Saturday, 14 August 2010



One day last week, started off from the landmark Toll Hut at newly re-furbished St Luke’s , down through Wellington Road.

Off to the Glucksman in the grounds of UCC where two impressive exhibitions are on view. Down the Western Road then and passed some unsightly vacant lots and old mansions that have seen better days.

Spotted the spires of St Finn Barre’s through the sharp modern architecture of the River Lee Hotel and nearby buildings. Passed the shabby City Library as tourists got off their bus. They were looking at it too and not with admiration!

Was thinking about the walk. Wellington Road has seen better days but Western Road is now more of an eyesore. It is not alone. The Celtic Tiger has vanished but we still have the long grass.

I remembered, with the aid of Google, a poem by the Greek Cavafy (1863 - 1933) where a city was paralyzed because “the barbarians are to arrive today”.

If the past is anything to go, we’ll have the long grass and the wild weeds and worse eyesores for some time to come, just like those unfortunate people in Cobh will have no running water for months ahead. Barbarians at the gate? No. More like lethargy inside the city walls.

That fictional city was just as paralysed when the barbarians did not materialise.
And now what shall become of us without any barbarians?
Those people were some kind of solution.

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