31 March 2009

Sage Advice in the Fourth of Dublin's Crown Jewels

Just before I got on the plane in Manchester the other day ,a German fella in the boarding queue asked me if there was anything in Dublin he shouldn't miss under any circumstances. Well, I didn't even blink. The Treasury of the National Museum, I said. The Long Room. The Chester Beatty Library. And Mulligans. Ah, Mulligans. Forget your Guinness Storehouse, except for the view. If it's a decent pint you want, Mulligans stands supreme.

I've been a largely teetotal gargoyle of late, but felt that if I was going to have even one drink at home it'd have to be there, so after lunch and an anxious blood donation yesterday I hooked up with an old friend of mine and sauntered into that most special of Dublin hostelries, where I was glad to see Pat Ingoldsby in the corner, improbably not flogging books on Westmoreland Street.

Hunched over our pints, my former protegee told me of a dilemma facing her about going to Rome. Ought she to go pronto, as planned, or take some highly opportune work first, though this would mean that her travelling partner, less well-trained in Roman ways than her, would have to find his own way in the Eternal City for a month or so.

'Sure, tell him not to worry,' I said. 'After all, there are only three things he really needs to know if he wants to get by in Rome.'
'Oh?' she said, raising an eyebrow.
'One,' I said, 'it wasn't built in a day. Tell him to remember that. Two,' I continued, 'all roads lead there. Except maybe that one that's paved with good intentions. And three --'
'Do what the Romans do?' she ventured.
'Exactly! Follow their lead. When you're there, at any rate. Sure, if that was a good enough policy for Ambrose of Milan, it ought to be good enough for the likes of us.'

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a lecture to attend.

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