We were hungry, so I asked the barman if there was a food menu to look at. Without missing a beat, he replied "This is the menu: ham and cheese, cheese and ham, crisps, and cigarettes." I ordered the first two items and sulked back to my seat clutching two pints of the black stuff. In the interim, an inebriated older Irish man had offered to buy Jenn a beer, which she politely declined. Later, amid toasts with his friends at a nearby table, he stood up in the center of the courtyard and sang an a capella Irish folk song that was rather wistful and nice.
The sandwiches arrived and were tasty, and we were introduced to a popular condiment in Ireland known as brown sauce, which somewhat resembled A1 steak sauce. We sipped our pints and felt the stress drain out of us. This was a much-needed vacation, but I didn't want to ask too much of it. Perhaps that's why it worked out so well.
On the way back to the hotel we walked through the modern wing of the National Gallery of Ireland. It was lovely, and it was free.
That evening - Saturday night - we had reservations at a fancy restaurant called Pearl (pictured) that Jenn had heard good things about. Pearl was a romantic basement-level space with multiple dining rooms and private nooks, some of which were separated by elaborate aquariums (I love looking at tropical fish while I eat). On the fish theme, Jenn ordered salmon, which I usually find boring but came out perfectly prepared - juicy and flavorful. I ordered seared scallops with prawns on a piece of pork belly, and it was just as good as it sounds. It was quite a contrast to our previous meal of pub grub.
We asked one of the hostesses for advice on where to get an after-dinner drink, and she suggested a nearby Italian restaurant and bar called Il Segreto. We passed the next two hours sipping crisp martinis and chatting about what we'd learned about Dublin so far.
All of this would have been fine, but on the walk home I had the brilliant idea of going to one more pub, a low-key place called Reilly's. We ended up closing the place, but that's not saying much in Dublin because the pubs close at 12:30 a.m. (or at least that one did). I drank two ill-advised Guinness and we chatted with an Irish/Dutch couple who were sitting next to us at the bar about the Irish golfer Padraig Harrington, who was playing in a tournament in America at the time. The man was drinking a Guinness like me, but the lady ordered brandy (without specifying any particular type of brandy) and ginger ale (which came in a small glass bottle).
The next morning I had a well-deserved headache, but I summoned the strength for our big out-of-town day trip anyway and soon felt better. We took the DART train from Pearce Station (pictured) to a nearby town called Malahide. Malahide has a charming downtown area, and we found a perfect cafe for lunch called Coastal Cafe & Wine Bar where I had some kind of open-faced sandwich and a cappuccino that finally ended my hangover.
We walked along the waterfront, stopped in a bookstore and bought a book called Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín (as Brooklyn residents, we couldn't resist) and then took a long but enjoyable walk to Malahide Castle, pausing to watch a cricket match on a nearby field.
The 12th century castle is surrounded by huge, carefully-manicured lawns and looks rather imposing as you approach it. You're not allowed to wander it by yourself, so we took a tour and got to see how a knight named Richard Talbot and his ancestors lived. It was interesting to see the period furniture and artwork (but then we also enjoy Antiques Roadshow). After an hour or so, we went back to the train station and I bought two tickets to Dún Laoghaire, a town on the southern side of Dublin.
The ticket vendor didn't correct me when I mangled the pronunciation of the Gaelic word and said something like Dun-Logare, but a couple of guys we sat near on the train corrected me and I felt dumb. It's Dunleary. They were among a huge crowd that boarded the train after a big hurling match at the stadium. Hurling is an ancient Gaelic sport that's sort of like field hockey, with guys whacking a ball into a goal using wooden sticks. Not surprisingly, there is frequently blood. This match pitted Limerick vs. Tipperary, and when I asked if the "right team" won, one of the guys, looking somewhat crestfallen, said "the expected team won." Tipperary had defeated Limerick in this semi-final match, and would go on to face Kilkenny. And that is all I know about hurling.
We got out at Dún Laoghaire and walked along its main street for a bit. It was pretty quiet, so we ducked into a pub called Weirs and had pints of Guinness and a bite to eat. I ordered a burger, which came without a bun. I found this strange, and the waitress very kindly brought me a toasted bun. Jenn got a vegetable curry, which was about 95% rice and sauce and 5% vegetables.
We took the DART train (above) back to central Dublin and went to bed early, at 10:00 p.m. It was bliss to get more than eight hours sleep, and we'd need it for long walk we'd take the next day.
Continue to Part 3.
[All Photos: Victor Ozols]
· Losing Time in Dublin, Part 1: Beginning at the Pub [Jaunted]
· Losing Time in Dublin, Part 2: A Tale of Two Menus [Jaunted]
· Losing Time in Dublin, Part 3: A Long Walk to St. James's Gate [Jaunted]
· Losing Time in Dublin, Part 4: Sandcastles, Real Castles, and Thin Lizzy [Jaunted]
· Five Mellow Days in Dublin at the Maldron Cardiff Lane [HotelChatter]
· O'Donoghue's [Official Site]
· Pearl Brasserie [Official Site]
· Malahide Castle [Official Site]
· Dublin Field Trip [Jaunted]