Pics 1-4 are by Perkin Warbeck
DOLMEN, DULL MEN and DÁIL MEN.
Back in the day, in fact the Fifties in the Free Southern Stateen, the Dolmen was considered every bit as Irish as Darby O Gill.
Hence the surprise of Irish visitors d’aois ar leith to Malta to discover The Dolmen Hotel, a vast resort hotel on the Mediterranean. A subsidary of Ryanair and/or Guinness perhaps? Actually, no. Ireland is but one of scores of countries ranging across Asia, Africa and Europe where Dolmens have been found, most dating from the distant day of the Neolithic, when Calvita man did hunt and gather but long, long before Algorithms roamed the Earth.
In Malta, the Bugibba Dolmen is hidden from sight, surrounded by a holiday hotel, which dates from the Neogrotesque era of resort architecture. Carbon-dating shows this era to post-date the Neolithic itself. Imagine, say, Tourism Ireland (née Bord Fáilte) giving its blessing to the erection of a high-rise hotel around Newgrange (née Brú na Bóinne). Well now, what a hulllabaloo (née raic, rí-rá agus rúille búille) that would evoke from the hoity toity High Dudgeoners of Hiberno Heritage on Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore.
In Malta, somehow, it does not at all seem so drastic.
For starters, at least one non-resident of the hotel never has a problem going it for a gawk. All it requires is the implementation of a two-part strategy: 1. Adopt the Sense of Entitlement Strut across the marble lobby of the hotel. The same strut as perfected by a succession of Westminsterian Wet Weekend Proconsuls in NEN. 2. Bestow upon the Reception the old all-looking, non-seeing glass eye of the Bored Barmaid (née Black Label Mabel).
For seconds, and this is the crux, Malta local culture is robust is its self-belief, having all its vital cruxes in a row. In a word: Malti. Which is to say the Maltese speak their minds in their own language, l. it or l. it. Which does not stop them from speaking their minds also in English and to a lesser extent, Italian, where and when needs must. It’s just they prefer to do it in Malti. This is the global norm. At least it was, the last time one listened.
Meanwhile, back in the only English-only-speaking state left in the European Union the insipidly Atypical is considered the New Norm by the great and good of the Gormless Rut Pack. Central to this Wishy Washy West Britishery is ABU: Anything But Us. A few paltry examples will suffice. The likes of M. Finucane and M. Robinison first surfed to Priminence when they shoeleathered the streets on behalf of Georgian and Viking Dublin. Campaigns craftily chosen to end in champagne. The Gaelic thingy? It’s sooooo not worth it !
As recently as this week the horizontal House Paddies, aka, the Dull Men of the Dáil, were still collecting kudos from the cheerleading hacketariat: for standing up for the the right of a bronzed, statuesque German Prince called Albert to stay vertical in the lawn of (yawn) Leinster House. Ah, sweet maturity. The gothic Herr Saxe-Coburg would have remained a man of monumental obscurity if he hadn’t briefly emerged from the dime light to wed his low-sized high-class first cousin before eventually succumbing to exhaustion after (phew) fathering nine wains. Re. Spect.
In West Britannia nothing has quite caught the WOW ! factor as much as the W.A.W. Take a bow, Tourism Ireland, for THE cathchiest adphrase, ever : The Wild Atlantic Way. Which has made ‘Let us Spray’ the new mantra of the Mickey M. meocratic media. And from whom the Monoglot Signage of W.A.W. failed to eke as much as a single, solitary, bespoke squeak. Sycophantic to the Atlantic.
Tá an cósta ceannann céanna ann beagnach chomh fada le Finn Mac Cumhail féin: thug seisean a B.F.F. Air : Bealach Fiáin Farraige.
Perkin Warbeck / An Pearcánach.