Dublin – The Things You Hear (and eat)

Kilts are fuckin’ killer man!

“Dublin’s so expensive it was like 7 euros for a pint!”   “That’s because you’re at Temple Bar.”

“You pair of fuckers, you absolutely pair of fuckers, how on earth did you win?”  “Pair of six”.  “Bitch”

Alice? who the fuck is Alice?

“oouuuiiiiiiiii”

I’ve started, in the best way possible.  My camera battery, is not charged.  The spare, is sitting in my other bag.  The battery can only be charged via a charging station, and not by plugging the camera into a USB port.

Welp, time to see what I can do with my phone again!  (And the gorilla pod).  Should be fun

The flight to Dublin is blissfully short at just over an hour.  Just enough time for me to be productive and get some work done on the blog  sleep.   Also, because it’s a domestic flight, I don’t have to worry about passport checks and can leave the airport quickly.

In fact, the longest waiting I had to do was for the airbus to take me to the city centre.  A mere €12 gets me a return ticket (valid for two months) into the city centre.  And it’s only a 10-minute walk to the hostel from the bus stop.

Now, you might call me a sucker for punishment following the pain I had in Warsaw with the hostel I had there.  But I still think they’re great value for money.  And when done well, they are clean, friendly, and run by very nice, helpful people.

The Four Courts Hostel seems to tick all of those, and it seems populated by a mixture of age groups, so in essence, it is not your major party hostel (I think).  Unlike the one I stayed at in Paris – St Christophers Inn

I’m in a 6-bed mixed dorm, on the second floor.  Nice enough, bottom bunk as requested (cos you know, heft).  Or at the least, I think I’m in a mixed dorm.  Everyone else in the room is 1) French, 2) Female.

By the sounds of it, so is next door.

I am so not complaining.

After showering and taking a nap, I head out into Dublin proper.  The plan?  Simple.  Drink some Guinness, and Irish Whiskey, and eat some Irish food.

The first place I hit… Porterhouse, a craft beer pub… that doesn’t serve Guinness… well done Jim, well done!

In fairness though, recent times has seen an outburst of craft beer in Dublin.  And it’s really good.  The Porterhouse has a great selection that should cater to near enough anyone’s taste.  It’s also here that I run into an Aussie who’s also visiting for a bit.  So for the next hour or so we natter away about various subjects including:  Wives – he’s divorced.  Accents – he thought I was American.  And Brexit – we both thought it’s stupid.

Suitably alcoholed up I leave Tony to his IPA and head off for food.  What I found was Pitt Bros

And no, it’s not Irish BBQ.  So technically I’m zero for two in my quest for all things Irish.

But my god was this good.  So good, that I totally forget about the bourbon shot in the middle of everything…

Pitt Bros also provide soft serve ice-cream on the house if you’ve bought a meal.  And normally this would be perfect for me.  Not, however, when you’re three pints in, and no matter how much you wash your hands they still feel sticky!

I look for Guinness.

And find it in The Long Hall, one of the oldest pubs in Dublin.  Untouched by time with a very Victorian atmosphere!

As that timeless Guinness slogan goes

“Good things come to those who wait.”

I take a walk back up to the hostel and decide to go through Temple Bar.

Which, as you would expect is in full force for a Friday night!  The most touristy bar, on the most touristy street.  Where else would you expect to run into a workmate who was also visiting Dublin!

We have a quick chat, trying to avoid work talk as much as possible.  And then I make my way back to the hostel leaving them to party hard.

Back at the hostel, and I’m wholly intending to take a shower and go to sleep.

But then, you can’t really say no when a bunch of French women ask if they’d like you to visit a bar with them.

My alarm is going off at 6:30AM.  Actually, I’m not sure if it’s the alarm, or just the bells ringing in my head accompanying my hangover.  In fact, I might still be drunk.

If I don’t move, I might not throw up.

09:30 AM and I haven’t thrown up.  Which is a good thing,  The rest of the room is still asleep so as quietly as possible I try to grab some clothes from my locker.  While doing so I make enough noise to wake the dead… but not my room mates.

Breakfast is in order!   I wander down to Temple Bar, a place that just hours ago, was alive with revellers and the lovely smell of alcohol.

Now though, it takes on a different appearance.  Everywhere now seems to be doing breakfast!  Including McDonalds.  But don’t worry, I’m not going there!

I’m going here because if someone says they’re doing Dublin’s best breakfast I have to try that.  Note how you interpret “Dublin’s best breakfast” is up for debate.

Stage Door Cafe is cosy inside, with a great view of the kitchen doing its thing.

And the smells are… I’m drooling, put it that way.

And the decor is interesting

I do wonder how many people decided to… you know… with the other one…

I’m getting the Irish Breakfast

Now don’t ask me, I actually can’t discern much difference between this, and the full english.

Not that I’m complaining.  Right now, this, THIS is what I need to calm the raging storm in my head.

Right, with breakfast sorted, and my head clearing up, it’s time to head off to see some of the sights.  I’m starting at Trinity College, a 10 minute walk from where I am.

A walk that takes me right through a food market selling stuff like…

So… yeah, I’ll take two potato cakes please.  What?  I might as well if it’s there.

This is Temple Bar Food Market.  Which, I actually am lucky to run into since it only pops up on Saturdays and has many stalls selling fresh produce, cheeses, breads.  It’s amazing.

However, Trinity College is where I need to go. But, I’m too late.  The queue for the Book of Kells exhibition is, unfortunately… real

Yeah, I was not going to join that.  Mans ain’t got time to be wastin’ on queuin’ (sorry, just sorry for butchering the english language).

Honestly what follows next is me wandering around Dublin heading down

Grafton Street, a lovely main hub in Dublin housing shops from local to luxury.  Restaurants, bars, and of course, buskers

There is also The Rolling Donut.

Established in 1978 they have been serving up delicious doughtnuts in all sorts of varieties.

Which then gives the constant problem I have of deciding which one to have!  That is, if I’m just not deciding to try one of everything.

The conversation went something like

Me: “Well I’ve just seen the maple bacon, and now I can’t decide”

Rolling Donut: “what was the other choice?”

Me: “pistachio and lemon”

RD: “Maple Bacon, hands down”

Me “done”

Thank you, thank you, thank you for making the decision. And by the looks of things

It was the right decision.  Maybe not as great as the pulled pork doughnut I had back at the Ham Yard Hotel in London.  But still great.

St Stephen’s Green.  Great for a walk, and to learn a bit of history.  In particular, the Easter Rising.  Or just for sitting back and relaxing, and feeding the…

seagulls? MINE!

Another Guinness at Quays on Temple Bar.

Just wanted to use the toilet but stayed for the music!

Another short walk and I find myself at The Liffey Bridge  (Ha’Penny Bridge).  A place that I’m sure has some significance.  Like, you know, being the oldest pedestrian bridge across the Liffey (thank you Google).

Then I realise I wasn’t supposed to cross the bridge.  Since Dublin Castle is on the south side anyway.  To make the most of it, I walked down to the Millennium Bridge to try and take a picture of the Liffey Bridge.  Which was pretty much a failure from my point.

God I wish I had my camera right now!

Dublin Castle,

more “palace” than castle if you ask me, however it was nice to walk through and learn the history of the place.

Cheeky tip. I found myself within earshot of the guided tour so pretty much learned more than I should have.  Which was nice!

A ten-minute walk around the corner brings us to St Patrick’s Cathedral!  One of two Cathedrals in the City.  The other being Christ Church Cathedral.

I find myself walking through the cathedral, half reading from a pamphlet which acts as a self guided tour, and half trying to figure out where I can just sit down!

It’s ironic though that just as I’m about to leave the Cathedral, they announce a free guided tour starting in five minutes.  Well it’s free!  So why not?

I’m now hungry, and I realise that so far I have not had anything really Irish in terms of food.  Except for the Irish Breakfast at Stage Door Café.  Oh and the Potato cakes I picked up at the market.  And the Guinness.  What?  It’s basically a liquid meal isn’t it?

I’m thinking of hitting a pub and getting some food there. I instead, find an ice cream place.  Mango gelato, and oreo ice cream.  A match made in (my) heaven! (please don’t judge me).

Sitting outside the store, I enjoy my gelato, while watching the world go by… And then it hits me.  Hogan’s is quite literally a stone’s throw from where I am.

I came to realise the reality about the size of the city center of Dublin.  It’s tiny.  I have had no need to get any form of public transport since getting the bus from the airport.  I digress.

Hogans!  Who don’t do food…

They do Guinness though.  Won’t complain!

They also did send me in the direction of O’Neills which I passed earlier in the day while around Grafton Street.  However that place was packed silly.  But I did notice the International Bar, which advertised they did a lovely Irish Stew.  With no other options, it seems a good idea.

Not a good idea.  No word of lie, way too salty, and way to tough.  I could not for the life of me, finish this.  Lesson learned.

I decide the best course of action is to head back to the hostel get some rest, and check out where I could eat.

And on the way, get some bubble tea.

This place brings back so many memories of Vietnam.  In particular The Note Coffee shop.  See the similarities on the wall?

It’s 8:30PM and I’m suitably showered, and freshened up.  I’ve decided not to bring my bag of camera gear, because:

  1. The battery has not miraculously decided to start working
  2. it’s not like I’m going to be typing on the laptop in a pub at 10:00 PM

I’m heading to the Hairy Lemon.  Purveyors of all things Irish food.  And a good sign is that it’s packed with locals as well as tourists.  All the some of the decor does show it caters to at least americans.

to be fair.  It’s a good plan!

Somehow, even though it’s completely packed I managed to get a seat at a table for two.  Sometimes travelling on your own has advantages since all the other people were in groups of 3 or more.

Let’s start with the calamari.  They call it Donegal squid.  But let’s be honest

It’s Calamari rings through and through.  But that basil aioli dip served with it?  Godlike.  Absolute heaven in a sauce.

For mains, I’ve ordered the coddle.  And another pint of Guinness because why not.

To be honest, I was sold as soon as I read “bacon, sausage”.  Then served with 3 types of carbs.  boiled potato, mashed potato, and a slice of brown bread.

But my god was this good.  perfectly seasoned, and tasty as (expletive).

I’ve decided to go the whole hog and order dessert.  Which was more difficult as decision that I’d imagined.  What with great names like “Guiness infused chocolate mousse” and “irish baileys cream cheesecake” my stomach was saying “get it all”.  While my head said “nope, don’t even try”.

In the end I got the “traditional” bread and butter pudding.  Now I don’t know how traditional this is.  It’s not a dessert item I usually see, or go for.  let alone how traditional it could get.

But, I think I made a wise choice.  creamy, thick, warm, delicious. *shudder*

My food finished, and my stomach stuffed I make my way back to the hostel.  By way of Temple Bar of course.  While at the Hairy Lemon, and chatting with the staff they mentioned that Temple Bar gets even wilder on Saturdays.

Yup, even more packed.  I should just go back to the hostel.  Instead of having another pint.

dammit.

Day 3, and again the morning is greeted with the sound of anvils being pounded in my head.   Somehow last night, I had the sense to pack most of my stuff.  I take a shower and get changed into my new clothes finishing off my packing.  I then take an executive decision.  I’m going back to bed.  The idea of going to the Jameson Distillery briefly flowed through my head.  But it was drowned out by the sounds of anvils.

By the time I do leave it’s 11:00 AM and all I want is breakfast.  However I do know where I’m going.  Queen of Tarts.  They do breakfast, and they do baked goods.

What’s not to dislike?

and they get busy really quickly!

My breakfast of choice today is the Irish potato cakes (much like the ones I got at the market yesterday).  These ones, are made with bacon and leek and come with poached eggs, and sausage.

Heaven on a plate.

And honestly.

That’s my time here…

Oh and more Guinness

because my flight isn’t until 5PM

Follow me on

Instagram @jimboiuk and twitter @jimboiuk for all my foodie stops.

check out the following places mention in the article and let me know if you plan on visiting them

Places visited!

  • Pitt Bros – Fantastic smoked BBQ food – with free soft serve ice cream when you buy a main!
  • Porterhouse – Great scene for craft beers (note, Guinness not served here)
  • The Long Hall – A great pub to sit and people watch.  Or chat with people!
  • Temple Bar – on Temple Bar, although at €7 a pint it can get pricey
  • Stage Door Cafe – Dublin’s Best Breakfast
  • Temple Bar Food Market – Saturday only, have some fantastic stalls like Paddy Jacks, Goode Life Food Company, Piece of Cake Bakery!
  • The Rolling Donut – more flavours then you can shake a donut at!
  • Quays Bar – on Temple Bar, live music at all times, and a great pint of Guinness.
  • Scoop Gelato – lovely ice cream flavours.  Where are the freakshakes though!
  • Bubble Waffle Factory – for all your bubble waffle ice cream, and bubble tea needs!
  • Hairy Lemon – Brilliant food, and atmosphere.
  • Queen of Tarts – Cafe and bakery extraordinaire.  Lovely staff.

 

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