I went on vacation. That should be obvious from the picture of the 17th-century royal crest I found in the subterranean crypt of an Irish Protestant church. I know it screams "kickin' back."
It had been three years since my last escape from New York, when I went to the North of England and discovered the Withnail house. Those of you who know what I'm talking about, know how huge that was.
|2009. In front of the abandoned house used to shoot Crow Crag.|
|Me in "One Man, Two Guvnors" on Broadway with James Corden|
In London, I was able to catch up with lots of great Brits with whom I shared the stage this summer in "One Man, Two Guvnors" on Broadway. I also saw some old friends, and made some new. In Cornwall I got to lounge around in St. Ives, hike over to Land's End, travel down to the Minack Theatre, which is built into the side of a dramatic cliff face in Porthcurno, and I got to have my first "cream tea."
|A cream tea in a town called St. Just|
I also took a day to go to Brighton, where "One Man, Two Guvnors" is set. Actor Martyn Ellis and I discovered the real pub which inspired the action of the play, The Cricketers Arms.
It's where sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth worked and lived for much of her life. I'd never heard of her before I went to Cornwall, nor did I know much about modern sculpture. - but I enjoyed the exhibit enough to steal one of her sculptures for what I'm dubbing my "artist photo."
I then went to Ireland...
|Knocknarea, Co Sligo, Ireland|
... where, as you can see, an Ulster Bank cash machine ate my debit card. I can't give enough thanks to my most generous hostess in Sligo for lending me many Euros to see me through the rest of my stay. Muireann, I promise I will get your money back to you, even though it looks like I've scarpered and have the perfect excuse for being a deadbeat about it!
And oh yes, I saw some things in Sligo besides a belligerent bank machine eating my life. Here are a couple of them:
|A large neolithic tomb at Carrowmore. Approx 6,000 years old!|
|The view of the seaside at beautiful windswept Strandhill, facing the Atlantic Ocean.|
|A typical street in the city of Sligo.|
|Sligo, in a rare moment of sunshine.|
I also went to Dublin, on the other side of the country...
|Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin|
|St. Stephen's Green, Dublin|
I did a tour on my second day in Dublin called The 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour. I highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting the city. Guide Lorcan Collins takes you to all of the places relevant to the historic armed uprising carried out in 1916 in Dublin. Bullet holes in the sides of Georgian columns tell a chilling tale of what went down that Easter Week, in a city that was once a stronghold of English power. The Irish Republican Brotherhood lit the match on a powder keg that Easter Monday, when they took over the General Post Office as their battle-station. The insurrection was quickly put down, and its leaders all executed, but the event would lead to the larger, more successful rebellion that would separate most of Ireland from England in 1922. (Obviously, this did not represent the end of violent turmoil between the two countries ... but it was a start.) And though I knew very little about the 1916 Rebellion going in, and couldn't testify to the verity of the facts on offer by my tour guide, Lorcan spoke with such authority on the topic that I feel confident believing every word he said - to the point of wanting to read a book on the event to make sure. Lorcan was funny, passionate, and extremely literate on all facets of Irish history.
Here are some meaningless snaps from the tour:
|Short on aesthetics, but long on significance, the Liberty Hall stands at 16 stories, commemorating the 1916 Easter Rising. It houses the Services, Industrial, Professional, and Technical Union.|
Just outside the General Post Office (one of the sites taken siege by the armed rebels in 1916) stands a statue of Jim Larkin, labor organizer and co-founder of the Irish Citizen Army, formed in response to violent strike-breaking during a labor lockout in 1913.
|Plaque referring to the violence perpetrated during the Dublin Lock-Out of 1913.|
|City Hall - another battle site of the 1916 Rebellion.|
|A plaque commemorating members of the Irish Citizens Army who died at City Hall.|
|And perhaps the most incredible part of all: THEY STILL HAVE TOWER RECORDS IN DUBLIN!|
|The Oldest Pub in Ireland. I went in here for lunch, and all I heard were American accents all around me. Bloody typical!|
|Statue of Charles II of England, with his nose mysteriously lopped off. |
Still - it's a better fate than befell his dad.
|The interior of the lovely Trocadero restaurant in Dublin. Popular with theater types, it's essentially the Sardi's of Dulin. Faces line the walls, and I swear I heard one or two "deals" go down.|