Sunday, 11 September 2016

Dublin - Food, Wine and Friends

20th August

My trip started badly, first I got to the railway station and saw my train was cancelled, the next one was an hour later. luckily I always leave loads of time when travelling so I was still ok timewise for my flight. Met up with Debbi at the airport good to see her again, but our plane was an hour late in taking off so more waiting, patience is a virtue.

St Patrick's Cathedral from our living
room window
We landed in Dublin and as usual immediately felt at home, it's the first time we've been there in the summer for a while. We got a taxi to our accommodation, an apartment right opposite St Patrick's Cathedral, lovely to look out at. It was a lovely place, very clean and in a super location. We got our food and drink supplies in and then ordered a Chinese to be delivered. It was delicious, sweet and sour chicken and duck in plum sauce, we decided every first night in a place we will be doing this in the future.We stayed up late chatting, lots of catching up to do, it felt wonderful to be back again.

21st August

We had a lie in and then walked to Sophie's, a rooftop restaurant in the Dean Hotel for brunch. The restaurant has windows all around three sides which give you views over the city. I had eggs benedict which was good, but a bit rich for me early in the day. On the way out we just had to have a go on some swings that were hung opposite the lifts. A bit weird but it was fun reverting to our childhood for a while.

Our Tagines at Dada's
Afterwards we set off on a mission, I had forgotten my ipad lead and Deb her plug, with four devices between us we needed these things.  We trudged across to St Stephen's Green, then down Grafton Street, onto College Green, Dame Street popping in and out of phone shops along the way, the prices were high and we weren't willing to pay them. We headed towards our apartment via Aungier Street and found a little shop off the beaten track that had what we wanted at a good price, mission completed. That day we walked around five miles, and the irony was, that once home, I found my ipad lead and a second plug in an inside pocket of my handbag! Ahh well the walk was good for us.

That evening we went to Dada Restaurant. We'd been there a few years ago and loved it so decided to go back as we had loved it so much. We were not disappointed, I had the most delicious lamb tagine with apricots, nuts and cinnamon amongst other spices. I will write a full restaurant review about Dada's in a separate post at a later date.

August 22nd
After breakfast we headed out towards the Powercourt Theatre to see the play Buridan's Ass. This production is part of the famous Bewley's Cafe Theatre but as Bewley's is being renovated at the moment they are using the nearby Powerscourt theatre. We had the soup and soda bread as usual and sat at one of the small wooden tables right a front so had a brilliant view. I thoroughly enjoyed the play, which is a dark comedy set in a struggling taxidermy business with the boss, Mahone, last in line of the family ("a genetic cul-de-sac" and his keen apprentice, Ernest. Mahone pondering on his life and future and it had a good twist at the end. So even though headless dachshunds came into it (don't ask, as I wrote it is a dark comedy!) I thoroughly enjoyed it.

So today was our lazy day, we have one of these where we just drift from place to place having a drink so our first port of call after the theatre was Cafe en Seine the fabulous place celebrating Belle Epoque where I had one of their gorgeous Singapore Slings.

The Bar at Kehoe's
We then wandered round to South Anne Street to try out Kehoe's pub and I loved it! We went into the bar and I asked if they had any prosecco, the barman said "I don't know, I don't work here" Apparently he was just filling in for a couple of hours, he had a look and found little bottles of prosecco and seemed surprised at how much it was and that we'd pay that much for the drink! There was an amazing old-style till at the bar. We sat in the snug (an original one, this pub dates from 1803) and it was lovely. There was a lot of Irish banter between the bar staff and the place just felt comfortable place, a world away from bustling Grafton Street close by.  It reminded me a lot of Dockers pub which was a favourite  haunt of ours for years until it closed. Now all that's left is the frontage on the quayside, all the atmosphere and history swept away.
O'Neills Chips, the Best in Dublin

Next stop was O'Neills in Suffolk Street. This is a large pub with lots of nooks and crannies and a pleasant and friendly atmosphere. Debbi was happy to go there because it had her favourite beer which isn't available in many places. By then we were getting hungry so we ordered two portions of chips and they were the best chips I've had for years and years, real chips!

We ended our lazy day pub crawl there as we had to be home as our friend Declan was coming round. Lovely to see him again, he only had a knee operation a week previously, so it was so good we managed to meet up.

23rd August
Next day we got the DART train to Sandycove and Glasthule to see our friends Ken and Elizabeth who had invited us for an Irish brunch. As usual Elizabeth was very generous with the food and it was delicious, glad it included white pudding which I love! We had a good chat and caught up on each others news.

Debbi and Me at the Trocadero

That evening we went to the Trocadero, a large restaurant that has pictures of famous people on the walls, lots of mirrors and very comfortable seats. I had pate to start and chicken in tarragon sauce with pesto and chorizo. It was good, but , for me, not exceptional.

Next day it was home, it had been a short but wonderful holiday. It's always like coming home when I visit Dublin. We did all the touristy things decades ago and now we just enjoy the Dublin for itself, good food, drink, theatre and friends, the best things in life!