The last few days have been a little crazy culminating in me sitting here with a bandaged ankle writing this latest post. We arrived in Dublin later than anticipated which meant that we didn’t have an awful lot of time to explore this bustling city. After withdrawing euros and organising my refund after having accidentally paid triple the amount for my ticket down to Shannon and back. It became a case of ‘spot the Irishman’ in Dublin as is the running joke in this multicultural capital.
We managed to find a tourist map and stumbled our way over to St Trinians which is a very old very prestigious University which just so happened to be right near the Temple bar district, another internationally renowned Dublin landmark. It’s basically a street lined with bars heavily populated by tourists. We made our way to The Temple Bar and didn’t expect a huge crowd just yet being only 3:30 in the afternoon and from the outside it looked rather quiet. But as soon as we opened those doors it was a very different story on the inside. The bar was packed with people all talking in an array of different accents. Miraculously we found a table with some very hard stools to sit on and Kathleen bought us a round of drinks so we sat and soaked up the atmosphere. Over the murmurs of the crowd we could hear the twanging of musical instruments as the band was preparing to play in the other room. The bar had a lovely old world charm about it, but with barely enough room to swing a cat due to the crowds we only stuck around long enough to finish our drinks before heading out again to find another bar.
About 50 metres down the road we came across a bar called Gogartys. It was very conspicuous as it was coloured yellow and was proudly adorned with flags from all over the world which basically said to us ALL NATIONALITIES WELCOMED HERE though touristy it had an unmistakable charm about it. And as we all entered it wasn’t full yet so we sat down right near the stage to find two musicians sitting to the side, one with a guitar and one brandishing a banjo. The establishment was huge with about 3 or 4 levels including a couple of bars and a fully fledged restaurant and hostel upstairs.
We sat down with our drinks in what turned out to be the best seats in the house and as the music started to play it united everybody in the room. A huge hens party entered and began dancing out the front. There were probably only 3 or 4 Irishmen in the entire place but it didn’t matter as the atmosphere was infectious and we were all soon singing along to the songs and tapping our feet on the floor.
We became affectionately known as the ‘Austrians’ up the front and they were even nice enough to play some of our requests. We would’ve happily stayed there all evening. It was Friday night and we were in Temple bar in Dublin in the best seats in the house it was great. Slightly drunk after a few rounds darkness began to fall which signalled that we would have to be on our way unfortunately. Regrettably we gave up our fabulous table and descended onto the streets where the rest of Dublin was just beginning to awaken.
Just as before we had a slightly stressful time purchasing our tickets back to Belfast. I looked on in dismay to find the familiar redheaded 12 year – old-looking boy behind the ticketing counter once again. After finding the hidden ATM or cashpoint as I should be calling it now we were all soon back on the bus back home (well Belfast had become like home) away from the music and busy streets we pulled out of Dublin in silence left to reflect on all that we had seen and heard during the day.
The following evening back in Belfast Kathleen and I were keen to go out for what would be Seans (Kathleen’s brother’s) last Saturday evening in Belfast. We begged him to let us know if he was going out as we had heard rumours in Shannon that the family were planning an evening with everybody.
So Kathleen and I waited around the apartment only to find out that Sean was already out with one of Kathleen’s uncles. Apparently that’s what Belfast men do, go out and get drunk and the women cook their dinner and wait for them to stumble in at all hours.
Sunday evening rolled around and we were determined to get out on the town with or without Sean. After much stress and what seemed like an ever-changing schedule we managed to get a group of us down to a local pub that just so happened to be the manliest pub in Belfast and much to my dismay full of older men. We walked in and scanned the room and couldn’t see a single girl in the bar. What we saw was a whole heap of TV screens screening all sorts of sport from around the globe and the communal cheers of men watching a Man united versus Newcastle match.
We sat at the table and after a few pints these youngish guys next to us turned and started talking to us and Kathleen’s cousin Seaneen. The more Belfast men drink the faster they talk, and the harder they are to understand. Apparently these guys were real assholes but we couldn’t catch half of what they were saying so we were just giggling the entire time.