On the last day of my visit I have lunch in Davy Byrne’s. I finally get there. I’m a writer visiting Dublin! That’s what I’m supposed to do, go and stand where Bloom didn’t stand and eat what he never ate. So I lean against the bar (‘nice piece of wood in that’). It’s very clean. You can order a gorgonzola sandwich but I don’t, I have my I-could-get-used-to-this Dublin lunch of soup and brown bread and a glass of Guinness and I take it to a table. I eat and drink selfconsciously, writing in my travel diary (there’s a lot to put down) and the thing is, the thing about Davy Byrne’s is, that although it’s a pub and very old and beautiful, it feels like a cafe in a suburban mall. It’s in the middle of the ritzy shopping district and it’s full of chatting sixtyish matrons. Not a poet, not a writer, not even a disreputable old drinker… I’m the most disreputable in there in my rock band t-shirt, jeans and workboots. Bloom’s fictional ghost haunts elsewhere today.
(First published in Numbat)