Sunday best: Afternoon pint

I'm not a big drinker. But there is something about sitting in a Dublin pub in the afternoon and nursing a Guinness. Throw in a grilled cheese sandwich and you've got one of my favourite meals.

It's always nice to take the Sunday papers or a book to the pub. And in the good ones, you'll be asked what you're reading and you may get an education on all the books you ought to read. Or you'll do the crossword in the paper and the publican will pull down the dictionary and offer a tidbit on the etymology of this or that word. All this has happened to me in Irish pubs.

And it's a million miles from the Fionn MacCools and Tir na nOgs of Canada. And if you spent a half hour with me in the right Dublin pub, you'd know why I won't go near those places and you'd start to wonder what they were thinking too. Because it's got nothing to do with the celtic font or waitresses in a kilts.

It's built up over decades of routine and familiarity, over slow rituals and rowdy nights and whispered conversations. It's the guy who grandstands and the barman who's been there since you were a whelp at college. And it's the lore of the place, which you take with a pinch of salt but also revere.

And you know you're not part of that lore, you're just a person who passes through once in awhile to bear witness to all of it.

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