Those of you that know me know that I absolutely hate crowds and shopping. Places like Times Square or the Champs-Elysees make me break out in hives. So, imagine my surprise as I find myself falling in love with Dublin’s main shopping and tourist thoroughfare, Grafton Street.
I walk through Grafton Street every night on my commute home and instead of stressing me out, it calms me. I love that it is pedestrian only. I don’t have to worry about any wayward cars or buses, and I don’t have to make sure that I am looking the correct way when I cross the street. I love that it is home to Irish institutions like Bewley’s, but that there is also a McDonald’s (not that I am eating there!) and a Tim Horton’s – these little reminders of home put a smile on my face.
But most of all I love the music. As one walks the length of Grafton Street you get the privilege of listening to a stunning variety of music as various buskers try to earn a few euros. The line-up changes everyday. One recent commute started with an aboriginal throat singer, segued to a trumpeter doing some selections from the American Songbook, then a few steps further on a couple truly fantastic guys singing with an acoustic guitar, then a bassoonist (yes, a bassoonist) and finally, under the beautifully lit up Christmas Tree, some carolers.
How can someone who strives to lead a creative life do anything but smile when hearing and seeing these artists? Yes, some are better than others – the throat singer was a little freaky while the guys with the guitar seriously need a record deal. But they are all out there and, at least in my head, they are doing it because they love it. They are doing it because they are artists and they have to. And I’m down with that. And Grafton Street, I love you for it.