Blog2005 ≫ Damn I had a really good headline in mind for this

SO, went to Ireland at the weekend, and it was very nice! Here will follow my little review of where we went and what we did, and things I recommend and things I don't.

Friday morning we had a wedding meeting at Lympne Castle1, TOO EARLY, and too many questions to answer and that, this is not the way to start a holiday! Then off to Gatwick, to fly to Dublin. Snuck a few pints in before getting on the plane so I was nice and relaxed (man I hate flying), but unfortunately this meant I was bursting for the loo during take off. Thought there might be an accident when the stewardess told me NO, I COULDN'T go to the toilet until the seatbelt lights went off, but we were OK. Got picked up from the airport, which is a WAY nice thing to happen, good work Aunty Mary. Headed to our guesthouse in Stillorgan (don't laugh) and then I think we went looking for food. Tried a pub called The Wishing Well in Blackrock, and it was rubbish. Vegetable curry for me, which was some boiled veg in gravy - a hint of a smell of chip shop curry sauce but no spice. Clare and her mum hated their fish too, but Clare's dad loved his beef curry - he is Irish, maybe it was cooked in a good Irish way, and the Irish don't like strong flavours. Maybe. The drinking there was odd too, no ales at all anywhere all weekend, I stuck with Smethwicks, quite a nice bitter, but a bit too smooth. More visiting after that in Blackrock, then off to Johnnie Fox's. This is more like it! It's up in the mountains, far from everywhere, and Ireland's highest pub. It's a bit tacky, and definitely aimed at the tourists, but DEFINITELY what we were after. It's huge and sprawling, with historical bits of junk scattered throughout the plac, there was a band playing, and apparently the food is award winning. They have a vege menu, though mostly it's about seafood. The only thing that let them down was the rudeness of the bar staff, though I guess they have enough or a reputation to attract people from around the world, then it's going to take more than a snide comment on a website to put people off. The place seems to have been visited by everyone and their dog too, from world statesmen to Brad Pitt, though they have no photographic evidence of this2, just a list of names on a board. I've seen Colin Farrell recommend the place though3, and I would too.

Saturday we went on a bit of a tour with our host Uncle Terry, and we checked out a few sites of interest, including one Harry Clarke. He's not related to me, but he is to Clare, and this was the first of his stained glass windows I'd seen in the flesh, quite amazing stuff really. You can search online4 but none of those pictures do the colours and the details justice. His work is all around the world, and I plan to see more. Later we did some shopping and things in the centre of town. All was nice, until we ended up at Stephen's Green mall5, where we'd arranged to meet Clare's folks. It's a horrible place, and we found ourselves stuck in the car park forever at the end of the day. Whatever you do don't park there, we ended up leaving the car there over night.

We struggled a bit to find a place for dinner that night, they're not big on vege food in Ireland, not in the touristy bit of the centre of Dublin anyway. We settled on Le Caprice, wooed in by CELEBRITY! This place has photos of lots of famous patrons, include Ferris Bueller himself. It was a nice meal (Italian btw), not cheap, but in a nice setting too. My penne arrabbiata wasn't spicy really, I think the Irish have a FEAR of strong flavours. There was a guy playing the piano, seemed to be a Beatles medley the whole time we were there. Possibly he was a prisoner of the venue. Later we ended up in The Vat House Bar, (via The Old Stand where there was live music again, and a bit of blurriness. This is just in the Temple Bar area of Dublin where I've been before, but I didn't remember any of it. I don't remember too much from this point onwards, except the taxi queues were humungous, I didn't get any food on the way home, but we did get a bus back to Stillorgan. At about 4am.

Sunday's eating was pretty good, I can't found where we had our lunch, and it wasn't memorable anyway, just salad and chips for me, but dinner later in Carlito's was fab. Everyone else had steaks, I had spaghetti, but all the side dishes and everything were ace. Oddly we picked all our food before heading to the table, I guess that means they can turn over tables faster. Anyway, great place, and a fine last meal, actually full of flavour and a bit of spice!

Crap flight back, bumpy, glad to be back home and feet on the ground. Pictures later, though I don't think there are any where we're in focus.

Maybe I will change that headline later when I think of something, I was plotting this out yesterday and I think I had the title of a song in mind as the title for this post... anyone got any ideas? Streams of Whiskey would be appropriate, but it's certainly not a Dirty Old Town, that's partly down to the non smokingness of the whole country.

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Paul Clarke's blog - I live in Hythe near Folkestone. Married to Clare + dad to two, I am a full-stack web developr, and I do js / Node, some ruby, python, php ect ect. I like pubs, parkrun, eating, home automation and other diy stuff, history, family tree stuff, TV, squirrels, pirates, lego, + TIME TRAVEL.