Eggshells by Catriona Lally


Catriona Lally

This urban fairytale is a modern take on Joyce’s ambulatory paean to the city of Dublin. Wordplay on ‘changeling’ and ‘challenging’ sums up the beguiling narrator, who seems, in the Irish phrase, to be literally ‘away with the fairies’. Her whimsical perspective, as she searches for a portal to the ‘otherworld’, bring the city and its culture to life in an entertaining and touchingly original way.

I leave the museum and head to College Green. I cross the street with the disused public toilets, which might be as enchanted a water source on May Day as a holy well .... An electrical box stands on the western end, with a picture of a ballerina crossing her legs in a pirouette. It looks like she needs to go to the toilet. There’s a strong smell of piss; I’m not sure if it’s recent or if it’s the ghostly smell of pisses past or if the ballerina hasn’t succeeded in holding it in. I walk sun-wise around the toilets three times and toss some coins down the steps, but I don’t shut my eyes because I’m on the edge of a traffic island in the middle of a busy street, and being flattened by a bus is a miserable way of getting to the otherworld.
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Catriona Lally