I arose from my slumber, early yestermorn, and I repaired to the balcony where I had a mug of tea. Followed by another. And then another. Afterwards I though an extra mug of tea was probably advisable, so I arranged that.
At a certain point I realised that it was Saturday and that I should probably venture out, rather than fester the whole day at home. I made a split second decision that I was going to the seaside.
Dublin is a coastal town and apparently has some lovely beaches. Last Sunday I had been to Howth so today I’d venture south, to Dun Laoghaire – a town that is very vocal in its declarations that it’s not Dublin, when of course it actually is. I think it’s a certain sense of snobbery that its residents possess.
Well I got to Connolly Station and strolling along I glanced down to check the shoelace situation. Someone walked by with hot pink nail-varnished toes, open-toed slingback stiletto sandals and crushed velvet crimson trousers. I looked up. Now I have no ideas who this person is, or what their preferred gender pronouns are. However they were sporting a big manly beard and a hairy chest. And the most adorable clutch handbag. I salute them for their brave fashion choices.
The train was cancelled because of track works so I decided that the best way to get to Dun Laoghaire was by tram. Now the fact that the tram to Dun Laoghaire hasn’t run since 1955 didn’t even enter my mind. It was a case of mind over matter. I wanted to go the beach so of course the tram would go there. As the tram trundled along it slowly dawned on me that if I stayed on board I was going to end up in dullest, leafiest suburbia. So at the next stop – Dundrum – I jumped off.
It was at this point that I finally consulted the internet. Bus 75 was my bus of choice and soon I was on my way again. I spotted the sea in the distance as we approached. Oh how glorious – the beach on a hot summer’s day. As I climbed down from the bus I sniffed. I could smell the sea. But there was a tang of something else – I could smell the Protestant from the place.
Now just to clarify what I mean by that statement – so people don’t think I am some sectarian religious bigot. Dun Laoghaire used to be called Kingstown before independence and it was the town where the empire’s civil service and dignitaries resided. It was a predominantly English town and was a very well-to-do place with plenty of money. As a result it is built in a very colonial, English style – the town reminded me of Brighton with its majestic, fading glamour. The architecture was very colonial. Coming from a country that was colonised and which has faced religious strife for centuries, with the coloniser adhering to different religious beliefs than most of the natives, I suppose that I mean ‘English’ when I say Protestant.
I loved it instantly – I’d love to live in a big old house in Brighton, but seeing as that’s unlikely to happen , maybe Dun Laoghaire could be an alternative. It was clear how English the town was with memorial statues to Royal brigadiers and Queen Vicky and various other luminaries from empire times.
Dun Laoghaire harbour rests between two massive piers – the east and west pier. I decided to to the East Pier walk, stopping for fish and chips at the Fish Shack before setting off. Now the Fish Shack is a caravan, so the name didn’t cause too much offense. It was only after I paid for my food did I see what was written below the name – ‘The Fish Shack – the Street Food Revolution’. It’s a good thing I was so hungry and had already paid. Fish and chips from a caravan is many things but a street food revolution, it most certainly isn’t. Although the sour faced Polish woman serving the revolution (with salt and vinegar on the side) didn’t seem to care. It was most tasty.
The walk on the pier was lovely – the whole country seemed to have had the same idea as me this Saturday afternoon. I walked until pier end and bought a 99 – your only man for such circumstances. A very enjoyable afternoon.
After rehearsal today I met a friend for some summer ciders in Oscars in Smithfield on their terrace. Deeply and desperately refreshing. I knew the slim, ginger guy sitting at the table in front of me. But for the life of me I couldn’t remember from where. Did he work in my local supermarket? Had I been to some acting class with him? Is he a former colleague.
I turned to my friend and said ‘Don’t look now but I know the guy behind you to your left.’With admirable discretion he did a quick 1-2 glance over his shoulder.
‘Oh that’s Domhnall Gleeson.’
Internationally renowned star of stage and screen Domhnall Gleeson no less. He’s in ‘Brooklyn’ and ‘Unbroken’ and ‘The Revenant’. He’s also in ‘Star Wars’ – but I’ll never see that so who cares. He seemed so much smaller in real life – natural I suppose. Every time I saw him previously he was twenty foot tall on a cinema screen. I had been convinced that I knew him.
After we finished our cider I went to the gents room to take care of business. I stared at the wall in front of me as I was doing my duty, and didn’t look at the guy who had just come in to run the same bathroom errand. I finished, zipped and went to wash my hands. From the corner of my eye I spotted the ginger head of hair of my wee neighbour. Who was it only internationally acclaimed luminary of stage and screen Domhnall Gleeson.
Thank Dolly I hadn’t noticed who it was as that would have definitely resulted in a case of stage fright.