Saturday, September 29, 2012

In Dublin's Fair City...

Relaxing in Bar 23 in the Merrion Hotel, while we waited for our rooms to be readied, was a pleasurable way to ease into Dublin.  Linda had flown in from New York, arriving that morning, and the three of us had a great time (fueled, in part, by pints of Guinness) catching up.  We took an afternoon bus tour of the city to orient ourselves and decide what we wanted to do later, and we concluded that tours of the Guinness and Jameson facilities would be high on our list.

Following dinner the first evening, we crossed from the restaurant over the Ha'penny Bridge to the Temple Bar district.  Unfortunately, the bars blare loud, American music and are frequented by over-served tourists.  At the suggestion of a cabbie, we visited the Palace Bar on the fringe of the Temple Bar area and were not disappointed.  The crowd was mostly Irish and a talented group of musicians played traditional Irish music.  It is amazing--at least to these Americans--how approachable the Irish people are and how quickly they will strike up a conversation or share a table. 

The Guinness facility is immense, and the visit enjoyable.  Not to be missed is a trip to the top and the 360 degree views available from the glass-enclosed rooftop bar.   We followed that excursion with a few pub stops and lunch at the Stag's Head Victorian-style bar, a very handsome pub.  Our afternoon was spent at the site of the former Jameson's distillery (the whiskey is now brewed in Midelton, near Cork) and we had a nice visit there as well.  Of course, I suppose that after a tour of the Guinness brewery and a pub crawl, a visit to the sewer system might have seemed just fine.  We included a stop at what is supposedly the world's smallest pub, Dawson's, where it is impossible to fall down drunk because there is no room to collapse.  Our afternoon ended with a visit to the statute of Molly Malone, alive, alive, ohh.....which is supposedly the most photographed site in Dublin.



Doorway of the Stag's Head

The Stag's Head for lamb stew and a pint of Guiness

Peadar Kerney's Pub

Dawson Lounge, smallest pub in Dublin

Molly Malone

A visit to the Book of Kell's at Trinity College is a must, not just for the book but for the stunning library.  Christ Church is beautiful and the crypt below the cathedral is interesting.  An odd note is the framed remains of a cat and a rat which were trapped in an organ pipe and became mummified. 

Costumes from "The Tudors" tv  show

Two restaurants worth mentioning are the Locke Brasserie, near the canal, which offers top-quality bistro food in a relaxed atmosphere, and Chapter One.  The latter restaurant is formal (at least a jacket for men) but the food is over the top, including an outstanding lamb and a rabbit that was the best I've tasted.  Finishing the night at O'Donnahue's, a traditional pub where the popular group The Dubliners got their start, was a great way to end our all-too-brief visit to the fair city of Dublin.

The Locke


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