Thursday 2 September 2021

The Body Politic: Caroline Jordans's #Dublin in 2012

 It's 2012 and Caroline Jordan is about to be embroiled in her latest mystery, The Body Count. So in previous posts we've explored Christ Church the area she works in and the area around Leinster House, the home of Irish Politics.  but there's so much more to Dublin than buildings, or even pubs and restaurants.

Dublin is a city justly famed for its characters, wit and unique outlook. True Dubliners (whether born on the North or South side! famous for the rivalry between them) are known for their dry wit, ability to pour scorn with a well turned phrase, kindness to strangers, and huge sense of community. Whether its the famous Liberties (think Imelda May, our amazing singer/songwriter) or the leafy suburbs, a Dubliner is proud of the "blue" (colours of our GAA teams) and proud of their city. 

Flower Sellers on many Dublin Streets bring a splash of colour

Back in 2012, we were still reeling from the demise of our boom era known globally as the Celtic Tiger. Bank scandals rocked the nation, and all eyes were on the public coffers, as we demanded less wastage of money, fewer payouts to politicians and better regulation of Banking. There were also disturbing signs of far right politics, and other unsavoury elements. However the majority of the population backed more progressive, generous politics and left leaning parties saw a rise in popularity as did grass roots activism. In many ways, an exciting time in Irish public life. 

The year saw a number of high profile scandals, politically, at a time when the country called for strong leadership. 

In Caroline's world, I have reimagined the reality of Ireland at the time, with the creation of the worldly, flawed but generally decent Michael T O'Mahony, and his closest advisor, Derek Fields - along with Caroline they bring some integrity and reform to Irish politics. What might we have achieved if only there had been someone like that?

And the Irish police, the Gardaí, started to investigate a bank called Anglo-Irish and one of the great banking scandals of modern Ireland began to emerge. 

It's little wonder that The Body Count (due out end Nov) will see Caroline dealing with some very dodgy banking types indeed.

In nicer news, in 2012 the Aurora Borealis made a rare appearance in Irish skies, and Dublin City Council voted overwhelmingly to support Marriage Equality for all couples, including same sex. (In 2015 Ireland became the first country in the world to vote Marriage Equality into our constitution, in a landslide victory. One of the areas with the highest Yes vote was Dublin city!)

Dublin's Colony of Swans on the Canal

At the London Olympics, Team Ireland did well with Bray native Katie Taylor winning boxing gold! A heroine to the whole of Ireland, her influence is felt today in 2021 with the amazing Dubliner Katie Harrington also securing gold for Ireland in boxing. Dublin (and Ireland) has no shortage of great female characters, strong women who have shaped the nation and continue to do so. 

A famous character you'll meet on every Dublin Street is the Irish Mammy* - we are a formidable breed. We are tough on our own kids, but woe betide you if you look crooked at them. Only we are allowed criticize them and there's nothing we won't do for our families. We used to be famous for spoiling our boys and many an Irishman had his mammy doing his laundry until he was married with kids of his own (and sometimes, even then...) The modern breed of Irish Mammy is determined to raise better equipped men - capable of laundry, washing, and child-rearing. But we'll probably be cooking them dinner until they're fifty!

Grand Canal Docks, February Morning

2012 saw the loss of a Dublin institution, Clery's Department Store, a prestigious retailer,. Apart from shopping there,  generations of Dubliners used it as a meeting place in the evening, and "Under Clery's Clock" is where many couples met up to go on a date. 

Dublin wit and humour is legendary and god help the eedjit who tries to enter a battle of wits with a true blue Dub. Dublin Insults are among the most colourful in the world. and even the most casual - ya muppet, I'm scarleh for yah! - sting like no other. Half of the pain comes from the actual words and half from the delivery, the contempt of the Dub for the unfortunate non-Dub. Equally however, the kindness of Dubliners is deeply ingrained: the very auld wan who was calling you a bleedin' dope a few minutes ago will be the first to pick you up and help when disaster strikes.

As Caroline moves through this small but richly endowed city, past ancient buildings and modern apartments, she takes strength from knowing she is a part of it; she's a True Blue Jackeen*

St Stephen's Green, Dublin City Centre Park

Caroline Jordan is the heroine of The Body Politic : a murder mystery set in Dublin in 2010. The second in the series, The Body Count is due to be published in November 2021. 

She also appears in the short story CatNap, available for newsletter subscribers click the link to sign up and claim.

* Dublin / Irish slang - eejit (EEE jiht) is a foolish person. Jackeen is a Dubliner, believed to have its roots in Jacobite. 

*Irish Mammy - the Irish word for mother is Máthair but the affectionate version is Mammy, from (mo Mhammaí in Irish) There is also another use of the word Mammy in the USA, pertaining to a Black slave who was forced to act as a nursemaid to white children, The word in Irish has no connection to that usage, but out of respect for others, when writing on largely US groups or websites please use the shortened form "Mam" for Irish mothers. 

ALL photos in this post courtesy of Ceolnet Irish Design, photographer GMB: all rights reserved


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