My recent adventure in Dublin took me to the Literary Pub Crawl, where I got to enjoy a couple pints whilst soaking in more of the city’s literary history. I went on yet another dreary Dublin day. Rain was coming down in buckets that afternoon and I was worried that I’d get caught in a downpour. Luckily for me and my friends, the heavy rain ceased into a light misting by the time we arrived at The Duke, the meeting point for our tour group.
The Literary Pub Crawl doubled as street theatre and a history class. Our tour guides were professional actors who did great impersonations of Oscar Wilde and treated us to live Irish music. At The Duke I had my first pint of the night, a Bulmer’s Apple Cider, before the crawl officially began. We were told that at the end of the night we’d be given a quiz to test our knowledge on each location we visited and the writers we learned about. Our incentive was some Literary Pub Crawl merch, so that meant I had to pay close attention.
(I did not end up winning the merch).
After finishing off my Bulmer’s, we walked a few minutes to Trinity College. Trinity (“Irish Harvard”, as I like to call it) is / was the alma mater of many famous Irish writers. Sally Rooney, the author of Normal People, attended Trinity and used it as the setting for her book. After her book skyrocketed to popularity, English has become one of the more difficult programs to get into at Trinity. So, I can personally appreciate what Sally Rooney has done for the humanities. Additionally, we learned that Oscar Wilde did collegiate boxing for Trinity and got to hear the Wilde impersonation via a dramatic reciting of a letter he wrote while teaching American coal miners about art and aesthetics (this was the only answer I remembered for the quiz).
Two and a half pints and three pubs later my night ended at Davy Byrne’s, a pub that was one of James Joyce’s old haunts. Davy Byrne’s claim to fame was Joyce’s novel Ulysses, where the main character, Leopold Bloom, stops in for a Gorgonzola sandwich (a cheese sandwich, essentially) and a glass of burgundy. Ever since then, the Gorgonzola and burgundy combo has been a Bloomsday tradition for Davy Byrne’s. Bloomsday is an annual festival in Ireland celebrating James Joyce held on June 16th, the day Ulysses takes place. Sadly, I won’t be on the Emerald Isle to partake in the next Bloomsday festivities, or else I’d totally dig into a Gorgonzola sandwich.
Although I didn’t go home with any Literary Pub Crawl swag, visiting the pubs that literary greats once frequented was a reward on its own. Alongside the enthusiasm of our tour guides, it helped bring Ireland’s vibrant literary history to life, and now I can say that I drank in the same pub as James Joyce. But will I ever read Ulysses? Probably not.
Until next time!