Since we’re winding down our time here, our list of things to do and see is longer than when we came, which is further evidence that the more you see in life, the more you want to see. We’ve been cramming in trips wherever we can and since we will never live closer to Ireland than we are now, I thought that I would take the boys over for a long weekend to say hello to our distant ancestors.
When I was looking at hotels, I somehow convinced myself that booking a room above a pub was a good idea. Here was my thought process the night I booked the room: ”Hmmmm. I will be in Dublin by myself with the boys. I should book someplace where I can get beer easily, since I’m sure I’m going to need it after dragging the Ruckus Brothers around town for 4 days.”
Let’s just say, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
When we arrived in Dublin and made our way to the hotel, I had a bold realization the moment we arrived. It was: ”HOLY SHIT I BOOKED A ROOM FOR ME AND MY KIDS ABOVE A PUB!” Sometimes I forget that I’m not in college anymore.
In any case, the woman at the desk took pity on me as we checked in and changed my room to the farthest away from the pub, which was kind, although the building was not large and so the farthest away was not much farther than the original room. As my consolation prize for a dubious choice of hotel, I was serenaded to sleep by a very large crowd singing a stirring rendition of “Danny Boy”. I had tears in my eyes that night, but not because of the emotional nature of the song. Luckily my kids are very heavy sleepers.
We filled the next three days with many great things including, but not limited to:
- a tour of the Kilmainham Gaol (interesting fact: the location of many extremely important moments in Irish history, including the execution of many notable leaders of the Irish rebellion)
- the Little Museum of Dublin (interesting fact: a new museum in Dublin telling the history of the city through artifact donated by citizens)
- the Dublinia – the Dublin Viking Museum (interesting fact: when the Vikings came to raid Ireland, the place they landed was in such bad shape that they named it Dublin, which means ‘black poo’)
- the Dublin Zoo (interesting fact: it’s the place where the original MGM lion lived)
- a tour of the Guinness Brewery (interesting fact: Guinness IS good, especially in Dublin)
When we asked about getting fish & chips in Dublin, Burdock’s Fish & Chips was the main recommendation. And, as luck would have it, Burdock’s was within sight distance of our hotel/pub. We had imagined that we would go out for a nice dinner there, until we arrived, only to realize that Burdock’s was a true fish & chips shop, with only a counter, no tables and a huge line. We had plenty of time to consider what we were getting, but even plenty of time could not change the fact that the heavenly smell of fried fish & chips wafting at me completely muddled my brain. That, and I did not have my logical partner (Tim) with me.
When it was our turn to order, I barely considered that two of the three people in our crowd were children and I placed an order that was fit for a full rugby team. As soon as our food was ready, the people around us started looking to see who was with us to help us eat it all, but I just ushered my children out of the shop, their arms dragging with heavy bags of fish, chips, onion rings and lots of extra garlic mayo.
Like every very good parent does when faced with a load of fried fish and nowhere to sit on a chilly night in Dublin, I brought the kids back to the hotel/pub and we spread it all out on the slightly less than clean carpet in the room. To be fair, I considered letting them eat their fried fish on the beds, but given the amount of grease that was seeping through the newsprint wrapping the fish, it made me believe that eating on the floor was a better option, grimy carpet and all. These are tough choices to make.
Here is the photographic evidence of that gluttonous evening, shabby lighting and all:
I realized when we were in Dublin that it was the first time my kids had been in an English-speaking country in over two years. At one point, Owen wanted a glass of water at a café where we were eating and I told him to go ask the server for it. He was hesitant to ask, but when he did, the woman smiled at him and said, “No problem. I’ll bring it right over.”
Owen arrived back at our table and said, “Things are so easy in Ireland. They just give you what you want and they don’t say ‘no’ first. I love it here.” If that isn’t a testimonial to the lacking customer service in France, I’m not sure what is.
On the last night we were in Dublin, we went out to get a burger (and a pint) at a recommended pub and we found a good seat and sat down. Shortly afterwards, when the giant projector screen lowered right in front of our table, I realized that we had accidentally claimed the best seat in the house for the Manchester United vs. Real Madrid soccer match. We stayed for as long as we could handle the noise level and I can assure you the fans were only too happy to see us go.
That night back at the hotel/pub, the crowd below serenaded me off to sleep by singing, “Whisky, You’re the Devil.” That night whisky would have been an angel.