I was in Dublin yesterday. I had a few hours to kill and parked the car in Trinity Street Car Park. A quick text to a friend led to a short but welcome lunch. After that I wandered around for a while with absolutely no “agenda”! I spent an hour or more on Grafton Street and bought nothing – well an ice cream – so helped the economy in a very small way 🙂 I was reminded of Nanci Griffith’s song “On Grafton Street” and imagined her, as a visitor to Dublin, finding some space there on what is a very crowded street. Yet she did find space ….
Nanci speaks of “buskers” in her song and there certainly was a fair share of them yesterday. Such talent on an open street. There was a very lively group called “Key West” or maybe “Quay West” – not sure which way they spell it – absolutely excellent. I recorded a piece of one of their songs but won’t post it since it would not do them justice. If you’re passing and they’re playing, stop a while. Around another corner there was a woman sitting on a window sill and a man on the footpath. One had a fiddle and the other a guitar and they were playing “The Foggy Dew” – pure class. I think I was the only one standing there and they played as if they were playing to a packed house in the O2 Stadium. What is it that allows people get lost in a tune? Whatever it is, long may it remain. Along the street there was a variety of musicians and musical styles. Little groups stood a while and listened to each, respecting the talent offered and maybe throwing an odd coin into a waiting guitar case. (No, the ice cream was my only outlay yesterday. I’m blushing a little now with that realisation!) A man had a dog lying on the pavement, looking at a tennis ball. The dog, the towel he lay upon, the ball were all made out of sand …… Somehow rushing feet left this untouched, even one that was un-attended. Respect for an art form – proper order too!
I think the buskers/street entertainers that most caught my eye, never said a word. It was a sculpture in stone, of sorts, featuring five people, three standing and two sitting. One held a guitar. It was the hottest day of the year and the sculpture stood calm, solid but engagingly welcoming on “Grafton Street”. I stood and watched. An Australian woman said to me, “Do you see what happens when you put in a coin?” “No”, I replied, She rushed forward, leaving her group of fellow-visitors, to put a coin in the bucket but I said “No, you’ve done that already, I’ll do it” (Ah, I did spend something more than on an ice cream – my blush fades a little now) so I put in – well that doesn’t matter – and the sculpture bowed in appreciation.
I have to say I enjoyed the bit of time yesterday. I went to the Carmelite Church too and was amazed to see so many people there, in the middle of a sunny day, just sitting quietly and praying before the Blessed Sacrament. I thought of the “sculpture” down the street and felt certain that Jesus too would acknowledge the recognition and bow, even a little, to those approaching him in prayer.