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Friday, May 11, 2012


      We've arrived.  The flight from Toronto to Dublin was painless and we actually arrived ahead of schedule.  This is a really special bonus because it meant we beat all the other international flights to the customs agents and were able to cover the distance from plane to taxi stand in about fifteen minutes.  The only down side to it all was joining the rush hour crush into the city, but our driver wanted information about Disney World, so the time flew by.
     Good news!  The Brooks Hotel is still an oasis of comfort within an incredibly hip city.  Yes, Conner, the butler, is still there and he claims that he remembered me but couldn't place Mike.  What a charmer!  Still dressed in his cut away grey morning suit, wearing his "Best Of" lapel pins, perfectly shaved and every hair on his head brushed into obedience.  A deep three hour nap and Mike and I were ready to meet the city.
     Dublin is an incredibly young city.  Statistically, the average resident's age is somewhere in the mid 30's.  Even though the Celtic Tiger has been reduced to a quiet kitty during this economic downturn, the cities heartbeat is still beating loud and proud.  The restaurants and bars are packed with hip locals and a lot of German and Scandinavian tourists.
     Our first destination on our walkabout was The Queen Of Tarts, a wee little tea shop on Dame Street, near Dublin Castle.  Word of warning...if you are thinking that Dublin Castle is like something from a travel brochure, not so.  It has been modified, subdivided, updated, torn apart, rebuilt, rezoned and chopped.  A gate here, governmental offices over there, a bit of a remaining wall and if you squint your eyes a bit, you can almost see where they displayed the heads of slain enemies.  But, the castle holds great importance to the history of Ireland and is worth a guided tour if you want to understand it's landmark status.
     Following our late lunch we walked about a bit more and returned to our hotel in time for me to meet up with local knitting ladies.  I spent a spirited evening sitting with women who meet weekly in the bar at The Brooks to chat about their knitting and their lives.  I had been tipped off about this group by a chance meeting the week before with a young lady who had just returned to Canada from living a year in Dublin.  The two Clair's were the first to arrive and they graciously invited me to join them.  From that moment it was as if we had been friends for eons.  Knitting will do that!  Then along came Edel and we were joined by Keeko and a couple of others.  Edel, spent the entire evening making suggestions of sights, tastes and sounds of Ireland that she thought we would enjoy.  You could see that she had a special love and pride about her city and she wanted to open my eyes to all of it.  At the end of the evening, I was thankful to Lilly for introducing me to these women.    
     After knitting, Mike and I walked two short blocks to a trendy little alleyway named Coppinger Row, filled with chic restaurants and very hip patrons.  We found a corner table in the front window and both ordered the roast lamb dinner.   It always surprises me when Americans turn there nose up at lamb.  But, I must say that over the years I too have had some pretty strong mutton that has been labeled as lamb, and am usually cautious about ordering it.  But, Irish lamb is a unique meat and is to be ordered when ever possible.  That, a nice bottle of red wine and the crisp linens at The Brooks insured a great sleep for us.
    Friday we awoke to find a bright and crisp morning.  But, not to worry, because the soft rain returned by noon.  Now, about breakfast.  Where else but The Brooks would you start your day with the most lovely bowl of Irish porridge, sprinkled with brown sugar (not the American sort) and swimming in cream with a dash of whiskey?  Who would have ever thought of this?  I am here to tell you that whiskey is the perfect topping to porridge.  This gave us a proper start for a full day of walking.
     Trinity College and Temple Bar got most of our attention on Friday,  These are two places not to be missed.  Granted, Temple Bar is a bit touristy, but still great fun.  A pint of Guinness here, a cheese tray there, and buskers every twenty feet.  For dinner, we managed one more pub and more Irish fare.  Mike had the sausages with chips and I had a steaming bowl of Irish stew.  I have decided that a proper Irish stew is something I am going to ask Mary to teach me about during our stay in Dingle.  Remember Mary?  Read this blog back in 2009 and you will get re-aquainted with Mary and her mad kitchen magic.  Then, stay turned here and you will see that we are spending ten days in Dingle, at a holiday house with Mary.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.
      Tomorrow we take the train to Killarney for a four night stay.  So, good night all!

1 comment:

Favourite Son #2 said...

Clearly, this is a picture of where you drank your breakfast.