Dublin Redux

We have seen Dublin relaxed in its late 20th century getting-by-nicely mode, its frantic Celtic-Tiger days, and its post-crash depression days. This time, things seem to be quite cheery and thriving, judging from the number of tourists and young people.

It was a lovely Sunday, and very quiet in the morning – guess the party people of Saturday night didn’t get up as early as we did. Grafton Street was almost deserted, relatively speaking. Since we have seen so many of the big sights in town, we took it easy on a hop-on bus and just refreshed our memories. (For the record, Aran sweaters are only slightly higher in cost here – from the same company that sells them on the islands.)

Connecting the trams on the north and south sides of the River Liffey is a great idea, but a grand mess, particularly as they will be going across the O’Connell Bridge.  Guess we’ll have to enjoy the results on our next trip.

So much to see here, and some things to be surprised about all over again. For example, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191, is the largest church in Ireland and yet it is not a Catholic church, but rather Church of Ireland. (Thanks, Henry VIII.) The office of the Dean here has existed since 1219, and was famously held by Jonathan Swift. I still have a problem with this one…

And then there is the other cathedral of Dublin – this one quite pantheistic, namely the Guinness brewery – which continues to pump it out for drinkers around the world. We took the tour last time we were here and were quite impressed.

There will be a whole lot more later this week on the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, but suffice it to say it is quite a prominent theme in the city this year. Its heroes are remembered everywhere.

Along the River Liffey, we saw the Famine Memorial, and one of the ships that the immigrants used to get to the new world in hopes of something better. (Do remember I was taking these from a moving bus – sorry.)

Lots of lovely old buildings and historic sites – and even a shot of Bono’s hotel – the Clarence, in Temple Bar.

And then there is new Dublin. When the docklands area of Dublin became obsolete, every name architect in the world seemed to grab a project here. (Brits will appreciate its nickname – Canary Dwarf.)

You wouldn’t know you were in the same city, but it’s all magical. (And speaking of magic, the new Harry Potter book came out today!!! And I got one!!!)

Don’s Food Corner

We had a heavy breakfast and were hoping for a mid-afternoon tea instead of a lunchtime meal, but we were thwarted again on that idea. Instead, we jumped into the nearest restaurant without any thought of what it was. It turned out to be Italian. (In Italy, no respectful restaurant would be open at 3:00 in the afternoon.) Our waiter was actually Italian and was amazed by how much of Italy we visited — as we are.

The meal? Jo had pappardelle with ragu and asparagus. This being Ireland, the ragu was made with lamb. We never saw anything like this in Italy. Never, as I can remember, a mixture of meat and vegetables in a sauce. Also, the portion was larger than we ever saw in Italy and the sauce was thicker and heavier. It was more Italian-American than authentic Italian. The same went for my order of ravioli.  It was meat-filled ravioli with a ragu sauce. Meat on meat?  Never saw it in Italy. And I don’t think Mama was making that ravioli in the back room, but it was surprisingly tasty.

A bottle of Italian red wine washed everything down agreeably.  It was a nice change of pace.

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