Closing time reveals the city's dark side
Revellers vomit, kick taxis and stumble through traffic
IT is Friday afternoon and there is a steady flow of shoppers, students and city workers bustling up and down Camden Street in south inner city Dublin.
It is not as bohemian as its namesake in London -- there are no hippies selling dream-catchers -- but it does feel safer than a lot of areas in the city.
Street calls from local fruit and vegetable traders once echoed through the medieval route that leads up to Rathmines over the Grand Canal.
The stalls and street traders are all but gone now -- replaced by an eclectic mix of small businesses ranging from pet shops and book binders to independent travel agents.
Groups of office workers pop into local eateries for reasonably priced lunches while others pick up a coffee and sandwich to eat at their desks.
Within a five-minute walk you have the choice of gourmet burgers, burritos, wholesome stews and possibly the best kebabs in Dublin.
There is also a spattering of takeaways but they lie empty during the afternoon as they prepare their stations for a long night ahead. But as darkness descends, there is a palpable change in atmosphere.
As evening falls, local businesses pull the shutters down on their premises and the neon lights of bars and nightclubs illuminate the street.
The clatter of ultra-high heels hitting concrete now rings out as young women home in on their favourites night spots.
The nightclub scene on the strip from Wexford Street to the Camden Court Hotel mirrors the variety of businesses and restaurants in the area.
It is home to some of Dublin's best known alternative music venues, along with more mainstream music nightclubs favoured by the crowds who spill out of Croke Park on GAA Sundays.
There is a friendly and good-natured atmosphere in the bars and there is rarely a report of trouble inside any of the venues on the strip.
As closing time approaches, revellers stream out of the venues where they have spent the night downing expensive drinks with their friends.
The girls, who walked beautifully coiffed and with their shoulders thrown back into the clubs, now struggle in their vertiginous heels, barely avoiding traffic as the stumble off the footpaths. Down a laneway, a young man cuts a sad figure as he bows his head between his legs to get sick on his overly tight jeans.
It is a scene repeated in alleyways up and down the street as party animals find themselves struggling to deal with over indulgence.
Some are not as discreet, instead they rest their arm against the nearest wall and empty their stomachs where they stand, or slouch.
An Ulster Bank ATM is covered in vomit and a girl standing by claims that a group of 17-year-olds purposely made themselves sick on the cash machine.
A group of young men gather around a pal sitting on the side of the road who is looking worse for wear. When one of his friends asks what happened him, he is told: "He drank five shots of Jagermeister in a row, what do you expect?"
At 3.30am, hordes of people pile out of nightclubs and walk obliviously straight into the constant flow of taxis who expertly manoeuvre through the area, avoiding drunken revellers. Some of the younger male drinkers jostle with each other outside the bars as their female counterparts walk off, bored with their antics.
One youngster kicks a passing taxi for no reason other than to impress his friends.
The takeaways are now full of hungry young men and woman hoping to soak up the alcohol they have spent all their hard-earned cash on.
Thanks to an abundance of taxis, the street clears up relatively quickly and business owners are left to clean up the mess from the night's antics.