“The sea, the snotgreen sea, the scrotumtightening sea.”
― James Joyce, Ulysses
We spent one night only, camping near the Martello Tower in Sandycove, Dublin. It features in the opening chapter of James Joyce’s Ulysses, so they say.
All night long they came and went, up and down the walkway from Sandycove to the 40 Foot (famous Dublin swimming spot) and back. Swimmers, revellers, beer drinking young ones. As the sun sank behind Dun Laoghaire Town Hall it was all go and there wasn’t too much sleep to be had.
At 11.30 PM a woman walking her dog, sat on a nearby wall and sang all of The Parting Glass and the Auld Triangle into the night air. We sat and listened in awe. A wise cracking Dub shouted across to her that she had a fine voice and would she sing some more. Why don’t you sing yourself, says the Siren and exits stage left.
“Trilling, trilling: I dolores. Peep! Who’s in the… peepofgold? Tink cried to bronze in pity. And a call, pure, long and throbbing. Longindying call.Decoy. Soft word. But look! The bright stars fade. O rose! Notes chirruping answer. C astille. The morn is breaking. Jingle jingle jaunted jingling.”
Episode 11 of Ulysses : Sirens
Bleary eyed by 5.30 AM, then the early daily swimmers began to arrive. A short dip in the “scrotumtightening sea” lots of chat, the Irish Times under one arm and and a carton a milk under the other.
It was here 50 years ago that the pink sparkly ball was swept out to sea and rescued by a heroic local. Here, where we learned to swim and perfected the art of putting warm clothes onto damp limbs while gyrating under a towel. “Hmmph that fella!!” was all that was ever said about James Joyce.
“…she saunters away, plump as a pampered pouter pigeon, humming the duet from Don Giovanni…
Episode 15 of Ulysses : Circe