of Dame street. Said street was cordoned off for the soon to be passing, army band. I found a crossing point and made my across. Glancing to my left I saw the vast crowds lining the street. People are taking this very seriously.
I got the hell out of Dodge and met my friends, and went to the flea-market where I acquired two books for a fiver. Both books were on my ‘to read’ list so I felt a slight sense of smugness. The fact that in threee years time both books will likely still be sitting unread on my bookshelf is irrelevant.
The fleamarket is a strange place – some of the stalls clearly represent a garage clearout sale for a recently deceased person and therefore you get the sense that you are rummaging through someone else’s belongings. But if those belongings are interesting then why not acquire them? And why is it, that organic food shops run by well intentioned hippies, seem to emphasise what they have removed from the food (usually meat and dairy), as opposed to what you can make from their produce?
By lunchtime the market activities were over and I said goodbye to my friends. I started walking along the Luas line towards my house when I passed the Smithfield Market – former home of the horsefair, current home of the Lighthouse Cinema. Which is currently showing the movie ‘Michael Collins’. This is not a coincidence.
I saw this film 20 years ago on its initial release. Considering the weekend that is in it, now surely, would be a good time to revisit it.
It’s a wonderful film. It was recorded on actual film, as opposed to digitally, so it feels like a vintage film. Digital films are perfect quality. Films recorded on film reel are a bit more rough and ready.
Liam Neeson does not under-emote anywhere in the movie. Every word is a declaration. Julia Roberts’ Irish accent is massively better than I remember it from my initial and only previous viewing of this film. Alan Rickman was amazing. I still have feelings for Aidan Quinn. No change there then.
It was moving and strange. When I saw the film in 1996 I was a proud Limerick resident. During this viewing I was slightly distracted by all the places I recognised from living in the location where the film is set.
As I departed the cinema I received a text. From a friend who was currently lodged in a heavy metal bar. I joined him and had a pint.
To celebrate Irish freedom I had a pint of Guinness. Guinness is owned by an English company, in the year 2016.
Plus ça change