“We have all a better guide in ourselves…than any other person can be.” Jane Austen
I think Jane was saying that if you’re looking for advice from someone, look in the mirror. If you’re in Dublin, just look around you. If you’re looking for good places to eat, fun things to do, and interesting places to go, you don’t really need me. I am secure in the belief that each one of you would be able to do all of these things easily. In fact, you really can’t go wrong, and even when you just might, it all could be used as fodder for your next short story collection. But just in case your mirror is misty today, I’m here for you.
And when the city is misty – and cloudy and cold – the Irish Film Institute is just there for you on Eustace Street offering a cuppa tea and a film. For this week I can recommend Jackie and Manchester By the Sea. Natalie Portman shows us what it was like to be Jackie Kennedy at the time of her husband’s assassination. (I saw Natalie once in line at the Anthropologie on 15th Street in Manhattan. It was a Saturday night and she was alone. She was so tiny and so plain – she looked like a teenager. She was buying a paper mache giraffe. Since then, I am always amazed by her ability to transform herself on the screen.)
And Manchester By the Sea is so good. It has the most heart wrenching scene between Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams. I was so depressed after the movie, that I had to go to Eddie Rocket’s for a cheeseburger and a milkshake. It helped.
And speaking of food that tastes really good, but is not so good for you, there are donut shops all over the place. I can vouch for the donuts at Off Beat Donut Co. just by the DART station on Tara Street. They have creme brûlée, Nutella ring, apple crumble, and maple pecan, but I got the cinnamon sugar, a true classic.
For the best hot chocolate I have ever had, there is Laduree on South William Street, a gorgeous French patisserie with pink and lavender velvet chairs, marble tables, and a complimentary Madeleine.
On a misty evening, you can go across the street for the best margaritas in the city at Farrier and Draper. There are several different bars that are gorgeous and downstairs there is a stunning Italian restaurant, La Cucina.
To feed your mind, the possibilities are endless. Last night I went to the best book store in town, Hodges and Figgis, for a book signing with Karl Geary whose debut novel, Montpelier Parade, is supposed to be sublime.
It was more a party than a book reading. There was wine, beautiful people, and of course lots of conversation, laughter, and hugging. Karl read aloud for a bit and later he signed my copy of his book. He was handsome and kind, and from all accounts, he’s a brilliant writer. I’ll let you know how I like the book.
To feed your spirit, you need to find the craic. It’s all around – you simply have to look and listen. Try to get a seat at the bar at Grogan’s and listen to the Irish. As a man asks to settle his bill, he says, “Will you wrap that up and put a couple in the hopper for yourself.” One older man says to another, “You have to love your children, not when they win the game – when they don’t win the game.” One girl says to another, “Ah yeah, it’s a miserable existence. He’s living at home with his mam.” When I walked in the other night, a young man offered me his seat as soon as I stepped up to the bar. I told him I didn’t mind standing, but he insisted. He said, “No really, I have to meet someone anyway, and this will make me drink faster.” And so I continue to look and listen in Dublin town just in case you might need me.