herald

Monday 11 December 2017

The things you DON'T need to do in Dublin before you die

St Patrick's Day in Dublin - do you really need it?
St Patrick's Day in Dublin - do you really need it?
Crowds at Rte Radio 1's Joe Duffy Show Christmas Eve Broadcast from Grafton Street Dublin
Pol O Conghaile queues for the Book of Kells
Participants make their way up Fitzwilliam Place at the start of the Airtricity Dublin Marathon 2014. Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin

Bucket lists. Aren’t you sick to – ahem – death of them?

Not just bucket lists, but all those “things you must do before you die/turn thirty/get married/go insane” commandments. 1000 albums you must own, 500 films you must see, 13 obscure foods you must eat, 79 hipster hotels you must visit.

Why must we do this, go there, read that? What will any of this add to our lives? Perhaps more importantly, what will happen if we refuse the challenge – will some achingly cool over-achiever beat us up?

And where will it all end? Fifteen venereal diseases you must contract! Eight serial killers you must copycat! A billion stupid lists you must write out and relentlessly complete, as though you were a pre-programmed cyborg and not a human being going through a normal life.

Existence is being reduced to a series of tasks to be ticked off, a tsunami of pointless BS for people to put up on Facebook. Let’s rebel against all this rubbish with a list of things not to do before you die. We begin, obviously, with this one:

• Don’t write or read lists of things you must do.

• Don’t “experience Grafton Street” on Christmas Eve. It’ll be packed tighter than a Japanese sardine tin.

• Don’t “experience St Patrick’s Day” anywhere in Dublin. Unless you also want to “experience” the rare but rather unpleasant sensation of your head in a high-speed interface with some gouger’s boot/fist/bottle of Buckfast.

• Don’t go to Forbidden Planet and purchase the entire Sandman series of comic-books, unless you’re a kid. They’re pretty good, but they’re just comics.

• Don’t check out the Book of Kells in Trinity. It’s basically just the medieval church version of a comic-book. And you’re not even allowed pick it up and flick through the pages, for God’s sake.

• Don’t be inspired by Dublin’s tremendous literary heritage to write your own book. While everyone may – I stress may – “have a book inside them”, the statistical odds are that yours will be unreadably terrible.

• Don’t visit Kilmainham Gaol. Props to the Easter Rising leaders, but it’s grey and depressing. As you would expect, in fairness. Go next year by all means but keep it as an once-in-a-century thing.

• Don’t visit Glasnevin Cemetary. Even more depressing. It’s full of dead people, sure.

• Don’t visit Dail Eireann. It’s like Glasnevin, squared.

• Don’t eat coddle. Jaysus, does anyone even know what coddle is?

• Don’t trek out to Killiney and try to sneak into Bono’s property. The fences are electrified and he loves nothing more than muttering, Monty Burns-style, “Release the hounds.”

• Don’t swim in the Forty Foot on Christmas Day. An unholy combination of certifiable masochism and self-aggrandising posturing.

• Don’t run the Dublin City Marathon. For reasons, see “Forty Foot” entry above.

• Don’t bother having a pint in “Ireland’s oldest pub”, The Brazen Head, supposedly established in 1198. It used to be cool, but then everyone started saying they liked it from the 14th century on, and it went totally mainstream, man…

• Don’t write or read lists of things you must do.

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