Several years ago, we had an incredible opportunity to spend a couple of weeks in Dublin with Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Angela’s Ashes, Teacher Man and ‘Tis. Frank hosted the PBS special, Historic Pubs of Dublin, broadcast in March 2008. As host, Frank took viewers on a tour of Dublin telling it’s history through the pubs of Dublin, including the Brazen Head (oldest pub in Ireland), Kavanaghs (the Gravediggers), O’Donoghues, Mulligans (pours the perfect pint), McDaids (former city morgue), Kehoes, Neary’s and Toners, with stops along the way at the Guinness Brewery, Jameson Distillery, Dublin Castle, Dublin Writer’s Museum, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ’s Church and Trinity College.
The highlight of our time there were the down times where we were able to get to know Frank as well as you can know someone in two weeks as we hung on every word of his time in Dublin. It was a very special two weeks for all of us as, many times, we all felt like we were eavesdropping on Frank’s Trinity College days as he returned to Dublin, if for even a short period of time. To hear his comments on the likes of Brendan Behan (a drinker with a writing problem), James Joyce and Oscar Wilde were priceless.
A St. Patrick’s Day toast
St. Patrick’s Day and every day, for that matter, just will never be the same without Frank since he passed away in July of 2009, but I’m very thankful for those very special two weeks in Dublin back in 2007. Several times, Frank would raise a glass at the conclusion of 12+ hour shooting days and offer a traditional Irish toast. I know he wouldn’t mind me repeating one of them in his absence this St. Patrick’s Day as we raise a pint glass in Frank’s direction.
“May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.”