Wednesday, December 29, 2004

# Posted 9:54 AM by Patrick Belton  

DUBLINERS: After an evening's sleep in the Roman airport, and a train ride spent practising my Italian on a teacher unlucky enough to be my neighbour, I've moved from Calabria to Dublin. For a post-nationalist who, so long as it provided liberal, reformist democratic governance, would give as warm support to a world government, empire, or system of city-states as to the current Westphalian system of ethnic states, Dublin is a guilty comfort. It is for me what Israel is for every Jew; whenever I need to drop out of my regularly scheduled life for a fortnight, I can always return here, find cheap bohemian quarters in some gritty quarter of Dublin 1, and pass easily into being yet another unremarkable writer named Paddy, holding forth and telling tales and unforgivable puns from McDaid's. I fit in, in a way I find both comfortable and disturbing. There are almost as many of me here as there are Bosnians - and that's saying quite a bit. Unlike in Britain or America, I don't have to apologise for my peculiar post-mediaeval hangups and Catholic victorianisms; they are here what passes for culture.

I'm staying in the edges of venerable, at one time also venereal, Monto, once the largest red light district in the British Empire when redcoats were still garrisoned next door in what today is the Michael Collins Museum. The red has been replaced with the Garda's neon; very small mercies indeed. I am, so far as I can tell, the only Irish person in Montjoy Square; I share a flat with two amiable Frenchmen, a Finn, and an Italian; the possibilities for ethnic jokes seem endless.

So Patrick, you've now blogged enthusiastically from your writing holidays in Italy, Ireland, Paris, and Mexico. What we want to know is, do you ever go of your own choice to Protestant countries? PB: apparently not. Although I was once in Quebec, which is part of one.
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