This is not going to be as exciting as I thought it was going to be. These pictures were taken a long time ago--1996--I hadn't seen them in years, and it turns out they were more exciting in memory than they turned out to be in actuality. Also, in that pre-digital time, there weren't very many of them, maybe 12 or 15 for a 3 or 4 day visit. Several of them, including one that I know was one of the better ones, are also missing, and I have no idea where they are. There are also not any pictures of women anywhere in the whole Ireland set. I was in a phase at that point where I was convinced taking pictures was uncool, or weak, or took one out of the moment, sapped all one's sensual aura, hindered the mind from operating at its optimum capacity, or something. So all of the pictures are courtesy of other people.
George Bernard Shaw's Birthplace, 33 Synge St, Dublin. It had very recently been acquired by the state or whatever and turned into a museum at that time. In '96 the effects of the economic miracle which transformed the culture and personality of Ireland in recent years were only just beginning to be noticeable. There were still no superhighways in the country, for one thing, though I recall plans were being made to build one. This street, which is very close to the center of town, was still a residential neighborhood full of middle to working class families, children wearing school uniforms, no yuppies or hipsters, or at least hipsters non-indigenous to the neighborhood, anywhere in sight. It was all very superficially Irish literary-looking, and feeling, which of course I like, though I liked it because I believed it would somehow lead me by some means or process to a more meaningful engagement in contemporary life than I would otherwise have managed. The Inside Furnishings are of Course Period Stand-Ins and Recreations, Not the Author's Actual Furniture.
The Piano Was an Important Piece of the Exhibit. Shaw's mother was a highly musical lady, and active in serious singing circles in Dublin. Affairs with musical men to whom she was not married (I forget what happened to Shaw's father) were rumored. This room apparently was where a lot of this tension and action would have taken place.
Because I saw these pictures again I had planned to write at some length about how I couldn't believe how thin and handsome I had been in those days, and how astounding it is that the ladies were not only not beating down my door, but apparently insensible of my existence at all. Unfortunately upon seeing the pictures I did not strike myself as quite so handsome as I thought I had been. Indeed, I might even look better now, though I can't seem to produce any photographic evidence that would support that argument either. In any event, the mystery as to why the girls weren't all over me back then that has been occupying my thoughts for the last few years has been satisfactorily cleared up. It is remarkable how generous our memories become where our past states and qualities are concerned, when it takes but one small reminder to blow all of these delusions to dust.
These are the old Irish Punts and Pence, At Least. Fascinating picture this. Gripping photography is a process of continual trial and error like any other art, I suppose, and these are early photos, upon a subject (i.e., me) on which the artist has to take on the burden of supplying pretty much all the potential interest.
I walked all over south Dublin for several hours to find James Joyce's birthplace, but there is no picture because my photographer did not accompany me on this jaunt, and I thought taking a picture myself (but not walking 2 hours to find the house) would mark me as lame to what I imagined would be all the beautiful women and international level literati I anticipated running into on the way. The 40-something guy living in Joyce's house was lying out sunbathing in the front yard anyway, as it turned out.