Tag Archives: rathmines

Marked Off – the book launch

Patricia O'Reilly & DC

Patricia O’Reilly & DC

Well, the book (Marked Off) launch was great fun, with author Patricia O’Reilly saying  some very kind words in her introduction – they were much appreciated. The atmosphere in The Bark Cafe (in Alan Hanna’s Bookshop)  was lively and the big turnout certainly enjoyed the event. I was really delighted how it went, and must say a big thanks to New Island for organising such a memorable night!

A busy Bark Cafe

A busy Bark Cafe

George, Marie, Phil & Millie

George, Marie, Phil & Millie

 

 

 

 

My favourite stack of books

My favourite stack of books

Jo & DC

Jo & DC

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, this is what all the fuss has been about!

THE book

THE book

 

 

 

 

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Birthday Boy

41 Brighton Square, Rathgar

41 Brighton Square, Rathgar

I pointed at the house and said to my friend Brendan ‘And this is where it all began,’ as we stood outside 41 Brighton Square, Rathgar. It was 2nd Feb, James Joyce’s birthday (b. 1882), and this was the first stop on our little tour, or odyssey, of houses that the great man had lived in before leaving permanently for Europe. Brendan was in town for a few days and was  looking forward to visiting the  places where Joyce once walked and used in his stories. And believe me, there are plenty of places to go to!

Joyce was only a year old when the family (of three) moved to a larger property at 23 Castlewood Avenue, in nearby Rathmines.  Three more of Joyce’s siblings were born here, including Stanislaus, who was to become his big ‘brother’s keeper’ and loyal supporter. Also, he often had to help James out financially, as the eldest sibling was very impecunious, a talent that he, no doubt, had inherited from his father.

23 Castlewood Avenue, Rathmines

23 Castlewood Avenue, Rathmines

1 Martello Terrace, Bray

1 Martello Terrace, Bray

Before he was six James and the growing family moved once more. This time they went to 1 Martello Terrace in Bray, County Wicklow. The house is right next to the sea, and provides uninterrupted views of the bay, the colourful  esplanade and Bray Head to the south. On the first floor, two adjoining rooms with their polished marble fireplaces and decorative ceiling is where the Christmas dinner scene in A Portait of the Artist as a Young Man takes place.

60 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge

60 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge

Visiting all Joyce’s houses is a labour of love and made easy and interesting if the ‘pilgrim’ carries a copy of Vivien Igoe’s book James Joyce’s Dublin Houses – which is also a great help in understanding the setting of many of his stories. Our last house was 60 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge which is only a stone’s throw from Lansdowne Road (AVIVA Stadium). Joyce rented a large upstairs  room in April 1904, just six months before he left Ireland. And it was from here, on 16th June 1904, that he got ready for his first date with Nora Barnacle, the love of his life and the muse in many of his stories; most famously as Molly Bloom in Ulysses. That day was so important to Joyce that he used it as the canvas on which he wrote his greatest work, a day that is now celebrated around the world as Bloomsday.

After all the touring about Brendan and I went to Mulligans pub on Poolbeg Street and downed a few cold drinks. By now it was no surprise to Brendan when I told him that the place, a Dublin treasure, featured in Counterparts, a story in Joyce’s most accessible book Dubliners.

‘He really did get around,’ said Brendan.

‘Yes, he sure did. And happy birthday, Jimmy.’

Mulligans, Poolbeg Street

Mulligans, Poolbeg Street

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Filed under Dublin, James Joyce

Write On!

The other night in Dubray Books, Rathmines, was a book-signing event with a difference. And what a difference! The management had arranged a Local Authors’ Night and invited writers who live in the area, and all were ‘interviewed’ by our host, the international bestselling author John Connolly.

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…and asking the questions..

The place was buzzing long before John began, and the complimentary glasses of wine loosened tongues adding to the excited anticipation. Should John Connolly ever decide to stop writing (something I, and many others, certainly hope is a long way off!) he could make it as an interviewer. He asked each of the authors about their work; how they came to write their books; what inspired them and what was ‘coming next’. This was all done in a friendly, easy style and his humourous comments were well-timed and much appreciated. A writer’s writer – top man!

Afterwards, I managed to have a word with John and he signed my first edition copy of Dark Hallow which I bought in 2000. ‘Yes,’ I said ‘I’ve been waiting 13 years for this – and it’s been worth it.’ He was generous with his time and gave me a few insider tips on writing and submitting work to agents and publishers,  something for which I am extremely grateful.

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Me and John Connolly – write on!

All the authors happily signed books, many of which no doubt will be given as Christmas presents to lucky readers. It was an excellent night and the staff in Dubray Books deserve a mention for being friendly and helpful throughout – well done indeed.

Authors in attendance: Sarah Harte, Alan Glynn, Maurice Curtis, Arlene Hunt, Sean O’Connor, David Graham, Susan Stairs, Jennifer Ridyard and Rosemary McLoughlin.

Question: What do you call a group of authors?

Answer: I don’t know – maybe a sheet (of authors)! Any ideas…..

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The Bark, a Priest and a lot of fun!

I didn’t know what to expect, but an hour later I was happy that I’d been at the opening night of the Bark Cafe in Alan Hanna’s Bookshop in Rathmines. The small space, at the back of the always friendly bookshop, was hosting its first evening performance and it went off with a real bang. Long may it continue as the city is crying for good, small venues and that is what you get in the Bark.

After a warm introduction from proprietor Charles (The Bookmesiter) Hanna, we sat back and were royally entertained by Canadian poet,  novelist and singer Robert Priest. First of all he said that he had not been to Dublin since  1977, but he remembered Trinity College when he passed by. That’s understandable, as the place has been leaving impressionson on people for years! He read poems from his book Rosa Rose, and selected a few from his latest work Previously Feared Darkness. Some were long, but most were short, and to the point. He is not one for wasting words and his sharp observations of life and its vagaries are all the better for it. ‘Less is certainly more’ and Robert Priest is a master. In fact, his wordsmithery was particularly appealing to the small but rapt audience who clapped and cheered after each offering.

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A Priest and his flock….

And if all that wasn’t enough he picked up his acoustic guitar and the evening really took-off. We heard that he had co-written a hit single for Alannah Myles (credibility!) and he sang a number of songs from his recently released Feeling the Pinch. His take on life and its foibles seemed even clearer as he went through The Bomb In Reverse, Song Instead Of A Kiss and the up-tempo Who The Fuck Knows which we all sang along to. Oh, what a magical moment! After the show Robert signed CDs and books and said, happily, that the night had been the best he’d ever had. Now that’s saying something, and the atmosphere in the Bark was woof, woof, wonderful! And the big question: will he be back again? Hope so, but hey, who the fuck knows!

Bark1

Bark rating – woof, woof, wonderful!

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Filed under Art, Dublin, Ireland