My only previous visit to Dublin was to see the Sultans of Ping FC. At the time I worked for Rhythm King Records and we were best known for our dance acts (S’Express, Bomb the Bass, Beatmasters, Betty Boo). So signing the Sultans was quite a change of direction and most of the label flew to Dublin to see them play live.
My memory is that the gig was pretty good – especially ‘Where’s Me Jumper’ with its classic chorus :
“Dancing in the disco,
Bumper to bumper,
Wait a minute,
Where’s me jumper?!?”
I can’t remember much else about the visit. Presumably we had the obligatory conversation about how the Guinness tastes better in Ireland. I might have had half an hour looking round Trinity College but that’s about it.
So this visit to Dublin for my Irish 10 km felt like a first time visit. And Dublin was everything its craicked up to be. Fun, friendly and full of booze and live music. (Sitting in a Dublin pub on a Sunday afternoon with live music at one end and Spurs winning away on TV at the other end is hard to beat.)
However, visiting lots of different cities in different countries in succession gives you a different perspective from the average tourist. In particular, I’ve started noticing how different moments in history are key in different countries. In Berlin, we kept coming up against WWII, reunification and the wall coming down. In Poland, WWII and Solidarity figured highly.
In Dublin, it felt like the key event was independence from the UK. Our hotel was on Parnell St. (named after Charles Stewart Parnell founder of the Irish Parliamentary Party), just off O’Connell St (named after Daniel O’Connell, the Liberator or Emancipator). The Little Museum of Dublin (highly recommended) focused heavily on the period from the Easter Rising in 1916 to the formation of Irish Free State in 1922. The majority of history books in the book shops were about, or related to, that period.
And how was the run? I was joined by Liz, Freya (11) and Sienna (8) for the first 5 km. We ran along the Liffey River from the Ha’penny Bridge to Phoenix Park and back. Flat, lots to see and plenty of red lights to rest at so pretty good for the youngsters. The second 5 km involved me running east along the Liffey to the Docks and back. Still flat, plenty to see, but fewer red lights – and something of a wind tunnel so good one way and tough the other.
It’s odd how, when you run at someone else’s pace, its more tiring. Even when, as with the first 5 km, that pace is slower than your usual pace. However, that little extra tiredness was more than made up for by my parental pride that the girls had actually completed their first ever 5 km run.
Date : 21st October, 2013
Time : 1h 3’ 42”
Total Distance Run to date : 60 km