From quiet Dunshaughlin to Dublin’s inner gutter.

The last 3 weeks have been slightly different in regards to my work environment. I’ve moved from the rural settings of Dunshauglin, Co. Meath to a small lane just off Talbot Street. For those not familiar with Dublin, it’s hard to explain what a strange city it is sometimes, and even harder to describe the variations of colourful people that inhabit it. Talbot street seems like one of the favourite hangouts for all the weirdo’s and junkies – and there are many of them.

Mind, Dunshaughlin had a weird dude too. (Yes, One!). He used to hang out on the bench around from the school where I worked. He was drunk most of the time, looked dirty and smelled funny. He also loved to have a chat with me when I was having a ciggie on said bench. He was harmless but slightly scary, but he’s nothing in comparison to the Talbot street locals.

Now, on a daily basis, I see junkies everywhere. No matter what time of the day, they’re off their frigging heads. I had my first experience of seeing someone shoot heroin up their arm only last week, on the doorsteps of my office. What do you do? Nothing. The guards can’t do anything, the shelters are full. You blissfully ignore it and carry on. That is off course, until something really fucked up happens.

We had a party in our offices on Friday (the punch was divine). About an hour before kick-off, a man and a woman get into a fight outside our doorstep. He hammered the crap out of her, she scratched his eyes out. The guards showed up, chased the fella away and tried to talk to the woman, with little success. After a while, the guards went on to their other duties. The woman, battered quite heavily and not really able to walk, stayed laying on the steps.

As the party people starting trickling in, the fella returned. They argued a little more as he was trying to get her up. He gave up on that and joined her on the doorstep. No more beating. Then he took out his needle and started prepping it. Rolled up his jumper and injected it into his tummy. Then he injected it into the woman, who was asleep by now, after which he started caressing her, kissing her and putting his hands in places not man should touch a sleeping woman. This is when we rang the guards to come back.

Which they did.It took them took several efforts to wake the two of them up but they managed to do so. And then, they moved them on to somewhere else. It’s all they can do.

It’s a sad affair this city – sometimes – certainly when you witness it from its dirty underbelly.


10 thoughts on “From quiet Dunshaughlin to Dublin’s inner gutter.

  1. Tommy Kavanagh says:

    Its a wonderful city, a sad city, a challenging city, an invigorating city, a lousy city, a fantastic place to be, a crap hole of the highest proportions, a wonderful dilemma, yet a terrible reality. That is in my experience the city effect. It depends on your perspective – you’d probably pick only one set of those descriptors. But, I think, what you describe – while yes shocking, is probably not particularly different to most cities of comparable size and where measured on a scale of similar societal progression. Your witness of such dramatic and shocking events remind me of when you see a photo documentary of domestic abuse and/or violence perhaps inclusive of drug abuse. It means many things but should always serve to remind you of the good fortune you have personally to not be involved in abusive relationships, to be articulate, educated, worldly and knowledgeable, not abusive (or abused) of/by destructive substances, to have people who love and care for you around you. It is thus of extreme proportions – the events which you witnessed. While Dunshaughlin is probably not unlike most of rural towns of Ireland with it’s ubiquitous local drunk who smells badly – probably has fallen to the grog or perhaps the dark dog of depression controls the innate desire to self medicate on the cheapest available alcoholic crap which one could conceivably consume. It is a hundred million miles away from public acts of violence towards other human beings. There are strange phenomena in such situations where if you or others had tried to intervene, the victim is just as likely to rise to the protection of the abuser. It is indeed a funny old city, in a very strange world. Keep yourself safe and always have a exit plan regardless of your environment. Probably reasonable advice.

    1. sNarah says:

      I’m not too sure if I agree with you fully Tommy… I’ve travelled quite a bit and I have never seen as many junkies and public drug use as in Dublin. We have our fair share of hobo’s in Brussels, but they are nothing in comparison and not nearly as visible. In Australia, the same, in some cities Aboriginals cause trouble but again, they’re not very visible in the cityscape. So I’m not sure what it is with Dublin, why is there so many of them, why are they so visible, what has gone wrong?

  2. aafke says:

    Drink&intoxication seem to be more or less acceptable and sometimes even regarded as being funny and an absolute must for enjoying.
    Drugs&addiction probably have taken a similar position in certain parts of society and not only in what is called the ‘dirty underbelly’.
    Every big city has these side effects, but obviousy not all cities allow them in open view/public spaces or know how to deal with them.

    thinking of it…..ABSOLUT fringe…..
    (and i don’t mean that with a smile, or maybe i do)

    ABSOLUT is vodka

    “Absolut is committed to providing the tools necessary for our customers to make responsible drinking decisions.”
    [quote taken from ABSOLUT website]

    “fringe (frnj)
    1. A decorative border or edging of hanging threads, cords, or strips, often attached to a separate band.
    2. Something that resembles such a border or edging.
    3. A marginal, peripheral, or secondary part: “They like to hang out on the geographical fringes, the seedy outposts” (James Atlas).
    4. Those members of a group or political party holding extreme views: the lunatic fringe.
    5. Any of the light or dark bands produced by the diffraction or interference of light.
    6. A fringe benefit.”
    [explanation taken from The Free Dictionary]

    1. sNarah says:

      Yes – but. They are only reason the festival is able to operate as they do now. Little funding, lack of resources, … means that art companies have to gain sponsorship through other resources. Which is why the Dublin Film Festival is sponsored by Jameson, so is moviefest. ABSOLUT also sponsor Kilkenny Arts festival and have been heavily involved in funding the arts since the early seventies, with product embracer extraordinaire Andy Warhol even creating art for them.
      So, yes, the festival is sponsored by an alcohol brand but I’m pretty confident that none of the partygoers will be found injecting heroin in their arms on the darkest corners of Dublin…

      1. aafke says:

        ah loh, ik bedoelde er verder niets mee, vond het alleen een grappig woordspel.
        de echte reactie stond in de eerste drie zinnen. ‘k had erbij moeten zetten dat ik me hetzelfde afvroeg als jij. ‘t blijkt elke keer dat m’n engels toch niet toereikend is. 😦

  3. Sharrow says:

    There is a methadone clinic near by and so you have a desperate drug culture on those streets, making them some of the most grimy and intimidating in the city.

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