I surprised myself by managing to get over two years through our adventure in Europe without visiting Ireland – particularly given so much of my family came from here (waaaay back in the day). So, we booked our trip for January when everyone was coming down from the hype of Christmas and staring into the face of a long, cold winter.
I had been extremely busy with work in the run-up to the trip so had done a lot less planning and research than usual so we didn’t really have much of a plan of action for when we got there.
In the morning we headed out in search of coffee and found a cute little café called The Pepper Pot which was upstairs in this random arcade. The décor was very girly but the food was fantastic. I ordered a seeded bagel with cream cheese and salmon which came with the most delicious chutney (not sure what flavour it was). The cakes and scones all looked a treat.
After breakfast, we wandered around the city for a bit before heading over the other side of town to the Guinness Factory to do the tour (obviously, it wouldn’t be a visit to Dublin without coming here).
I had been told that Guinness tastes so much better in Ireland so I was keen to see whether this actually made it drinkable. The tour was incredibly commercial but at points very informative. Alex’s favourite part was the floor with examples of the advertising campaigns over the decades – the cycling fish in particular.
I was very interested in the tasting part. You get taken into this white room with different vaporisers which let off the main smells / flavours *apparently* in each glass of Guinness. As they were things like malt, coffee, etc, I thought this may be a drink that I could get behind as the room smelled fantastic. We then got to try a tiny shot glass of Guinness and it did not taste at all like what they were telling you it would. It was much bitterer and not that enjoyable.
They then give you a voucher for the bar at the top of the museum with panoramic views of the city. I was determined to finish the pint given it would probably be the one and only time I would have a Guinness. I got about a quarter of the way through and gave up, donating the rest to Alex who was extremely pleased with the outcome.
After the tour, we went back into town for some food and found a great little burger bar – Bunsen Burgers. The food there was great – just what we needed after the Guinness tasting.
We were really keen to catch some live music while we were in Dublin and had been given a number of suggestions for pubs that were great for music. Unfortunately, there was some big rugby game on so every place was showing that instead. We settled on a place called O’Donaughues where we found a seat to watch the game (if we must). Alex ordered a Guinness and I asked the bar tender if they had white wine (honestly it looked like the type of place that may not have). His response was “have you ever been to a pub that does not sell white wine?” He then brought out an individual serving bottle, so I don’t think I was far off. Now, when I said we didn’t get any live music, that is not strictly true – there was an extremely drunk lady in the pub who spent about ten minutes singing ‘Old McDonald’ at the top of her lungs. Pretty entertaining for a minute or so, but got a bit old, so as soon as we were done, we scarpered.
We found a great little spot for a late night snack – Etto. As we had a really late lunch, neither of us were hungry for a big sit down dinner (unfortunately as this place was fantastic). In the end I settled for a cheese plate and Alex a venison carpaccio and desert of gingerbread and cheese icecream. We almost caved and ordered the huge sharing steak with the worlds most incredible looking potatoes (almost half of the tables had ordered this), but we were too full. We have recommended this to friends since who ordered that and they reported back it was extremely delicious.
In the morning we had breakfast at Hatch and Sons. It was in the basement of one of the beautiful terraced houses along the Green. The food was very good and just what we needed on a cold winters morning.
We didn’t have much else we wanted to do, so we just spent the morning walking – all the way out to the ports then back into town. We decided to go to a carvery lunch at O’Neill’s. I had never been to a carvery before and although I had been warned about the portion sizes, it was on another level. I had the roast lamb with all the trimmings and Alex the cheeseburger (not from the carvery menu obviously), but they plates still looked full after we had finished. Such a waste.
Overall, we had a very chilled weekend in Dublin. I was very surprised with the food scene there. Pretty much everything we ate was great. Don’t know what we would have done to entertain ourselves had the food not been as good. (Clearly we spent all of our time here eating and not taking photos…)
Until next time,