A pint (or two, or three…) of Guinness
April 28, 2012
Geoff and I headed over to Ireland for our next quick trip. Our friend Lisa had been to Dublin before heading our way in London, so we were able to get a few ideas on where to go. We spent two nights in the fancy Gresham Hotel, and walked all over town. One thing we didn’t realized before going was that Dublin is one of the most expensive cities in the world! Or so it seemed to us… even so, we had a great time:)
If you want to see a few more photos from the trip, click here.Walking across the River Liffey, the weather was gorgeous! We found this fantastic little coffee shop and stopped by a couple of times. Great design, cool space, and delicious coffee & treats. I wish they had a shop in London. We were told that the restrooms were through a door at the back of the cafe. But after standing there, looking like idiots and unable to find them, we were pointed in the right direction: The bookshelf in the back left corner is only partially a shelf. Half of it has been painted/built to look like shelves, but it’s actually a door to a hallway. Sneaky (but so well done)! We were excited to walk by this piece from C215, one of our favorite graffiti artists. We had a chance to meet him at a book signing in London, and keep finding his work in the different places we visit. Geoff had told me that artist Conor Harrington had recently been in Dublin and had worked on a huge piece. He was SO excited when we turned down an alley and stumbled across it. Bundled up against the wind and the cold, we had to stop for a typical arm-out-Geoff-and-Chelsea shot:) The Happy Ring House made us, well, happy:) I don’t know if it’s still open, but we giggled every time we passed the building. Just another beautiful, extremely old church in the middle of the city… We stopped at this place, ‘Kitchen’, for a lovely Italian dinner our first night. It was super cozy with a great atmosphere and delicious risotto. Geoff had been researching Dublin the week before we went, and came across The Dawson Lounge. It’s tagline is, “Probably the smallest pub in the world”, and of course we had to see if it was true. We made our way there after dinner, and were surprised to find just a single door sandwiched between two businesses on a dark street. When we walked inside and down the tight staircase, we found ourselves in a tiny room packed with people, all trying to drink their beer while having absolutely no room to do so. As the crowd slowly trickled out, we made our way to the bar and started chatting with the bartender. He turned out to be a really funny, interesting guy, with great stories to tell. When it came time to close down and kick everyone out, he invited us and another couple to stay and hang out while he cleaned up. He locked the front door and the five of us hung out in the tiny bar, drinking Guiness and laughing until 3am. It was such a random, fun night that we never could have planned!! These incredible pastel drawings were on the sidewalk, unnoticed by most of the people walking over them. With the help of a few online reviews, we found this little gem for lunch. An all vegetarian restaurant with gigantic portions of yummy food. You have to get there early, because when they run out of food, they simply close for the day! On our second day, we took a bus across town to the Guinness factory. Although we loved Guinness, we probably wouldn’t have done the tour without the rave reviews from some of our friends. And they were all right; the factory was so well built, we spent the entire day wandering around and looking at the displays. One of the many displays, showing the use of water in making the beer.
The yeast used to make their beer has been from the same strain since the brewery began. Because of this, they keep a sample of it locked in a vault, to make sure the flavor will always be the same! Different labels for bottles being sent across the globe. And when you make it to the top of the tower, there is a freshly poured glass of Guinness waiting for you:) Pablo and Lupita were excited… they like beer. When the tour was over, it was evening and time for dinner. We walked by this place, and had to go inside. Cheap beer and pizza, lots of candles, and writing on the walls. It seemed like the perfect spot. What was even more perfect? Blue Moon on tap!! After drinking British ales and Guinness for so long, we were SO happy to find a delicious Colorado beer on tap. Napkin doodles. The Wander Monkeys strike again… After dinner we walked a few blocks over to Bowes, a pub that had traditional music (called a Trad) every Sunday night. As we waited at the bar, people showed up, one by one, and started playing music. It was this amazing round-robin of songs, with different people joining in with musical instruments and harmonies. We were happily surprised when someone started singing ‘Wagon Wheel’, a song we love (written by Dylan, made popular by Against Me). The whole night was such an incredible experience.
It turns out that this fella is a world-renowned flautist. Many of the locals were “over the moon” that he showed up. As we began our walk home, the wind was stronger than I had EVER felt. It was freezing cold, and our umbrellas kept flipping inside out. We started noticing dead umbrellas along the streets… stuffed in trash cans, lying along the curb, and run over in the street. We made it a game to count them all on the 1/4 mile walk back to the hotel. The total? 22. Poor, broken umbrellas. The last thing on our agenda before we caught the bus to the airport was to see the Book of Kells. Permanently on display inside Trinity Collage, it was well worth the hour long wait to get inside. The Book of Kells is a 9th Century gospel manuscript that seems to be in pristine condition. Hand painted on vellum, the drawings and calligraphy are absolutely beautiful. If only we were allowed to take photos.