Walk into any pub in Dublin on a given evening and you will be greeted by a familiar scene; the English stag, the Roscommon hen and the fraternity Yank. The recovery of Ireland’s economy brings with it a crowded, noisy and unwelcoming mass of pub-goers.
Whilst previously, a publican was an esteemed member of society, a curator of the cure, innkeeper and quasi-therapist, the modern barman is constantly rushed off his feet answering questions (all of which I have heard in Dublin pubs);
‘Can I taste all the lagers you have on draft?’
‘What’s a lager?’
‘How can you guys make your own beer, where is the field?’
‘Can I get an Irish Car bomb?’
‘Can I get a Black and Tan?’
‘Why don’t you take sterling’?
And many more delightful time consuming probes into the making of the perfect pint. The paradoxical reason for the less than perfect state of affairs is that it once was perfect. Revellers kept to Temple Bar and Harcourt Street leaving workers and students to cross paths on the way to the bar in Doyle’s, Hartigans, O’Donoghues and the Long Stone.
This peaceful arrangement has been thrown into turmoil by the arrival of review websites, intrepid tourists spilling out of the Temple Bar in search of a more authentic experience often found it not far from the writhing mass by the Liffey. Plastered onto LovinDublin and Yelp came the unsolicited siren call of Dublin’s ale houses, it has proved to be their swan song. Assuredly revenues are up, the boom is back after all and with it the coffers are stuffed with damp, creased 50 year olds. However they have lost that charming existence that for a short period allowed for well-earned respite and conversational reward.
In search of a table and the chance of audible discussion I am pushed out of Dublin 2, a victim of inebriate gentrification, a relic of the Phoenix’s ashes, standing in the rain on Dawson street looking up at its recurrent rise, as it shits down onto all that was once good and pure.