I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Larkin in Dublin


March 29th, 1967 saw Philip Larkin in Dublin at a library conference. He wrote to Monica Jones:

Late, after dinner in Trinity, everyone else falling about but I thought there wasn’t enough to drink. Or eat …
Well, the crossing was all right ‑ very rough indeed, but pitching not rolling, & it be the rolling that do do for I. No puking: 2½ pints in the bar (the ½ was to see what it was like) & then a cold, sleepless but otherwise untroubled night. All the same conferences are hell. We are stranded out in some godforsaken suburb, no stamps, no pub, no papers, miles even from the hall we meet in – I have no stamps yet, but hope to find some tomorrow. Radio Eireann rang up tonight to do a short interview tomorrow: fame. […]
Dublin is fascinating in its horribleness ‑ I can look at it for hours: sat looking out the window of some law library watching the nuns & begging children & broken fanlights. Meantime K. Humphreys found a backless 1st ed. of Endymion on the open shelves. Dublin!
Love, darling ‑ wish you were here. P.

It is not so much that one thinks that Dublin in 1967 was like Paris or New York. But surely it must have come up a bit from the 50s. Remember, this was from a man familiar with Belfast and Hull.


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