The River Liffey neatly divides Dublin into two. To some inhabitants of the affluent suburbs of D2 to the south, a venture to the northside is to take ones life in ones hands. Rather like the inhabitants of middle-England imagine that, if they venture north of Hadrian’s Wall, they are sure to get their heids kicked in.

I found myself outside Kavanagh’s about a year after my previous visit. It lies on the uber-busy Dorset Street which is made even livelier by the regular sirens of vehicles rushing to and from the nearby Mater Hospital. A well-remembered characteristic of this establishment is the very creaky swing door which has the effect of swivelling all heads doorwards to see who dares enter. Happily the door had not been oiled in the intervening months.

Pulling up a barstool I order a pint. Not so busy on a midweek evening, but a fair crowd of locals. No women though, not really surprised. For those that wish a bit of quiet or a read of the paper there are plenty of hidy corners though. A plus point is the price of a pint (€4.10, as cheap as you’ll get in the city). Another is the availability of Scampi Fries, though at €1.50 these are becoming a luxury in these hard times.

Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor on the big screen takes the first three legs of his match against some Asian guy in about five minutes – that is even though everybody, including The Power, blinks with amazement when, on 41, he misses his single 9. That game is rapidly becoming of no interest, so we are then entertained when the smoke alarm starts wailing. No one, least of all the staff, appear to care and it eventually seems to give up of its own accord a while later.

I am approached by a Friendly Drunk Old Bloke on the way back from the jacks.

FDOB – ‘Howarya young man?’
Me – ‘Fine thank you, nice to meet you.’
FDOB – ‘Whereyafrom?’
Me – ‘Dublin.’
FDOB – ‘Gedouddathat!’
Me – ‘Birmingham.’
FDOB – ‘Ah, my family’s all in Manchester. I lived in London. My wife’s got glaucoma. Forty years we’ve been married. I love her. Whereyafrom?’
Me – ‘Er…..’

In truth these are hard times for a lot of Dubliners. Yesterday (Thursday) came news of 1,300 job losses at the airport – positions which were once thought to be life sinecures. There will be many in this part of town who will probably never find work again.

This morning (Friday) my early morning 4-miler was only a little damaged in quality by my foray onto the wild side. That’s 4 x 4 = 16 this week. With an unusually packed-looking weekend coming up it’s looking like I’m going to miss my long run. Five weeks to go until Connemara – must get the DART up to Howth for a practice run up the hill some time soon.

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