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Living off the Irish experience

So someone asked me if I was considering dual citizenship anytime soon. That's a clever remark aimed for a laugh and nothing more.

I'll tell you this, though. The last night at my Dublin hotel - owned by Bono and The Edge no less - was in Temple Bar, the hottest spot for pubs and music. All I had to do was walk out the back entrance onto an old cobblestone street blocked off from traffic and let the party roll. I couldn't help myself getting into the spirit with a liveliness in my gait. Ireland does that to its visitors.

I went to Gallagher's, a famous landmark pub, and ate one last traditional Irish lamb stew and slice of soda bread before leaving on a jet plane the next afternoon. The place was rocking, and louder than I appreciate anymore; yet the food and company were outstanding.

The street was jammed with tourists and locals, and I wisely waited until the next morning to go up and down with my camera minus any interruptions. Temple Bar parties hard and lies low in the wee hours apparently. That's where I discovered an Irish bookstore - independents are all over Ireland - and found the best collection of contemporary Irish short stories edited by Lucy Caldwell. I am relishing each one and feeling the sensations all over again from my living room. Those Irish have known how to put pen to paper from the days of Yeats and Joyce.

Getting back to Bono, back in the late 90s U2 were regulars at The Clarence Hotel, and that's when it was purchased. Check out the picture below to note that it is a rather discreet place tucked away at the end of Temple Bar. Now there are varying opinions on whether or not Bono actually owns the hotel anymore. I'll go with the front desk clerk's comment when she told me that Bono has a permanent corner suite.

The famous Octagon Bar is where Bono will hang out - he was there the week before me according to my taxi driver - and it is quite a unique spot. The stained glass octagon-shaped roof is the focal point of the intimate bar, otherwise it is a rather dark space.

Sometimes at night when I am falling asleep, I envision the liveliness and general happiness of the Irish having their nights out and letting the work worries push aside. They are an optimistic bunch for sure. Maybe that's a good lesson for the rest of us.

Bono, where are you?

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