A Day In Dublin


Self Portrait at Oscar Wilde’s House in Dublin

How James Joyce crafted a masterpiece around a single day in Dublin, I don’t know. This place seems hardly big enough to host a Ulyssean epic.

No.7 Eccles St., Dublin

No.7 Eccles St., Dublin

Out at first light, wandering shining streets polished by a night of rain, the whole day ahead of me, the city under my feet, I’m in love at first light with this city that rarely sleeps; though I’m not sure if quiet mornings are more or less authentic than late night raving revelry.

Rainy Night, Temple Bar, Dublin

Rainy Night, Temple Bar, Dublin

Where am I? Where am I going? Does it matter? I crisscross the city, checking off a few attractions: Trinity College, the Book of Kells, the James Joyce Museum, Dublin Castle, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. In the National Library of Ireland, I sit in the main reading room, for the sake of sitting and type for the sake of typing, under the great aquamarine dome where Joyce once sat and wrote of literary theory, bald librarians and green dome lamps. I flip the switch on mine and delight in its scholarly shine.

Dublin Public Library

Dublin Public Library

What else shall I see in this city? How can I have a day worth writing an epic about? Where should I go? Whom shall I meet? Does it matter? Might as well just go where I want to go. Leaving the library, I put away the map and follow the streets that look likely.

Dublin Castle Courtyard

Dublin Castle Courtyard

As I wander, I try to keep track of my route: north, south, east, west. I can navigate in mountains, woods and desert, but mazes of city street always confuse my cardinality. I superimpose the city grid onto a green, grassy field and imagine myself wandering the blocks, back and forth, around and around, visualizing how the city uses space. On my mind’s open ground, my circular city street pacing looks insane.

The James Joyce Center

The James Joyce Center

My feet, pounding the pavement, beg for the bare ground. Give us Earth, they say! Give us rocks and roots and mountains! This business of sidewalks, of taking the same even, swinging step over and over, with barely a curb to break my stride, is wearying. My body is trained for the uneven trail; the evil ache of plantar fasciitis creeps into my arches. I’m not a city person and neither are my feet. Concrete is my kryptonite.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

More stubborn than footsore, I walk and walk, watching and listening and smelling everything swirling around me: people, traffic, perfume, cigarettes, my country senses on overload. I plug my ears with headphones and pipe in my favorite music: young Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home. Deaf to the swirl and pleasantly disconnected, I float on and on, around and around Dublin, walking all day long. In search of what? I don’t know.



Someday, I will find a place worthy of my own one-day Ulyssean epic. Yes I said yes I will Yes. But not today.

On to Scotland! 😀

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
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7 Responses to A Day In Dublin

  1. Pingback: Ireland’s Northernmost Point: Treasure At Malin Head | Travels with the Blonde Coyote

  2. egghill says:

    Absolutely beautiful. I knew I wanted to put Ireland on my ‘places to see’ list and now having seen your pics, it’s a definite! I also veer away from cities – understand completely! Keep up the great work.

  3. beachman says:

    wow that was cool…..

  4. Hi Mary – Guess Dublin is not your city, even though the library is quite amazing. I, also, much prefer exploring the countryside over time in a city. But I enjoy your writing and photos of Dublin. Best to you on your travels, Carol

  5. shazzarob says:

    Sounds as though you needed a guiness!
    Lovely pictures.:)

  6. Man, I miss Ireland. Dublin does have its charm but the west coast is where the natural beauty is.

    Scotland is perfect for hiking. I hiked the Highlands for 2 weeks in college. I suggest you don’t miss the Isle of Skye

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