16 June 2008

Two Pints

"Hold to the now, the here, 
through which all future plunges to the past."
- James Joyce, "Ulysses" (1922)

We had the weekend off from studying at La Sorbonne so I decided, spur-of-the-moment, to make a much needed solo voyage. I filled a small backpack, pulled out the credit card, and bought a round trip ticket from Paris to Dublin on Aer Lingus. I was soon on the way to Ireland, the land of my grandmother. On arrival I made my way to the south bank of the River Liffey, to the Temple Bar neighborhood. I checked into a somewhat seedy hostel and proceeded to sample as many pints of true Guinness from not only the St. James's Gate Brewery, but also from as many pubs as were within walking distance. I proclaimed them all to be superb, and found 
that a wee nip of Jameson was the perfect accompaniment 
to a "pint o' the black." 

The next morning, after a quick breakfast of coffee and Advil, I caught an early train headed west. After some hours and a bit of a nap, I found myself all the way across the country in the City of Galway, sister city to my beloved Seattle. Nestled up against the River Corrib and Galway Bay, the city is beautiful and vibrant and known as Ireland's Cultural Heart. 

Once again I found an economical hostel, this time a dorm-style room with six bunk beds. My roommates were all fine Irish lads and lasses, who upon learning my first name welcomed me as a long lost brother and quickly shortened it to "Kev." During another evening of pub roaming, I found myself saddled with a new nickname: Two Pints
As the lines at the bars were all quite long, I had taken to ordering two pints of Guinness at a time. That way I could drink the first while becoming further acquainted with my roomies, and the second I could nurse as I stood in the long lines awaiting a refill. An old trick we had perfected in my college days. Prevents one from running dry and the frightening possibility of becoming parched. They proclaimed it genius, and the moniker was given. Sláinte! (Cheers!)
SIDENOTE: Today, June 16th, is Bloomsday (Lá Bhloom), celebrated in Dublin (and elsewhere) to commemorate the life and work of the great Irish writer James Joyce, and especially his magnum opus "Ulysses," whose protagonist is named Leopold Bloom.
KJT - Galway & Dublin, Ireland (2000)

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