IrelandTravel Writings

Customs Agents, Rock Stars, and Peyote

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Ugggh. I know I should have started this blog earlier. I’m sitting in Dublin’s Easy Internet Cafe, breathing in the sickening yet delicious smell of the adjoining Subway sandwich shop and trying to make sense of a week’s worth of: Guinness, irate customs officials, jetlag, sub-human bar bouncers, Irish rock stars and a revolving international cast consisting mostly of, you guessed it, Aussies and Kiwis. Oh dear reader, where does one begin? I guess the most logical place would be with the customs official.

I would like to take this moment to officially say, F*** that guy! I mean I know he’s gotta do his job, but after enduring 14 hours of sleepless and uneventful travel, the last thing I needed was a disgruntled Irish customs agent giving me the third degree about how much money I had in my wallet. There was a point where I seriously didn’t think he was going to let me into Ireland, and I’d be stuck in the airport forever like Tom Hanks in the movie, Terminal.

My first night in town was pretty cool; I stayed with my friend Victoria and her boyfriend Padraic. Victoria is a photographer whose job it is to hang out with rock stars and take photos, and Padraic is a genuine Irish rock star. His band, The Thrills, isn’t big yet in the US, so I’d never really heard of them. It wasn’t until I saw the platinum record on the wall that I realized how big these guys were. My second day in Dublin, Padraic and I were in the market and they were playing his band’s song on the radio. Needless to say, I was impressed.

The next few days were spent drinking Guinness, not sleeping due to jetlag, and wandering around Temple Bar. During this time I came to the conclusion that, much like the French Quarter in New Orleans, Temple Bar has become a parody of itself. It’s almost like it’s so invested in being “Temple Bar” that it loses the thing that makes it Temple Bar. The only actual Dubliners that you’ll find there are the people working in the pubs and lecherous guys looking to score.

I also realized, while wandering Temple Bar, that Magic Mushrooms and Peyote are legal in Ireland!! HUH?? There’s a head shop in Temple Bar that sells these psychedelics as well as a crazy cross-breed of Peyote and San Pedro. I was so astounded by this that I think I’ve told just about every other traveller that I’ve come across, and then showed them the photos to prove it.

One quick story before I go: I was going into this bar to get a pint when I stopped to ask a couple of ladies outside about the cover charge. When they asked me where I was from I answered, “California” and the wanna-be Vinnie Jones bouncer immediately replied, half jokingly, but mostly serious, “Well you can’t come in here”. He then asked me for ID, and as I pulled it out of my day planner he said, “What is that a purse you’re carrying? And ye’ve got two earrings? Ye must be some kind of fag.” Yeah he was super cool. Come to think of it, I think he might have a day job in customs.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".