(at least not for another year)
27.01.2017 - 29.01.2017 8 °C
Friday started as all good Fridays should – with a quick to Iceland to buy milk, followed by the consumption of cereal from a mug with a plastic spoon. We are nothing if not classy.
We headed to the bus station, and Simon used up our final Caffe Nero free coffee voucher in a fairly amusing exchange with the Slovakian waitress. It went something like this:
S: “I’ll have a large latte, please.”
W: “Did you say ginger beer?”
S: “Large latte…”
W: “Ginger beer?”
W: “Are you Australian? I can never understand Australian accents…”
Somehow he got the the coffee though, and then we bussed our way down to Dublin. The bus driver was as Irish as could be, and when he saw our luggage he did a double take. “What, are you guys travelling for a year or something?” Yes, good sir, indeed we are.
A few hours later we arrived in Dublin and found our way to our hotel after dodging a lot of dog poo. The local welcoming committee of gulls made their presence felt, and then we headed into Temple Bar the pub in Temple Bar the area to catch up with Gus, Vikki, Elaine and John. Because what better way to finish our holiday than a weekend in Ireland with our Scottish friends, the Welshes? The TradFest was on in Temple Bar for the weekend so every bar had live music – winner. We enjoyed a coddle together for lunch, which could best be described as being a combination of bangers and mash, and potato and leek soup. Sooooooooooo Irish. Went down well with a pint of Guinness, or Orchard Thieves cider, our new beverage of choice.
Our afternoon adventure involved finding our way to an escape room, and then finding our way out of said escape room. It was hilarious – and without giving anything away, the remote control car was a definite highlight. As was playing Operation…
We had dinner and a few more pints, made sure we had heard Whiskey in the Jar and Wild Rover five times and then headed to a bar that was embracing the TradFest spirit by playing traditional 80s classics. You can never have too much Blondie in your life…
On our way home, we were struck by the high prevalence of very visible homelessness in the city. The most amazing thing, though, was the very visible presence of support. I’ve never seen such a prominent and well organised soup kitchen before – and people raising money to support it. We walked past countless people sitting in doorways asking for money, and all of them had someone sitting and chatting to them. Kudos to you, Dublin.
Saturday was a slow start for Team Buccas – while the Welsh crew headed out for cooked breakfast, we had the incredibly classy Cereal In A Mug, but this time with a stainless steel teaspoon. What an upgrade! We met up at Dublinia (Dublin’s answer to Jorvik, complete with mannequin on the toilet) and we learned all about Viking and Medieval Dublin. We earned ourselves some cake by walking up the stairs in the tower, but had slightly more difficulty actually finding a cake shop. There was a lot of to and fro-ing in the quest for cannoli, but in the end settled for cakes at the closest shop we could find. From there, Simon and I embarked on a Northside walking tour and learned more about the 1916 Easter Rising, as well as being enlightened as to the origins of Bono’s name and all the rhyming nicknames for ‘The Spire’. Thus informed, we met up with the Welsh crew again at a craft brewery – not THE craft brewery, but A craft brewery – and after sampling the local liquid delicacies, headed to TGI Friday’s for a less traditional Irish meal, but a delicious one nonetheless. And then we managed to squeeze into Gogarty’s pub, along with a thousand of our closest friends for some awesome tunes and songs performed by a man with an eye-pad. Another rendition of Whiskey in the Jar – of course – but also some of the best whistle playing I’ve heard in a long time. Eventually the heat and the squishiness got to us and we bailed out, and we made the obligatory stop at Abra Kebabra before crossing the Ha’penny Bridge and heading home.
Sunday… ah Sunday. We all made it for cooked breakfast this morning (some of us indulged in some liquid breakfast too!), and there was even time for a wee cocktail before we headed off to a museum to do some learning about Stuff and Things. Sounds intellectual, eh? Well, yes, but remember – we were in Ireland, so it was an Irish Whiskey Museum. Huzzah! It was actually a really informative tour about the history of whiskey making in Ireland and we did genuinely learn things as well as genuinely being able to taste whiskey. Best of both worlds.
After that, the cannoli quest continued. But this time with more purpose – we knew where we were going. Unfortunately, the cannoli shop did not have seats. And since Dublin had finally decided to rain on us, we wanted to eat in. They promised us that their sister shop across the Liffey would have a) pistachio cannoli and b) seats, so off we traipsed. You can imagine our disappointment then when the sister shop and neither of the two things we so desired! Nevermind… the chocolate café down the road proved to be a reasonable alternative (even if Simon did have to run back across the river to get his pistachio cannoli).
We finished our jaunt in a nice relaxed bar with fairly lights, and a waitress who seemed to find Gus fairly ‘informative’. Baby Guinnesses all round. And all too soon, that was it. Time to return to the hotel, collect our belongings and say our farewells to the Welsh crew, to Dublin, and to Europe. Eek.