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February 18, 2004: Fáilte go Baile Átha Clíath! [Repost]

We’re here. The concert is tonight. In just a few hours. It’s getting dark already. Holy feckin’ crap.

It had been 11 years since I’d been to Dublin, and even when I was there before I’d only spent a couple of days there total. I’d forgotten what a big city it is, and hadn’t taken into consideration how much bigger it had gotten since I was there last. We spent a lot of time farting around in Kilbeggan, and when leaving I foolishly said to Wesly, “The timing is perfect. It’s about 4 now, so we should be hitting Dublin between 5 and 5:30.”

Yep, perfect. Just in time to hit rush-hour Dublin traffic. And to put us in a traffic jam the likes of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen even in Los Angeles.

It was unbelievable. Un-feckin’-believable. It slowed to the consistency of chilled molasses when we were approaching the city from the N4, but once we hit Dublin city limits, it just stopped. Complete feckin’ gridlock. What might have made it worse is that we found ourselves on a road I didn’t think we should have been on, and I didn’t quite know how we ended up there. Somewhere in Chapelizod I missed a sign, and when I had been hoping to be on the Chapelizod Road just south of Phoenix Park, I ended up on a series of roads (St. Laurence, Sarsfield, Con Colbert, St. John’s West) that were just jammed. I might have taken a picture for you, just to document how bad it was, but I was too busy shrieking “FUCK!” (no, Mrs. Doyle, not feck, the actual F-word), pounding on the steering wheel and perspiring. It was so bad, and we were so far behind the schedule I’d hoped we’d be on, that for a while there I thought it might actually be possible that, after all this expense and travelling, I’d miss the show (at least the beginning).

My expert reading of the Dublin city map left a lot to be desired, too — it’d been over a decade since I’d been there, I hadn’t spent that much time in the city to begin with, and I’d forgotten how the streets tended to be one-way when you didn’t expect, and how hard-to-read the street signage was. Once we got past the traffic and into Dublin 1, I ended up taking a half-dozen wrong turns on the way to the apartments. We ended up stopping at a petrol station at a frighteningly busy intersection way the hell up Drumcondra Road to ask for directions. Apparently the gentleman inside seemed to think Wes was quite mad, but he headed us back in the right direction, which was, of course, back the other way … and it was impossible to go that way from where we were. “Can’t get there from here, though!”

Somehow, we made it … 42 North Great Georges Street, the Mount Eccles Court Hostel and Apartments, checked into apartment #2, looked around (okay, it was nice; not quite as nice as the impression the photo gave, but perfectly nice enough), double-checked the showtime (8:30 instead of 8 … thank CHRIST!), threw our stuff inside, left immediately, got back into the car, and drove to the venue. It didn’t take long to get there at all … but parking the car was another matter. Did I mention that it’s a relative nightmare to have a car in Dublin? If you’re thinking about it, don’t. It’ll cost you more to park it than to hire it, the disc parking system can be diabolical (buy a parking disc-permit from a machine on the street for between €1.60 and €2 per hour, with a three-hour limit, there are evil clampers everywhere who’ll clamp your car if you’re so much as a minute overtime, there are only 9 multistorey carparks in all of Dublin, and only four of them are open 24 hours. Jesus.

Finally, after more wrong turns and U-turns there was the beautiful sight of the multistorey car park on Usher’s Quay, a mere 10 minute walk from the venue … and there we were, a whole 40 minutes early. There was a nice lady outside who handed me our tickets. The bar had just opened. We were there. Good Christ, do I need a pint.