Archive for December, 2006

Notebooks for City Lovers/Cities for Notebook Lovers

It’s especially pleasing to me to discover that Moleskine’s new line of city-themed notebooks includes Dublin. I love Moleskines–I’ve never met anyone whose used one once and then went back to regular thought-catchers. There’s something about the sleek cover, the fine yet substantial paper, the way your pen scrawls smoothly across the page… Maybe I should stop salivating. But these notebooks, to be released in 2007, have the combined brilliance of classic Moleskine doodling pleasure and the useful qualities of a diary or datebook. Perfect for those going about town, or if you’re planning a trip to the city in the near future. Also available for twenty other cities and six languages, they retail at $24 USD, or about €18, I can’t wait to get my hands on one.

Dublin’s Gift #3: Trinity College

Dublin’s 3rd gift is Trinity College; Trinity was founded by a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth in 1592.

The institute has a history in excellence, some of the important figures in arts and literature were associated with Trinity; This includes Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Bram Stoker and list goes on.
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Dublin Gift #2: World-Class Authors

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You know them all by name, if not by works: James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift, W.B. Yeats. Authors of some of the great classic works of Western literature, these men also have the dubious honor of being Dubliners. What is it about this city that gave rise to such great wordsmiths? Perhaps it was the comingling of Irish and English, upper- and lower-class, North and South sides of the river. Lines tend to blur more in Dublin than in other comparative cities, and such a home was a great mine of resources for the literary writer.

Joyce, who set both Ulysses and Dubliners in Dublin, said, “I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book.” That mark of affection is still heard in a city that sports both a James Joyce Centre and a photo tour of Joyce’s Edwardian backwater, as it was thought of in his day.

Wilde, my personal favorite, has had his house turn into a museum and a deliciously indolent statue reclining in Merrion Square. Dublin also gives him the nod at the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, a pretty notable namesake for fellow with as many splotches on his prestige as Wilde. He wrote famously witty books, plays, and poems, and was scandalous for his various affairs with Marquess’s sons. My own personal favorite is The Importance of Being Earnest: “it is very painful for me to be forced to speak the truth. It is the first time in my life that I have ever been reduced to such a painful position, and I am really quite inexperienced in doing anything of the kind.”

For more information on these and other great writers originating from Dublin, check out the Dublin Writers Museum, and if you’re really ambitious, there’s the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, which is supposed to be pretty entertaining.

Dublin’s Gift #1: Guinness

Well, Dublin may be late to the party, but never let it be said that we didn’t rock it when we got here. In the great tradition of our other Metroblogging siblings, Dublin presents Seven Gifts from Our Fair City, starting with the arguably most well-loved and perhaps best known, Guinness.

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Oh, Guinness. Frothy, smooth, and deliciously subtle, this best-known Irish beer has arguably set the standard for stout altogether. First made by Arthur Guinness at the St. James’s Gate Brewery in 1759, Guinness was originally produced as a porter that was changed to a stout primarily in the early 1800’s. Now it’s shipped all over the world, including Jamaica, China, Malaysia, the United States, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Britain, and even Nigeria–which has become the third largest market for exported Guinness in the world, probably due the the 7.5% abv in the export.

Love it, hate it, kind of curious about it, Guinness remains a quintessential part of Irish culture and particularly Dublin life, from the Guinness Storehouse, that mecca of tourism, to the St. James Brewery, to your favorite local. You see it everywhere, sponsoring hurling, world-class jazz festivals, and gracing the back of everyone who comes to visit our fair city.It’s my own personal choice for gabbing around with my friends, and it’s Dublin’s first gift!

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