The first time that I came to Dublin was, if I recall, in April 2008. I was attending a workshop, hosted by CTVR, the research center that is currently hosting my sabbatical, and they had just moved into a building, Dunlop Oriel House just outside the Trinity College Dublin campus. (That’s right. The building in which I currently occupy a corner office has a Wikipedia page. So there.) On that particular visit, I had the pleasure of staying in guest quarters in college (that’s “on campus” for ye Americans). I don’t go in much for travel souvenirs, but during that trip I found the perfect one: A Guinness pint glass. I found it, abandoned by someone leaving a pub, on a short wall between the back gate of the Trinity Campus and Dunlop Oriel House.
It has been a perfect souvenir. I used it in my home office in Blacksburg, usually to drink water, several times a week. And, each time, it reminded me of my trips to Dublin and my friends here.
Since coming here in late June, I’ve come to know that finding an empty pint glass on a Dublin street isn’t exactly a rare occurrence. But most of the abandoned glasses that I’ve seen have been emblazoned with the logos of cheap American beers, and I’ve refused to pick them up. (Don’t get me started on the generally sorry state of craft beer in Ireland—a post for another day.) Becky did find a Heineken glass in our driveway after a soccer game one morning, but I doubt if we’ll haul it back to America.
Since arriving here, I’ve also enjoyed a pint of Guinness on a number of occasions. And, on the occasions when it is served in an actual Guinness pint glass, I’ve admired the design of the new glasses. They have a sculpted harp on one side, and the harp motif is carried into the shape of the lower part of the glass, providing some ridges that make the glass easier to hold. I even thought about buying a set, although I really have more pint glasses in Blacksburg than one man really needs.
I went into the office this morning. Upon making my coffee, I found, to my annoyance, that we were out of sugar. I was annoyed because I bought the last two bags of communal sugar, and the previous bag ran out before I left for the holidays. Yet no one else had stepped up to replace it. So, despite knowing that it would likely be closed, I slipped out of the office door and down the street to the convenience store. The store was, in fact, closed but there, on the sidewalk in front of Centra, I found my souvenir.