Africa Day 2017 Dublin

I danced to east African music and then Galway Girl

The shuttle bus was packed. It was free after all and the alternative was a 25 minute trek through the Phoenix Park to Farmleigh House. I was excited for Africa Day, but not twenty-five minutes excited.

I was late, rolling up to the lakeside cafe fifteen minutes after everyone else had clearly arrived. Some not so subtly checked their watches. Amateur photographers can be so impatient. There was still lingering to be done, as a few more latecomers stumbled upon the group, made easy to identify with all brands of camera swinging from our necks. Of the 62 who RSVP’d, a decent 12 showed up, with more to wade through the throngs later.

As with all ‘Days’ at Farmleigh, we headed for the main area, today the ‘Malaika’ stage, behind the colonial house. And suddenly the group had dissolved. All that waiting, only to disappear into the air with the notes escaping from the strumming guitar of Ines Khai. It would be another forty-five minutes before I found some semblance of the group gathered beneath a crowded tree as the clouds emptied their contents for the first time that day. The group had new faces, replacing those who had wandered off to the ‘Kwassa Kwassa’ stage. Sadly, those unlucky few had tripped right into the middle of the Minister’s speech. Was it too late to slipd quietly away back to the bazaar. There was a colourful rug I was looking at that would have matched the blanket on the couch.

Head wraps were offered at a reasonable rate. Ladies chose from prints of red, black and green fish-like patterns, burnt orange leaves, diamonds on yellow fabric and blue and red lined strips of white. The smell of beef stew and chapati carried across the car park to campers who had staked their claim on a patch of flattened grass before the skies reminded them where they were. Some ventured over to the join an already long queue. Some glanced and weighed up their chances of losing their spot or cradling a warm belly, smiling at the mere thought of spicy rice and chicken.

If you ever held an image of Africa in your mind’s eye, it could be found here. Tall men in white robes swatted away the ant-like diligence of photographers intent on capturing the image of the day, showing their wares from Senegal and Lesotho. Under grey skies, colourful dresses, head wraps and tunics could be seen.

Drumming workshops, a language exchange, even a debating session was on the agenda. But my favourite part of Africa Day was the ‘Atilogwu’ stage and the energetic DJ Spaqz and his crew. And it was here that I danced to Galway Girl, after dancing to music from Kenya, Ghana and Egypt.

I’ll be back next year, for the tastes, sounds and sights of a little bit of Africa in the middle of the Phoenix Park.



Springtime glory

IMG_4469Tulips at St Patrick’s Cathedral


A sunny weekend, a generous park, reds and yellows and pinks. Barking dogs and laughing children. Sunbathers, ice-cream appreciators. This is Sunday in Dublin.

Creative writing – No title

I take the bus into town. Thinking as i sit there this will be fine; it’s only an interview. Sitting there chewing on my nails, searching my mind for examples, references, past jobs where I can demonstrate competency. I hate interviews!

Suburbs whiz by and the city begins. The bus gets closer to Nassau Street. I have 15 more minutes until my interview. I can take a short walk, calm myself down. I’d love a pint.

Fumbling with my bag, I press the STOP button and wait for the driver to grumpily bring the doubledecker to an abrupt halt. I don’t know why he looks surprised. This is a bus stop.

Traipsing off I offer an obligatory thanks. It’s met with an obligatory silence. The street is crowded. Road works, tourists, students, beggars. This is Dublin. It’s difficult to fight my way through the hoards to reach the other side. My interview is only half way up Dawson Street, but right now it feels like miles away.

You should have left earlier. This street is manic. You should have gotten up earlier, gone for a run. Jesus, where are all these people coming from. Remember this the next time, will you.

This noise is startling. Dashing across the road, cars honk, cyclists swear. At this rate I’ll be late. This is the first interview in three months. If I make it in one piece, I’m having a pint.

To Be Read

Ulysses has been in my To Be Read pile for a while. I fear it might remain there for some time yet. I am content to happen upon the landmarks that give colour to the book until the day I build up the courage to start reading it again. Today I found Sweny’s Pharmacy in Lincoln Place, where Leopold Bloom buys lemon soap.