10 December 2004

Death of a Dublin caf

Goodbye to the ghost of James Joyce, licking his fingers over sticky buns and drinking the only cup of coffee in the country that didn't taste like heated-up bog water... A reminiscence of Bewley's, described by Irish poet Brendan Kennelly as "the heart and hearth of Dublin": Her name was Attracta. She had eyes like mountain lakes and a faint smell of freshly gathered hay about her. On that long ago wet Thursday afternoon we sat among the coloured tiles and bustle of tea trays in Bewley's café in Dublin. I can't recall the conversation, only the memory of scooping thickly creamed iced coffee out of elegant long stemmed glasses, every spoonful a glorious indulgence.