Saturday, February 28, 2004

The secret order of the Irish poets

Here at The Towers at the Jurys Ballsbridge Hotel, the floors are named after different famous Irish writers:
Floor 1: Oliver St. John Gogarty
Floor 2: Oscar Wilde
Floor 3: Patrick Kavanagh
Floor 4: Samuel Beckett
Floor 5: George Bernard Shaw
Floor 6: Sean O'Casey
Floor 7: James Joyce
Floor 8: William Butler Yeats
This isn't the way I'd number them, of course. In my hotel, Gogarty would still be at the bottom (no good really, except as inspiration for the character of Buck Mulligan in Ulysses), but Beckett would be right at the top. Joyce and Shaw would battle for the seventh floor, while Yeats would set up shop on the fifth. Wilde would languidly nibble at cucumber sandwiches on the fourth floor and O'Casey would settle in comfortably on the third, look up at the literary luminaries above him and ask, what is the stars, what is the stars?

Kavanagh willl have to settle for the second floor. Sorry, Kavanagh, but it's some stiff competition...

I'm staying on the fourth floor and am greeted by a giant brooding bust of Beckett each time I step off the elevator. And I'm very pleased to note that of all the buttons on the elevator, only the one to the fourth floor doesn't light up when pressed. This is by accident, of course, not design, but no less enjoyable for it.


-- Inspired by the wrinkly bust on my floor, I went to the local bookstore and picked up James Knowlson's biography of Beckett, which has the rather dumb title of Damned to Fame. I'm enjoying it quite a bit so far and have to remind myself to put it down and get out and explore Dublin. [New York Times review of Damned to Fame.]

-- I welcome alternative rankings of the Irish scribes at uncascrooge at hotmail dot com.

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