Air Lingus takes us to the green island for a stop-over in Dublin on our way to Madeira. we take the opportunity to spend two days in the fair city.
Monday, 26.12. We arrive late in Dublin and take a taxi to our hotel, the Hyatt in Liberties. There is not much else to do in the late evening as most pubs are closed for Christmas.
Tuesday, 27.12. While we took it slow last night, we start the Irish way: With a tasting tour through the Teeling Distillery at 11am. To prepare, we start with a hearty breakfast.
Next, we visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Finally, we are ready. The Teeling Distillery is only a short walk away from St. Patrick’s. I was not aware that the Irish Whiskey industry came to a complete halt in the early 20th century (cheaper whiskey from Schottland, Britain prohibiting Irish trade with the Empire and American Prohibition). Teeling is the first distillery to reopen in Dublin’s Golden Triangle in 125 years. Second interesting, although logical insight is that there is a maximum age for whiskey due to evaporation of ca. 2% per year.
Enlightened but slightly drunk, we take an Uber to Matt the Thresher for some excellent Oysters and other Seafood.
Slightly drunk and quite full, we take a walking tour through the city. We stroll down Grafton Street and across the river Liffey (the Book of Kills is unfortunately closed). We find the needle in the haystack, i.e. the Spire of Dublin.
Then we do the first pub stop at the Church (exactly that, a church turned into a pub).
Our next stop is McNeill’s Pub. It’s a small pub mainly frequented by Dubliners for their afterwork beer or after Christmas cheer. We find two stools in the backroom by the fireplace. We would love to spend the night but need to find at least some solid food.
I am not happy with the music at DarkeyKelly’s (piano man playing Jimmy Hendrix songs). So we end up in a tourist joint, the Old Storehouse. However, the food is decent and the first musician is as well. We watch the dart world championship but eventually call it a night (with a final sip – we wisely do not finish our pints – in the Long Bar.
Wednesday, 28.12. We have become a day older and wiser. This means we plan to end the day on Whiskey, not start with it. We start a bit later with a visit to Christ Church Cathedral.
From there, we stroll towards Grafton Street for our food tour within Grainne, a nice and energetic Irish woman. We start at Powercourt but with a first stop at Boxty. The potato food is fantastic (dumplings are best, fried boxty second). We learn a bit about Irish pub culture (pick your pub depending on your preference: philosophy (Grogan), literature (Mulligans and Haines), Dancing (O’Neils), Music (DarkeyKelly’s),…
We stop at Mulligans and Haines for James Joyce texts, Irish Stew and Fish & Chips. Two stops are enough to be fully filled up. The Irish really know how to feed you.
The final stop is the Rag Trader, where we make our own Irish Coffee; more precisely, I learn that I am doing it exactly right.
We finish on time and rush to meet Andrew at the Lincoln Inn for a whiskey tasting. The tasting does not elevate me above my “I like” vs “I don’t like” distinction of whiskey but it’s fun nonetheless (albeit with a group of the most simple minded friends from the US I have met for a long time…).
We relax with some fantastic Irish music at DarkeyKelly’s – this is how ai hoped it to be. And a final highlight is yet to come: Dinner at the Spitalfields Pub. We sit at the bar. The barkeeper is fantastic (good conversations as you would hope), the food is simply amazing. It is a fantastic end to a boozy but wonderful weekend in Dublin.
Thursday 29.12 There is nothing left than say goodbye to the fair city and head to the airport. I miscalculate the time and we have an extra hour… fantastic… We enjoy breakfast and lift of towards sunny Madeira.