Woke up to an empty room. Didn’t realize the showers here were gym style, a row of shower heads in a room for the guys.
This hostel did not have a meal option that didn’t come out of a vending machine, so I searched via phone maps for good breakfast places near and located a tiny cafe about a block away.
I don’t know how I was so lucky with my picks were but this was such a homey feeling small place. I mean the lady behind the counter didn’t greet me so much as she procured a cup and asked me if was tea or coffee time.
Make mine coffee. I don’t think I ever did get tea with milk on my trip though I should’ve.
She brought my coffee with the newspaper, ‘just the parts I’ve read !’ she cackled. ‘and don’t go filling out the crosswords, lad. That’s my afternoon!’
I got eggs in basket, fried egg in the middle of toast. A nice light breakfast.
Several locals came in, she knew them not only by name, but what they usually ordered.
As far as I could tell, it was 1 women doing everything, greeting guests, filling up coffee, tea and cooking mainly egg meals.
An older guy came in and promptly greeted everyone ‘good marn-ing’ with a wave!
It was a glimpse of what I enjoy stumbling upon while traveling, just a normal day at the breakfast spot. Nothing contrived, or an artificial show for tourists, all real people going about their day and I was just a part of it.
I thanked the lady behind the counter for the lovely meal and breakfast experience.
Out into the street, currently under major construction. I think they were putting in rail lines for a tram.
Cross the bridge over to the Temple District, the heart of tourist town. There is a busy bar here I don’t recommend you go to as the price of a pint changes based on how busy they are and it is pretty busy most of the time. Plenty of places to get a proper pint but whatever you like, you should do.
It was a bit warm out so I popped into an old, oaken pub, many a stuffed animal head with antlers adorned the walls. This was appropriate as it was named The Stag’s Head.
Selecting a spot at the bar, I saw there were a couple of partitioned booths at the far end.
They resembled private booths so they could still order but didn’t have to get up from their spot at the end of the bar.
The bar was tended by a female w long curly blonde hair who told me about these things they called a snuggary.
Back in the day it wasn’t proper for men to be seen in public with women who weren’t their wives much less women drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Perish the thought, those aren’t lady like activities.
Sometimes this meant just gender segregation, ladies had to sit unseen behind the partition while the men drank in the pub.
Other times this may mean a couple who are not married to each other but are married may hang out but again, be unseen.
I presume it was mainly along gender lines though, yet now there was a female behind the bar and the sky had not fallen nor had the island slid into the ocean.
The statue was the singer of a great band from Dublin, Thin Lizzy. I knew he was from the city but didn’t know he was statue worthy to others. I was happy to stumble on it.
A few more blocks and I was in a huge green space, St. Stephen’s Green. I do love big city parks and this was one of the best on my trip.
There are a lot of signs all around the park with info about various events that have occurred during the park’s history starting out as a private space for the wealthy, being occupied by insurgents during the 1919 Easter Uprising to a conversion to a tent hospital space during other conflicts.
Once in the park, I came across several large, 2 sided displays with text written by an Irish historian.
The pictures showed places on the island affected by the war as well as stories about Irish exploits in other battlefronts. Only 1 Irish county didn’t suffer casualties during the war.
I thought I knew about the effects of WWII but seeing these changes in person, the physical change in geography due to bombing, was all too real on this trip.
The US may have sacrificed lives, but most of Europe was physically changed, geographically, politically, socially changed by the horror of war.
I lingered reading each photo, learning some of the history of the Irish in WWII.
Nearly on cue, I heard a loud voice. Across a stream a tour guide in full military fatigues was leading a group.
It isn’t too hard to overhear these tours, some of which require money. Since this guy was dressed up, I guessed this tour wasn’t free.
He was also talking about the park’s military history which sadly had seen a couple of world wars as well as a civil war.
Following a path, I circled the whole park a couple of times, walking around it in both directions.
Benches were full of businessmen munching their lunch, university kids talking in a circle, musicians practicing. It is a truly wonderful park, a must visit in Dublin.
I headed north and walked through Trinity College, though uni wasn’t in session at the moment so the fields were empty.
The hunt had begun for a Shepard’s pie, the real version. To me it was the acceptable, adult version of pot pie, which I ate my fair share of growing up.
It was a long walk from the College past my hostel to get to Kavanaghs, but it turned out great! A small restaurant/pub with many local reviewers stating this was one of the best pies in all the city.
I found a table and surveyed the scene. Most people were eating and watching a football match on TV.
There was 1 guy who waited on the entire floor, dude had probably 15-ish tables, yet he kept circling, grabbing empty glasses, delivering food and still had time to linger for a joke or 2 at a couple of tables.
The table just across from me had some twats seated. I say this because they were arguing about who could eat the most chips, fries. Saying you can eat the most of anything is pretty pathetic if you ask me.
They were young however and having silly contests is just part of that age I reckon. Great! You can eat 2 full plates of fries and gravy, high 5!
The pie here was served with chips, hell every dish I saw came with a side of chips.
Normally this is ok, but the key to Shepard’s pie is the mashed potato lid that turns into sort of a baked, mashed potato thing. It is the savory equivalent of crème brûlée, you have to pierce the tater lid!
It was a potato overload is all. The sole vegetable in this dish were peas. Real meat and potato meal right here.
I’d also had my share of spuds on this trip by this point too. Still this was one of the best Shepard pies I have eaten.
After finishing my meal I decided on 1 more pint to see if the crowd would pick up. It didn’t other than a group of doctors, nurses who took over the bar area.
There was a hospital across the street so that accounted for their presence. I always enjoy the contradictory scene of medical personnel in their work scrubs pounding shots and beers. Do as I say, not as I do, that sort of thing.
Still early, I set off in the hunt for music, any singer songwriter will do. Maybe someone from one of the bands I like will be playing their local pub gig, who knows?
I walked back to the river area and hear a guy singing from out of an open pub door. I ventured in and it felt and looked like someone’s living room.
He was set up in front of a brick fireplace using 1 amp and mic. A narrow walkway between wooden tables, chairs and booths lead to a backroom, then outside smoker’s patio. Even the ceiling here was wooden.
They had beer on tap so I got one and sat in a back room where I could still hear the music. All the seats were full in the ‘living room.’
The singer lead the group in several local tunes I’d never heard but everyone else sang along. When he tried to sing the standard “Wild Rover” he stopped the song several times.
‘Aye c’mon ya! You all know this one and we will do it fooking properly or not at all. No Nay Never, then 4 claps.’
(Start song again, then stops) ‘You aren’t clapping in time!’
(Begins song again) ‘Still shite but improving! It’s 1-2-3-4 da da da da.’
(plays song again) ‘Aye now you’ve got it!’
On the outside tables were empty liquor bottles, mostly Jameson, that had a candle in the mouth. The wax had coagulated into thick stream down most of the bottles. It was a bit of accidental art.
Once the songs ended I moved outside after getting another pint. The smokers patio had a lot more people than inside.
Across from me sat a couple of lads and a couple of girls. The girls were from Belfast and the lads from England, both groups were on holiday.
They were talking about the Troubles and the whole UK vs Ireland issue, delicately at first, though the ladies did get a bit heated. The guys kept their cool as I presumed they were trying to take these ladies home so they didn’t get out of hand.
“We aren’t our government and neither are you! We get on right? That’s all we can do because we can all try to change things at home, but right now, this is how things are so let’s have a pint, a laugh, you know?” one of the lads said while raising his pint for a toast. Cheers!
I didn’t stick around to see if the lads were able to take these ladies home. I was a bit tired from all the day’s walking so I headed back to the hostel for some much-needed shuteye.
Song: Thin Lizzy The Emerald