It was pissing with rain for pretty much all of our second day in Dublin. In the forlorn hope that the weather might improve and the knowledge that most businesses didn’t open until around ten, we took our time in the morning before venturing outside.
We went to Lotts Cafe Bar for breakfast. The cafe opened at 10:30 and we were the first customers to come dripping through the door. The rather gaudy outside belies a charming old fashioned interior with fancy chandeliers and tile work. I had a full Irish breakfast that you can read about on my other blog. here’s a picture of the deserted snug:
It features the smallest bar in Dublin, which was almost full (not hard) when we popped in later. Our breakfast stop made a good start to the day despite my discovery that their toilets weren’t open for business yet.
We crossed over the river and found Dublin Castle where we took the self-guided tour for 7 Euro. The self-guided tour unfortunately doesn’t include the medieval sections – the Norman powder tower and chapel – but does include some very impressive rooms. In retrospect we may have been better off not being such skinflints and forking out a bit more for the guided tour.
After the castle we made a pit stop at the nearby Queen of Tarts on Dame Street for some lovely cakes and a break from the rain.
Then it was back out into the elements and a short walk up to Christ Church Cathedral. Having read in the guide book that a lot of the interior of the church wasn’t original, we decided to give the inside a miss and instead continue around to St Patrick’s Cathedral. There was some suggestion that we might go in another day, but this never happened. There’s only so many old churches you can visit before they kind of merge into one.
St Patrick’s Cathedral was full of history. Jonathan Swift’s grave is inside near the main entrance and it is the longest church in Ireland. There’s also a piece of a door with a hole cut in it through which Lord Kildare literally ‘chanced his arm’ back in 1492 to prove he had no ill intentions towards Lord Ormonde who had locked himself on the other side.
While we were still in the Cathedral I availed myself of the public conveniences. The men’s room was busy so I slipped into the disabled toilet – ready to call out “I’m disabled” in an Irish accent should anyone knock on the door (that’s an hilarious IT Crowd reference btw).
Then we took a walk through St Stephen’s Green from another angle and made sure to take a look at Edward Delaney’s Famine statue.
We made an aborted visit to the Shelbourne Hotel, recommended to me by a work colleague, with an eye to perhaps having lunch there, but we found it all rather too posh and we decided to beat a hasty retreat before someone told us off for getting their foyer carpet wet. Siggy had made a note about the nearby well-rated Beanhive cafe, but we found it was (a) very small and (b) full of people.
So instead we found ourselves in 37 Dawson Street a trendy cafe bar with various comfy seats, booths and jazz music playing in a long lounge very eclectic decor. Again follow the link to read all about it.
We then popped into the nearby The Little Museum of Dublin for about an hour. The map reading mistake of yesterday was but a glimmer of a memory. We got a very interesting half-hour talk taking us through the decades of Dublin’s history from 1910 onwards. The guide mentioned a ‘no jazz’ movement which I thoroughly support. I hate jazz. Call me Johnny.
More up my street was a room dedicated to U2:
Among the sixteen or so people in the museum, Siggy and I were surprised to find we were the only ones from the UK. There were all sorts of nationalities present and it made us feel very European all of a sudden and a bit sad about Brexit. The museum is full of curious items and if you go look out for the gold-plated Wotsits.
We then had more cake and diet coke in a side street cafe near Trinity College called Brewbaker cafe. It was a very rough and ready place to eat but I enjoyed the big scone I had. I didn’t feel it was worth blogging about on fdndrnk.com, but it was perfectly adequate.
We then wandered over to the National Gallery of Ireland. It was too late to see the Caravaggio exhibition so we settled for the Hennessy Portrait Prize ’16 room and the European art gallery displaying art by the likes of Picasso, Rodin, Van Gogh and Monet. Somehow it seemed a bit like second rate art by first rate artists for example a John Singer Sergeant painting had a piece cut out of it and repaired and the Van Gogh was before the artist really got into his colourful stride.
However there were some gems and it’s worth a visit – don’t let my disparagement put you off, I’m perhaps a little peeved that we missed out on the Caravaggio exhibition, but I preferred to let the day progress organically rather than try and stick to a rigid timetable. Dublin is very walkable and I’m sure you could plan an excellently timed itinerary, but with the weather as it was, we preferred to make random pit stops here and there, if only to use the toilets.
We found a familiar side gate and walked back through Trinity College, past the Bank of Ireland and into Temple Bar. We sauntered down Wicklow St and took a random turn to see St Teresa’s Church, and then realized we’d walked in a circle when we came across the entrance to Trinity College again. My how we laughed.
Once we got our bearings, we went down to river, over the Ha’penny Bridge and back to The Lotts Cafe Bar for a quick pint of the black stuff. It was good to warm up in the little bar and listen to some of the banter between the lads at the bar and the barmaid.
Then we had our free tea and latte at the hotel bar and eventually wandered back out into Temple Bar. I hadn’t made any restaurant reservations for the evening and so we aimed at the Elephant & Castle, but fat chance of getting in there on a Friday night. Instead we settled for the Boxty House Restaurant because it had a couple of free tables and no-one queuing inside.
Later we had more beer at a big bar called Street 66 or Front Lounge we’re not sure which, situated just down the road from Dublin Castle. They were playing Eighties music and showing what looked a Swedish art house film on television. We both felt bloated and tired after our food and beer and so called it a night early and walked back to the hotel. On the way we spied Corfu Greek restaurant which was on my list of potential places to visit and so ducked in and made a table reservation for the following evening.