We flew out on Thursday evening on an Aer Lingus flight which was only slightly delayed. Then from Dublin Airport onto the fast airport bus direct to the city. Well, I say "fast", though the driver never seemed inclined to go at more than 30 mph, even on the motorway... However, we were soon dropped off in O'Connell Street, a short case-dragging amble from our hotel.
[More news on the accommodation in a future post when I shall extensively document the long list of complaints...]
By the time we'd unpacked it wasn't too late to hot-foot it down to a bar for a refreshing pint of Guinness. Ah, lovely!
Up early-ish the next day - Friday, my birthday - and stumbled bleary-eyed to Temple Bar in search of breakfast. This we found in the highly agreeable Maisons des Gourmets in Castle Market, where we also spied The Bistro (at which we breakfasted the next day).
After some window shopping (I now have some new sash-cord and several panes of glass) we walked down to the Guinness Storehouse in the west of the city.
[This is a great thing about Dublin - it's got lots of things to see and do and they are all within easy walking distance of each other.]
You can easily spend 3 or 4 hours at the Storehouse. The advertising exhibition itself could while away a few hours on its own, as it contains several multimedia screens which allow you to watch any one of the TV and cinema ads for Guinness shown in the last fifty years or so. Believe it or not, I would also recommend spending 15 minutes watching the fascinating film of a cooper making Guinness barrels back in the mid-1950s.
After our fill of Guinness we repaired to the Porterhouse in Temple Bar for more stout and ale and a light tea (bread and houmous for me, oysters for MLYW).
The next day we again went to Temple Bar to meet up with MLYSIL and the PILs (parents-in-law) who stay in Co. Wicklow over the summer months. Then a quick walk over to the Smithfield part of the city for a tour of the old Jameson distillery. It's no longer a working distillery, so I found it less interesting than the Scottish distilleries I've visited, and the films they show are more advertorial than informational, but it was still entertaining for all that. While I do like smooth Irish whiskey, I prefer a peaty, smokey Highland malt any day.
Fortified by our whiskey tasting we stretched our legs for a historical tour of the Ard Righ Road and the surrounding area, as this was where Bill, my father-in-law grew up. Despite spending each summer in Blessington, just outside the city, he hasn't visited the area of his childhood for over 30 years.
A long, looping walk back to the city centre and we found ourselves back in the Porterhouse for some substantial food and even more substantial stout, brewed on the premises. It's not Guinness, but it's mighty fine. We can recommend the Plain Stout or the Oyster Stout particularly.
In the evening MLYW and I took ourselves off to the Project Arts Centre to see Fewer Emergencies, a play by Martin Crimp. Only 45 minutes long, it was a very powerful triptych of scenes in which 4 actors played out the thoughts and emotions of 3 different characters. Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that, but it's the sort of piece that you really have to see... It was played in a very small space and there was an incredible connection between the actors and audience; often you found youself being addressed directly by one of the actors - an experience which was both disconcerting and thrilling.