Yesterday I took my American dog on a walking tour of the rubbish that litters the parts of Dublin West I grew up in.
We were out for an hour, in what to an outsider would appear to be park land but is of course drinking land.
So apart from picking our steps through the broken glass, the most common item on the ground were empty cans of cider.
Back when I was of illegal drinking age I never did understand the point of cider parties. For one there was never any music, or nibbles even; it was all just drink, banter, and a large bonfire.
But more importantly why on earth would boys about to be men, who were unable to take the stout, choose cider as their rubbish drink of choice in a land where we we always had Smithwicks? I know when I was of a teenager it took me just the two pints of that filth to persuade me I was ready for the stout and getting up on that surfboard.
Anyway the empty cans of cider that me and dog saw were all dotted around, and not in piles, so perhaps the parties have had their day, or maybe now in this faster go-go Ireland people walk and party at the same time?
Beer bottle tops were the next most frequent piece of litter we saw. The odd thing about them - for me anyway, the dog seemed non-plussed - was that of the 50-plus bottle tops we saw, there were only 2 different brands of beer. Can you guess them?
In the 70s it would have been Guinness and Smithwicks. Since then the teens of Dublin have been through a whole range of imports and I would have guessed wrong myself. Budweiser and MGD. Which is probably why my American dog was unmoved. It’s to soon for trash-inspired homesickness.
Saddened by imported litter I decided to look up. And started to read the graffiti. This really is a nostalgia festival, for reading the graffiti in my Dublin is like looking at the rings of a tree. You don’t even have to be from our neighborhoods to appreciate the ages of the names and slogans - because conveniently every piece is dated. Now I know it’s the norm to sign and date decorative mural style and multi-coloured pieces, but the graffiti I’m talking about is the single colour courier font of graffiti.
But then I was disturbed by the litter on the ground again. Because I came across many discarded empty plastic bottles. Of what? Of water. When I say many I can tell you I counted about 20. As I was trying to digest the meaning of this I saw another empty plastic bottle. Not of water this time but a Rock Shandy.
Can it be that the Ireland I have returned to has a problem with under-age non-drinking?
More of my Dublin:
• Somebody in my Class Liked U2
• The Walls of Dublin: Photos
• Corporal Punishment in my Dublin School
• The Grand Canal in Dublin: Photos
• Irish Parental Advice
• Signs From The Gods #1