What I learned in Dublin

As done now on several occasions (click here or here) here are a list of things I learned in Dublin. The list is not exhaustive.

1.) Guinness in Dublin tastes awesome.
2.) There is live music everywhere, really.
3.) Girls in Dublin don’t wear a lot when going out. I was freezing just by looking at them but had to admire their spirit! They were willing to brave the elements to look great!
4.) Guys looked great in Dublin!
5.) But most were drunk by 10pm. Such a shame and what’s the rush?
6.) There is no age limit for a good party!
7.) They have shops which sell e-cigarettes. Why is there security outside? The answer eludes me.

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8.) The saying “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” is true but only up to a certain point.
9.) Next time I want to buy a souvenir, I will do so right away. No point in going back to the store twice!
10.) One can fall in love with a city. I know I did!

Yours, Pollybert

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The doors of Dublin

Maybe not only Dublin but also Howth. These were the only two places we visited and I saw some amazing doors in great colors which I want to show you now.IMG_8310

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A door like these would brighten up my day any time I leave the house.
Yours, Pollybert

Sunshine in Dublin

On our last day in Dublin the sun was out in full and you couldn’t have asked for a better picture weather. We started by visiting Christ Church, the cathedral right next to our hotel. The cathedral boasts in its catacombs a mummified cat and rat, aka “Tom and Jerry” which were found when the organ was cleaned on the occasion of Händel’s (Handel) performance of Messiah in Dublin.
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Good plan but bad execution since the church had its Sunday service and didn’t let anybody in until 12:30. A time where we should get the airport bus. So that was that with the churches in Ireland, only saw the one in Howth.

With a lot of time at our hands what were we to do? We started by touring the grounds of Dublin Castle again, this time in full sunshine instead of rain.IMG_8591IMG_8593See the colors on these houses? Looks almost sponsored by Google.

And then hunger was guiding us back to Dame Street where we came across the Queen of Tarts.IMG_8648The place inside was super small and packed with all kinds of knickknacks.IMG_8595IMG_8596IMG_8599
We ordered tea, which came in a big old pot, salmon for Andrea and vegetarian breakfast for me. Franz abstained from anything but coffee.IMG_8598IMG_8600IMG_8601IMG_8602
Everything was great but the red pepper relish was so delicious that we each bought a jar to bring home, along with some scones! Here they were the real deal and came with butter and jam.

Thus invigorated we set out for another round of walking through the city. We had set our sights on the Merrion Square the heart of Georgian Dublin. The square consists of a park around which artist were selling their paintings and beautiful Georgian buildings. While looking through my pictures just now I noticed that I got apparently so distracted by the paintings that I never took a picture of the buildings. Never mind I found you a robin, something for the bird lovers again.
First stop though was the statue of Molly Malone on the way to the square.IMG_8606IMG_8616IMG_8621IMG_8610IMG_8615

As said before Dublin really takes care of its tourists and this shows in the little details. Since Ireland drives on the other side than Europe mainland all street crossings have these road markers.IMG_8627IMG_8628 For all the ones who wanted to take the other left it even has an arrow.

Since we had to take the airport link at around 12:30 we were on a tight schedule especially in the light that we still wanted to go to the Book of Kells shop at Trinity College to buy some things. The store and the museum opened at noon sharp so we had to time our arrival well. There was only so much to see at the Merrion Square that after a round in the park and watching the houses surrounding it, we decided we needed to warm up somewhere. So while walking back to the college we found the National Gallery of Ireland. With free admission, an inviting looking coffee place and a museum shop it looked like a great choice. While drinking coffee we noticed that it appeared to have an older building incorporated.

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And then it was time for our last stop, Trinity College. Doesn’t the place look great in sunshine? I almost wished being a student again, just to get a chance to spend a semester there. But only almost.IMG_8633IMG_8637IMG_8638

After a quick purchase of a college cup with the names of all its great students on it and a book about the Battle of Clontarf (you cannot own too many books about history) we rushed back to the hotel. Our vacation was almost at an end. Some more pictures from along the way to the hotel.IMG_8640IMG_8644IMG_8645

Then on to the bus and off to the airport. Sitting on top in the first row I could take some last pictures of this beautiful city. I still can’t get my mind around that they have palm trees in the streets (ok, so maybe not trees but similar plants associated with southern climate).IMG_8655IMG_8658IMG_8665IMG_8666IMG_8669IMG_8670IMG_8671

We left Dublin with a little delay but got so the chance to shop some more. Some more cheese and salmon for home. The cheese then got almost attacked by an overzealous German security guy at the layover in Cologne. He had to make sure it was not too soft and in his enthusiasm to check this, he left a thumb print in it. What an end to a perfect weekend.
Yours, Pollybert

Ireland at its best

Upon our arrival in the village of Howth again we were walking towards the church when Andrea noticed a small delicatessen shop and right away made a detour.IMG_8542The shop was indeed a treasure trove of all things Irish; all three of us fell upon the products like starving maniacs (which we were) and bought an armful of delicacies. But these delicacies are now in my home and already on Monday night I tried the first of three different cheeses. And I can’t wait for Christmas to eat the pudding with brandy butter!

With full bags we entered this old-looking church which we had seen from above and were astonished to see it carpeted and heated inside. That makes for some cozy church going.Handy 747

Just half a block down from the store was a restaurant that looked inviting right away. After a peek at the menu we settled on this one. Maybe our experience from the morning when we walked for a while and couldn’t settle on anything, finally ending up in café with almost nothing to eat, taught us something? And you know what? It was the perfect place!

With The House we picked a distinguished restaurant that has been successful for years. Something you can see right away when you enter.IMG_8544IMG_8545IMG_8555

While Franz and I studied the menu, Andrea found us an Austrian wine to drink. It can’t get better than this. The Loimer “Lois” Kamptal went excellent with the fresh seafood and fish we ordered. When looking at the pictures now, I am not sure if Franz got asked but Andrea looks perfectly happy with her choice.IMG_8543IMG_8546

From the first I tended to the mussels and Andrea to the seafood chowder while Franz was undecided; in the end he settled for another Irish breakfast which looked delicious. Actually everything we ordered at this place not just looked delicious but also tasted so!IMG_8547IMG_8548IMG_8549IMG_8550
This was the best Irish meal we had so far. And although we were all happy and full we glanced at the dessert menu and of course we found something to try. Andrea and I wanted the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and Franz tried an apple crumble.

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I forgot to take the pictures right away. Both dishes looked so yummy that we had to dig in first. After coffee and a digestive we felt ready to face the road again. If you are ever in the area, go and see this place.IMG_8554IMG_8558

The road was not so long anymore but we still wanted to see the light house. And it gets dark very early here in November. Around 4:30 already I would guess. And since we wanted to take some more pictures, we had to hurry. As you can see when we came back to the harbor it was low water.IMG_8564IMG_8570IMG_8571IMG_8566

And then it was already time to say goodbye to Howth and take the DART back to Dublin.IMG_8576

On the way back we had already figured out how the train system worked and got off at Pearse station which was near Trinity College. While being there the day before we saw some things we wanted to buy at the Book of Kells store. Why we didn’t do that, I really don’t know. Point is, we went back and then the store was already closed for the day. So something else for us to do on Sunday. By now we were dead tired and all I wanted to do was to lie down for an hour. Perfect plan for everyone, we did just that and decided to regroup at 8pm again.

When we met later nobody was hungry, so dinner was out of the question. Since it was Saturday night what better to do than go for a beer. And the Temple Bar district seemed like the place to be for us. Off we went in search of a good bar and got almost slain by the amount of people crowding the streets, the bars and pubs in the area. There was not one place we wanted to enter. We finally went into The Auld Dubliner, a place that had been recommended to me. Two steps inside we turned around on our heels and walked back outside. We had entered right next to the musician and I thought my ear drum had blown. Around the corner was another entrance where we tried again. Franz walked right out again while Andrea and I braved the masses and the noise and got us some beer. Guinness again for all of us, what an amazing beer!

With the beer in hand we took up place in front of the bar where all the smokers met. It couldn’t have been a better place to check out the locals. I love people watching and eavesdropping on conversations especially when a guy tries to land a girl. And if said guy is drunk and the girl sober, all the more hilarious. Really has a lot of comic appeal.

But this fun keeps you warm only so long and after a while we decided to head to a warmer place. We ended up at F. X. Buckley, a steakhouse with a bar on top which had the added advantage of being right around the corner from our hotel. No more beer for us though, we had moved on the G&T. I really like how the storeroom was incorporated in the bar.IMG_8582IMG_8583

Some of you might know this feeling that when you stay out long enough, eventually you get hungry again. So what should I tell you, this happens to the best of us. Such a convenience that next door was a take away Indian place called Siri. We headed there for a late night snack and were surprised how good it tasted!IMG_8586

Sure enough we were up for a night-cap again. Since it was our last night in Dublin there was no point in going to bed early. In regards to the hour we expected our bar to be quiet, but far from it. The place was packed and jamming. Someone had his 65th birthday party in there and the dance floor was rocking. So what were we to do than dance as well and enjoy the party?
Yours, Pollybert

Cliff walking in Howth

From the Connolly train station we took the DART to Howth. All over Dublin we saw everything written in two languages Irish and English. Thus also on the train.
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I love that both languages are exactly the same size not giving one language the precedence over the other (unlike in Quebec).

Upon arrival we first took a picture of the map to know where to go. These maps and other signs are all over the island as well, the Irish are really nice to tourists!Handy 731
But first we stopped at the local market for a bit of sustenance, a blueberry scone which was barely edible (still, I ate half of it). And no, a scone is not the same as these cup cakes in the first picture.IMG_8463IMG_8464The sustenance was needed because breakfast had been small and the walk we planned was long. Take a look around the harbor. Can you see the palm trees?IMG_8466IMG_8468IMG_8469IMG_8471IMG_8472

For all poet lovers, Yeats lived here for a couple of years.IMG_8479
And a couple of doors further down we saw an “Emily”. If you want to read the real love story behind it, click here.IMG_8481

We passed the last of the houses and there was only nature ahead of us. The track took us up and down and since it had rained until the early morning there were lots of puddles to avoid. This was no “Handtascherlweg” (an expression I heard shortly before reaching the top of the Sonnblick, a mountain over 3000m high; meaning it was quite steep and rough), but it was well worth it. The view was amazing and all in all even I felt really connected to nature here and usually I am not into these things. The brown stuff you see on the first picture is actually fern and it was totally dry. Very weird.IMG_8482IMG_8484IMG_8486IMG_8488IMG_8490IMG_8491IMG_8492IMG_8493IMG_8498IMG_8501IMG_8504IMG_8506IMG_8508IMG_8510IMG_8515IMG_8516IMG_8518
I hope I didn’t swamp you with these pictures but it was heartbreakingly beautiful walking there and I just wanted to share this with you. We also saw a couple of birds and other animals while walking. So these are for all the animal lover out there.IMG_8513IMG_8519IMG_8535Handy 766

The whole tour took about two hours and we kind of walked a small circle, coming back to the village again from another side. Have you noticed by the way that in Ireland the gorse is still in bloom?

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And then we decided to take a short-cut which sounded like a good idea at first but involved climbing down sideways. Not something I want to repeat.Here the view looking down.

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The amazing view at this point.IMG_8532Looking back up.

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With this steep descent behind us we were back in civilization and ready for something to eat. But this is another story.
Yours, Pollybert