I am soaking up more than the rain in Dublin during a six-day visit - I don't think I have ever been here when it hasn't rained or showered, even in summer, so I don't think it's a wild, sweeping statement to say that Dublin and Drizzle go hand in hand.
The weather adds a certain charm to the place though, the mistiness giving everything a sheen, and making the vegetation clean and fresh. Rain cleans and clears away, leaving everything fresh for a new direction. This is the place where I don't mind letting the rain soak me through. I leave the drops to build up on my head and run down my face. It's good to embrace the thing that gives a place charm! Also, I couldn't for the life of me find a shop that sold umbrellas! Be jaysus!
Dublin is currently caught up in the 100th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Beckett (pictured above). There are exhibitions and readings, and his face is everywhere. The actual day was back in April, but the celebrations - in true Irish style - carry on for months. It's wonderful to see this joy and pride. The literary magic in this city is really something that makes you want to write. I will share some Dublin-inspired poems on my return to Lyon. I am also jotting down phrases and notes while I'm here, to make sure that the mistiness, magic and lilt make it into the pages of my new novel, which is set here.
Dublin, of course, is not the same city that fed the grey matter of the likes of Beckett and Joyce; this is now a thriving, financially flashy place, where people seem to be on the up. The grief and poverty that has been evident in a lot of literature from here is now not the norm, according to locals who should know. I wonder if the new buzz of the place will result in a different kind of writing from Dublin? Will the economic boom here change the themes and style of the literary class? What will happen to the theory that a country's pain produces wonderful art and literature? Of course, one has to remember that Beckett and Joyce didn't stay here, going off to different shores to release their wonderful musings. Is it easier to get to the truth, the real core of a place by viewing it from afar? Would they have written the same kinds of books if they'd never left?
I'm enjoying going into bookshops and discovering the Irish fiction that is available. There is loads of it, and it shows the world of fiction and publishing here is healthy. You do wonder though when you see unsettling and large doses of marketing for the novels written by the daughter of the Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern. I flicked through the first few pages of one book, but I didn't think it was my kind of thing. Good luck to her though. She's hit the right buttons.
So, getting hold of my Irish roots - I'm visiting family as well - will hopefully shake something up in my sleepy, hidden chambers. I already find myself repeating "to be fair now" and "god willing" when I say goodbye to someone. The adorable turns of phrase are very infectious. They probably think I'm taking the Mickey, but I'm really just letting myself go!
I notice now the showers have scattered, so I will get back onto those cobblestones. To be sure.