An Irish Wake

July 15, 2010

After the funeral we went to a wine bar called Pinot's for the wake. Pinot's is in a chic urban mall nestled by apartments built on top of small offices, testifying to the gentrification that has overtaken Dublin within the last decade. People can literally live, work, and shop all in the same place. Pinot's had the stylish ambiance of a New York wine bar with leather chairs, good wine, and stewards circulating with thoughtful renditions of fish + chips and other appetizers.

At the wake I met Felicity's nephew, a precocious 14-year old Michael who was schooled in London and building his own computer. I was amazed at how well mannered and thoughtful he sounded for that age (when was the last time I was impressed by anything that stumbled out of an American teenagers mouth?). He was thrilled to hear I worked for Google and we talked mobile phones, the cult of Apple, and social networking. Later his mother came up to me thanking me for talking to him and saying I was exactly how he pictured a Googler: looking unintentionally suave I guess in my black suit and t-shirt. I guess there's something to be said for ill preparation.

A more informal wake followed at a local pub where we loosened our ties (at least those of us that had them) and relaxed with some Smithwicks (pronounced "Smithicks") and Guinness. We hadn't eaten enough at Pinot's so ordered some "toasties" -- small grilled cheese sandwiches sliced diagonally which were unexpectedly good. During the course of the next few hours we processed the day's events, talking and laughing, getting increasingly drunk and friendly. I was introduced to dark Irish humor, that brand of wry humor that goes to deeply inappropriate places, while being simultaneously hilarious. By midnight we had all been drinking for 10 hours and stumbled out the bar searching for cabs to take us home.

Speaking of dark Irish humor, I was confronted with this advertisement as I exited the train to Howth, just north of Dublin. I sent it to my father of course. On his birthday: