Tuesday, 14 September 2010


Spent the weekend away from BB. In St Stephen’s Park, Dublin, there is a bust of a hero of the 1916 Easter rising, Constance Markiewicz. Her revolutionary act was to shoot a postman who refused to surrender his bike to them, and then order the digging of trenches in the park – the road being too hard for that sort of thing. Her fellow rebels, now entrenched and primed for burial, were easily picked off by gunmen in the nearby buildings.

O’Connell Street
is home to more heroes. Trade Unionist Jim Larkin seems a worthier cause. His stirring words are inscribed on the plinth.  The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise”.  Jim’s statue towers above us, though we don’t kneel. Rarely has a man’s words been so undermined by his monument.

Further down is a towering steel needle, which replaced a replica of Nelson’s Column that was blown up by the IRA. I can sympathise with that one. “But they replaced it with a monument to nothing,” says my Irish friend.

Nothing seems to be an appropriate god given the state of the Irish economy. Like everyone else, they’ve spent the past 15 years treating themselves to frappucinos and the rest of it while their banks and politicians have been a little more extravagant. Ireland’s huge bank and property bail-out is being touted as the latest iceberg ahead of the good ship Euro.
The only statues that go up in England these days are of well-loved comedians in seaside towns. We have Max Miller here in Brighton. Morecambe has Eric. No-one will be blowing them up any time soon.

Heading back south of the river, we pass a street vendor. It is Pat Ingoldsby, former Irish children’s TV presenter, newspaper columnist and poet - except he can’t get a publisher these days, so he sells his books in person. He reads us poems he wrote today in a notebook. I laugh at one of his titles:

A poem about trainee hard men from posh upper middle class families who put on phony Dublin working class accents and pray that they won’t meet their sister while they are out with their mates because if she speaks to him in the way that the family usually speaks his cover will be blown.

The pub is adorned with photos of Beckett, Kavanagh, Joyce, etc. Some of them drank here once. Pat Ingoldsby strolls in with his shopping trolley of books and sips a Guinness in the corner. “When he’s gone, they’ll have t-shirts with him on too,” says my friend.

1 comment:

  1. Please please please get your facts right. Pat Ingoldsby publishes his own books because he wants to. As for the Guiness in the pub, Pat doesn't drink alcohol. Read his beautiful poems and you'll understand the man better.