DUBLIN - DAY 2
Our second day in Dublin started bright and early with us heading out while the sun was still rising (which we find that no matter which city we visit, this is the best time to get out and enjoy your surroundings with minimal people out and about)--- as they say early bird gets the worm! We had a traditional Irish Breakfast at Lemon Jelly Cafe, which was just a block from our Airbnb. While waiting for her espresso to kick in Catherine sat mesmerized by the machine squeezing out fresh orange juice, straight from orange halves. If you find yourself at Lemon Jelly Cafe, you MUST try their orange juice--- by far the BEST OJ we have ever had!
After breakfast we headed off to the Dublin Castle to beat the crowds. As far as the castle goes, I wouldn’t go with the expectations that you’re visiting an actual castle (because you’re really not--- we found this out when we got there). Rather, the Dublin Castle, is more-or-less, a museum to commemorate what once stood at the sight prior to countless sieges throughout the years that eventually led to the deterioration of the castle. Today the castle is used by the Irish Government for state events such as the presidential inauguration and state banquets for visiting dignitaries. Nonetheless, the Dublin Castle was a fascinating place with some it’s original structures still intact; making it a great way to start any morning off in Dublin. After spending an hour touring the castle sight, we decided to make our way over to another historical landmark that tends to get busy as the day progresses--- Trinity College. On our way to Trinity College we stopped into The Bank on College Green for a pint of Guinness and an Irish Coffee. Here we learned that at the time of our visit, the Book of Kells that is housed in the library at Trinity College, (which we’ll tell you about in just a bit) was not on display. HOWEVER, The Bank of College Green does have a replica of the book on display in a gas case in their bar. Our bartender also gave us several recommendations on bars and restaurants, which you’ll find at the bottom of the page.
Now, back to the Book of Kells. If you’re into books and old libraries, this is a must see. Perhaps you’ve heard of The Book of Kells? Perhaps you haven’t? I’ll begin by telling you all this book is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, book held in a library. The Book of Kells dates back to 800 AD, and is comprised of four gospels of the New Testament, all written in Latin. Like we said above, the Book of Kells was not on display due to some refurbishments going on, but we were still able to look at other artifacts and discover how the authors and artists worked together to create the book. However, the main library was still open to the public, so we were able to wander around and snap a few pics of this grandiose library adorned with busts of some of the worlds most famous thinkers, philosophers, and geniuses--- Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, etc. As much as we enjoyed relishing the grandeur and beauty of this old library, the crowds started to amass and we were ready to find somewhere to grab a bite to eat and grab a drink.
For lunch, we chose to use our bartenders recommendations and decided on a lovely little restaurant & pub--- P. Mac’s. This had to be one of the coziest and most romantic pubs to enjoy drinks over food and candlelight--- they have several red candles at each table, flickering in the dimly-lit and rustic space. The pub felt like how dining might have been in medieval times in Dublin. The ambiance was just lovely--- we could have sat there for hours just enjoying good conversation over pints of Guinness. For you beer enthusiasts out there--- this place had the largest selection of beers out of any of the places we visited while in Dublin. They even had craft IPA’s from the states like Founder’s All Day IPA. We split the 12 Hour Beef Short Rib Sub (served with *delicious* fries) and the soup of the day which was a large bowl of tomato basil soup. Although we could have spent hours here, we decided to carry on with our day and on to our next stop… St Patrick’s Cathedral.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral was just a short walk from the pub. Upon arrival to the cathedral we opted to partake in a guided tour (highly recommend doing guided tours at any museum/landmark; if available). The cathedral was absolutely breathtaking with its ornately decorated interior and its’ immense size. It was difficult to pay close attention to what the tour guide was saying due to ongoing renovations to the roof of the cathedral and getting caught up in taking pictures of the surroundings--- the cathedral was among one of my favorites I’ve visited across the world.
Once the tour concluded, we decided to simply explore the surrounding area since we didn’t have much else planned for the day and it was nearing dinner time. The weather quickly turned for the worse and it began to downpour--- which we cant complaint, because it rushed us indoors and that’s when we stumbled across one of the most quaint and “local-feeling” pubs in Dublin--- John Fallon’s “The Capstan” Bar. This place embodies everything Ireland. From the moment you walk in, you feel like you’re in a local pub--- think wooden bar and a very small space for just a handful of people. The bar has enough space to accommodate 10-15 bar patrons comfortably. Now, THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TAKE AWAY FROM THE PUB--- for whatever reason, the Guinness here was the best pint of Guinness we had during our entire stay in Dublin (dare we say, even better than the Guinness Storehouse!). Our bartender, Allie, was hilarious and gave us several recommendations as where to visit, drink at, and eat. She was also kind enough to educate us on how many tourists (namely Americans), come into Dublin pubs’ asking for a commonly ordered shot--- “the Irish Car Bomb.” Admittedly, we’ve ordered this shot countless times before back in the States, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. She told us of how she had gone deaf in one ear because of the car bombs. We were quickly advised on how offensive this could be to some and should only be ordered by simply asking for Guinness with a shot of Bailey’s. Why? Ireland and North Ireland have been in turmoil throughout the years, and many people have lost their lives to car bombs as a result. The bartender put it in simple terms--- it’s like a tourist visiting America asking for a 9/11 shot… probably won’t go over too well. Anyway, if you find yourself in Ireland and enjoy this concoction, just ask for a Guinness with a shot of Bailey’s.
After far too many pints and chatting it up with the bartender, we ventured back out into the rain to make our way back towards the Airbnb and find a spot for dinner. Allie suggested we go to a place that was actually just across the street from our Airbnb Located right across the Ha’Penny Bridge--- The Winding Staircase.
First off, this restaurant is perched up on the second floor of one of the older buildings and has a very cozy and quaint feel. I will say, the restaurant is quite small so definitely make reservations due to the limited seating capacity. The Winding Staircase has three menus--- the Pre-Theatre (available for those dining before 8:15pm), the Group Menu, and the Á La Carte menu. We chose to order off the Á La Carte menu. We each had the Robinson’s Chargrilled 9oz Irish Striploin Steak. It’s served with sticky (grilled) onions, garlic truffle butter and fries. Catherine chose to sub the fries for mashed potatoes. For dessert we shared the Bread and Butter Pudding with Whiskey Sauce. After dinner, we headed back to our place to turn in for the night and get ready for our last day in Dublin.