If you think – by looking at this grey-white sky in the picture above – that we had hell of a day in Dublin, Ireland, even in late summer, you are wrong. This – in fact – was the best day of all five days we were there. 😀 Despite the clouds, it wasn’t raining cats and dogs. It was the only day we didn’t have to perpetually stick to our umbrella, or spending hours browsing through artifacts in the museums or sitting in the cafes, day-dreaming about squirrel-chasing at St. Stephen’s Green. So, as many Dubliners tried to console us: This is an authentic Dublin’s weather; Cheers to our liquid sunshine, etc..we did our best to enjoy our time in Dublin.
A little details on our journey. We flew direct on Eva Air Bangkok-London (and their fantastic Premium Economy) into London’s evening, spent the first night laying-over at the Park Inn by Radisson at London Heathrow (functional, a bit run-down, don’t be fooled by the bright new pictures on their web), before flying Aer Lingus to Dublin the next morning. We arrived Dublin early in the afternoon and after checking in to Jurys Inn Parnell Street, we had a fantastic lunch (by European Asian standard, though) at Pho Viet which is just across the street from the hotel. Since what we had on us were mostly British pounds, we tried to make some exchange to Euros, but found the rates so horrible. With Brexit and all, the ￡ became almost equal to the €… so, we changed our plans from using cash to credit card. ?
Anyway, despite the downpours and the bus strike, we had quite a blast in Dublin. First off our list was the Guinness Storehouse not because we are fans of the beer, but because we had heard too much about it to skip it. So, we decided to get the storehouse out of the way on the first day. And since the hotel didn’t provide a BF with the room we booked online, we had our first breakfast at Brother Hubbard on Capel Street near the River Liffey before taking the tram to the Guinness Storehouse.
Above was my plate of “Lebanese Kousa” – two soft-boiled eggs, ladled with coriander yoghurt on stew of chickpea and tomato and two slices of toasted meaty sourdough (€9.95). My coffee was a cloudy brew of Americano which was more sour and insipid than aromatic. The chickpea stew in my Kousa was a bit watery, but tasted delicious enough (watch it on IG if you will :). And I was quite happy with the combination of soft-boiled eggs and spiced yoghurt.
My hubby went for a plate of Beans and Pulled Pork Special (€9.95), with a generous heap of pulled pork paired on toasts with tangy and crunchy ingredients such as spiced tomato sauce, pickled onions, hazelnut dukkah etc..topped with a soft-fried egg. A big nod from him who also enjoyed his latte.
We were advised to take the tram that day because the entire Dublin bus was on a strike. So tram it was. A station is just nearby the cafe where we had breakfast. The ticket was €2.30 per person, bought here at the machine. We got off at St. Jame’s Hospital station and walked the backstreet to the Guinness Storehouse. P.S. We rented a pocket WiFi from home and used it on the road for GPS and everything. The price for the WiFi was about Bt5,000 for the whole two weeks of our trip.
Here we are at the famous Guinness Storehouse. The ticket price was a hefty €20 per person. You can try for cheaper deals via their website. But then, you would need to specify the time and date of your visit, which, of course, compensate your chance to make impromptu planning / changes during your trip.
After being €40 poorer, we self-led ourselves to a loose gathering at this hall (above) where a staff was telling the crowd through a squeaking microphone a brief story about the place. We were to walk around – self-guiding-style – through the seven stories of the building. The building itself was historic, built as the fermentation plant of the brewery back in 1902 and then turned into a tourist attraction in the year 2000. But this is not where they brew or make their beers as we had hoped though. It is more like a themed museum suitable for those who truly want to know every single detail about this old establishment of Dublin. There was no viewing of the ‘factory’ of the ‘beer making’ process like we had experienced visiting other places (say the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, Oregon which was free!) but more of some selected artifacts with plaques after plaques of lengthy explanation. You will need to be very interested in their story to stay tuned into all these, because all there was was their story. From the first guy who started it all, to the social statuses the family had accumulated, the business empire they expanded, and their advertisement that helped spreading the Guinness brand around the globe and so on. The fun began at the room where visitors got to pull their own beers. But there was a permanent long queue weaving in several folds in front of it, so we skipped it. We briefly stopped at an enclosed all-white room where different scents of Guinness were offered in smoke and the beers in tasting glasses. But on the top floor – the Gravity Bar – a visitor is eligible with the end-stub of their ticket for a pint of their classic black beer. And the sweeping (cloudy too) view of Dublin. Since we are not so much of a beer drinker, we opted for half-pint each and a large coke to share 😀
So if you ask me, I’d say for €20 each for a self-guide, no-real-experience-of-the-factory and nothing-else-but-on-and-on-and-on all-about-Guinness-facts, it was an expensive thing to do in Dublin. But it was kinda hard to ignore because then we would be in Dublin without having visited their most visited place. 😀 Kind of a dilemma, isn’t it?
So it was a half-day of sightseeing in Dublin that we did on our first full day in the city. We later wandered out (after spent quite some money in their gift shop) of the Guinness Storehouse and walked our way back – through the old quarter – into the city center. We stopped at the gorgeous Christ Church Cathedral and had lunch at this small seafood place which I will tell you in the next posts.