A Traveller’s Tale by Mary Newsome of ‘Dave’s’ educational Dublin tour.
An appendix to Mary Newsome’s Diary of her first visit to Dublin in 1994. Mary took a ‘Heritage Bus Tour of Dublin’ on 5 September 1994 with Dave. It took her only a few minutes to realise that she was dealing with comedy gold and to record the travelogue. The entire bus kept erupting with footstamping and applause which only spurred Dave on to new heights. If you can identify Dave, please let us know.
Well, as the Bishop said to the shepherd – ‘Let’s get the flock out of here’. [Travelling North along O’Connell St.]. See that yellow bus on the right – that wee little dinky thing? New in Dublin this little past time, we call them the Fisher Price buses.
[Passing the Rotunda, one of the earliest maternity hospitals in Europe] It opened its doors in 1745, and it’s never been able to close them again. Born there myself, I was – Caesarean section. Never bothered me at all, it did, until about five years ago, I bought a Lancia, and, driving around these roads in Ireland, I had an uncontrollable urge to get out through the sun roof.
[Travelling south along O’Connell St]. Y’see that beer truck out the right – see the barrels. I was caught in traffic the other day and got to thinking there are 140 barrels on a truck. Anyway, each keg holds 96 pint. Which means there are 13,824 pints of Smithies. [Passing the statue of Capuchin monk, Father Theobald Matthew of the 19th century temperance movement.] Speaking of dipsos (no-one here from the Tourist Board, is there?), he died after being knocked down by a Guinness truck. No, seriously now, he died of cirrhosis of the liver.
See that spot? Nelson’s Pillar stood there for a hundred or so years, until some years back it was blown up by terrorists and Nelson became the first European astronaut. Someone asked me the other day, ‘Where is Nelson’s Pillar?’ and I said I thought it was somewhere around the Sea of Tranquillity …they left a fifteen foot stump, quite neat and not a pane of glass broken, but when it had to be got rid of and the Army was called in and blew it up with all their explosives, there were no windows left intact for a quarter mile round…Now, I don’t want to say anything against the Army. There are 14,000 in the Irish Army. We were going to invade Britain but realised there would be nowhere to keep the prisoners.
Did y’hear about the fellow who went into hospital and his doctor said to him ‘I’ve got good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that I’ve got to amputate both your feet; the good news – the fellow in the next bed wants to buy your slippers’. [Long sigh] Tomorrow in the paper the headline will read ‘Escaped convict with Bad Sense of Humour Steals Tour Bus’. That’s Kildare Street, named after a very famous doctor.
Did y’hear the one about the little girl who noticed her Mum with a big stomach? She was pregnant, y’see. So the little girl says to her Mum, ‘why is your belly so big?’ Mum didn’t really know what to say, so she thought a bit and then she said, ‘Daddy gave me a baby’. The little girl began to cry quite bad, ran outside to the garden where her Dad was, and said, crying her eyes out, ‘Daddy, did you give Mummy a baby?’ Dad was a bit upset but he said, ‘Yes, my little one, I did. But why are you so sad?’ The little girl said through her tears, ‘I think she’s eaten it’.
Now, Oscar Wilde was born here, but when he grew up, got into bad practices, so a friend took him for a holiday to Paris to try to get him out of these ways. They were staying in a hotel, the friend had to go out, and Oscar got the bellhop into bed. The friend came back and said, ‘Oh Oscar, you promised me you’d turn over a new leaf!’ ‘I will, I will, just as soon as I get to the bottom of this page!’
Down the end of the street there, is St. Stephen’s Church or the Pepperpot (we have the way here in Dublin of calling things names): St Stephen’s Church is the Pepperpot, the Natural History Museum the Dead Zoo.
See that door there, that’s where Arthur Wellesley was born. He fought against Napoleon and became the Duke of Wellington and the first Dublin-born person to become Prime Minister of England. However, he wasn’t proud of his birthplace and tried to pretend he was an Englishman: ‘Just because a man is born in a stable doesn’t mean he’s a horse’.
That’s the Liffey, or as we say when it’s at low tide, the Squiffy Liffey.
[For the Americans, patter about Al Gore & Dan Quayle]. ‘At least, Al can spell potatoes’. I get a lot of material from Dan Quayle. D’you know he wanted to learn Latin so he could go to Latin America?
‘Who are the four presidents not buried on American soil?’ [Pause] …’Reagan, Carter, Ford and Bush’. The American President is going to pay us a visit … we want to know if she’s bringing her husband.
[Talk about the Guinness family] A lovely generous family with a lot of bad luck….You’ll notice all the Guinness statues are seated. Must have something to do with their famous brew.
…horses, splashes of colour – mind you don’t tread in them. My mother was famous for her roses and when asked how she did it, she said it was all because of the milkman’s horse. I used to have to run after them with a dustpan…I don’t like horses, nor roses much either, come to that.
Did y’hear about the three fellows who booked into a Bed & Breakfast late one night? The landlady said to them: ‘There’s only one problem – I’ve got a 16 year-old son who’s a lovely boy but he’s got no ears and is very sensitive about this, so don’t mention it to him’. They agreed and next morning at breakfast, the first one said to the lad: ‘You’ve got the most powerful legs – you’ll probably be a great runner or jumper – y’must take care of your legs’. The boy was very pleased. Then the second one said: ‘You’ve got the most sensitive and powerful hands – you’ll probably be a concert pianist. You must take great care of your hands’. Then the third one, who was a bit dim, said: ‘You’ve got the most magnificent and beautiful eyes – you must look after your eyes, because y’won’t be able to wear glasses’.
[Passing the statue of Molly Malone] She’s got a good set of muscles. We call her the Tart with the Cart.
Now, can y’all breathe in please…it’s a bit tight [going through a narrow space between cars] …D’you think this car would like a green stripe? …Tell me when it’s safe to open me eyes….It’s good practice for me driving test – that’s in four months time (assuming the eye operation is successful). Actually, I sat for me driving test eight years ago, but failed – but the boss doesn’t know.
D’you know the Brewery puts out two and a half million pints every day – that’s about three and a half weeks of good drinking for me and me brother.
A gentleman got in the bus yesterday – he was bald on top and had a big bushy beard. I said to him: ‘Excuse me, sir, but I think your head’s on upside down’.
Could anyone hazard a guess as to why Dean Swift was buried in St Patrick’s? Because he died.
This is a weird way to make a living – telling lies to visitors. If anyone had told me five years ago I’d be doing this, I would have said go back into the bar. (Long sigh) If my probation officer could see me now.
Mary Newsome, scribe for Dave of Dublin Heritage Bus Tours.
See: https://tintean.org.au/?p=8993 for Mary’s dairy and sketches of her trip.