Agh! The Gargle!

January 19 2010

Dear Andy

Last Saturday a man and his wife asked me about one of my paintings from my James Joyce series. They were very English with that sort of accent of yesteryear one does not hear too often around the Costa del Sol. I was a little surprised when they told me that they had lived in Dublin and went to Trinity College back in the 1950s.

Trinity College is the old Alma Mater of Samuel Beckett the Nobel Prize winner in Literature. James Joyce was a graduate of University College, Dublin, part of the National University of Ireland. Joyce and Beckett struck up a friendship in the 1920s in Paris. Beckett acted as Secretary to Joyce for some time while Joyce was writing Finnegans Wake. Both were Dubliners. So am I.

I was curious, however, as to why this older English couple were so interested in the painting the title of which is “Good Puzzle would be to Cross Dublin without passing a Pub!” They became animated as the painting has about 20 pubs names on it that trade today under the same name as they did back in 1904.

They began to reminisce about their time in Dublin and it appears that like all good English men and women they were partial to the odd one eight of a gallon or two as young students in Dublin in the 50s.

The names of the pubs and their locations were a great source of merriment and brought forth stories of the craic that they had enjoyed as students back in Dublin. Their faces lit up as they remembered the names of the pubs and their locations around the City of Dublin.

In his writings Joyce mentioned about 100 different imbibing emporiums about 40 of which still trade under the same name over 100 years later.

Best regards,


PS: " It is a symbol of Irish art. The cracked looking-glass of a servant" (James Joyce)

332 words

Image: Good puzzle would be to cross Dublin without passing a pub!
By Roger Cummiskey –


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