Trinity College, just across from my hotel, had its Trinity Ball on Friday, featuring music on several stages. I was unaware of the event but was up early on Saturday morning and wanted to visit the campus and so had the chance to survey the wreckage personally, after persuading an Eastern European security guard to let me in the Pearse Street gate at about 7 am. All the other gates were shut tight. There were quite a few students in tuxedos and formal dresses still pounding down beers at that hour, as workmen dismantled the pavilions and stages erected for the event.
At 8 am I met another group of students having breakfast at the McDonalds on Grafton Street. One chipper student’s shoes and lower legs were caked with black mud, as if she spent the night digging for clams in formal dress.
The campus is attractive and the trees are in bloom. Other than the overflowing garbage bins and the odd collection of cans and bottles it looked like an appealing place to study.
Afterward there was a story in the Irish Independent newspaper indicating that one of the musicians, Jessie J, was shocked, shocked at the wanton drunkenness of the students who paid to bring her to Trinity:
Following her performance on Friday night, the singer…took to Twitter to rant about the drunken Irish girls at the gig: “Just came off stage at trinity ball. Probably one of the hardest gigs to date,” she raged. “To see so many people so drunk they couldn’t even stand. Girls unconscious and (students were) literally trampling on each other. It wasn’t easy.”
The singer, who has had a stellar rise to fame over the past year, later posted: “I’m not upset they weren’t all listening. It upset me to see so many young people so not with it. I’m not used to it,” she said.
“It’s hard to sing when I just wanted to go into the crowd and help all the crying girls who were being squashed.”
The poor dear. For the record, I saw no squashed girls on the campus, although they might have been pried out of the mud before I got there. (Jessie J’s number 2 debut single, Do It Like A Dude, is a heavily autotuned and calculated bit of pop garbage).
The Book of Kells is housed at Trinity but I skipped the exhibition as I am over my museum quota. Instead I spent my Saturday night having a few pints at the Padraig Pearse pub near my hotel. Its namesake was the Irish patriot and revolutionary who, along with his brother and thirteen others, was executed by the English after the Easter Rebellion in 1916. I enjoyed speaking with the bartender, the son of the owner, who said that Pearse’s nephew, 78 years old, had been into the bar earlier and he would have been glad to introduce me to him had he known I was interested in Irish history. The place was lively; two women visiting from Wales turned the place upside down with their antics.