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I escaped my country hole for a couple nights. I took the train to Dublin, past the sleepy fields and lone houses and quiet housing estates, until I reached that great city of old Georgian buildings and shiny steeples devoted to capitalism. I did city things: I shopped for the first time in months, ate ramen, and looked at art.

In the Douglas Hyde Gallery at Trinity, there was an exhibition on Traveller oral history; this is the same history that US-based businessman Peter Casey tried to undermine as he stumped for the Presidency and thank God lost to Michael D Higgins, a poet and sociologist, who imagines a republic for all. Paintings by Sean Scully in the Kerlin Gallery, abstract landscapes of the meeting between sky and sea. Art fair at the RHA, which my friend had a painting in.

At the art fair, I was taken by Claire Halpin's sociopolitical paintings that reminded me of Manuel Ocampo's apocalyptic work: tiny paintings of refugees piled in boats or desperately swimming toward some unknown future, as well as a panorama of a modern imperial landscape, complete with prison, grim resorts, and flag-waving crowds assembled for some political strongman. They miniaturise and isolate the world, distilling it into a more disturbing, immediately recognisable truth.

The next day in Galway, I bought books, met friends in cafes or bars, and attended the opening for TULCA, a contemporary art festival. In the places of my 30s, I felt a lot older. Restless. Obviously, I had outgrown this milieu, "the graveyard of ambitions", where you can easily pass the time in a cafe with nothing done. I wanted to return to my hole as soon as I can, to write every day, one sentence after another, and discover what kind of work I am doing now.


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