Ireland Holiday 2 - Ferry Crossing and Dublin

On Tuesday morning we set off from Worcestershire with nearly four hours to do what should have been a two hour journey. A planned detour to a supermarket for picnic lunch supplies added rather longer than expected due to roadworks in Shrewsbury. Then the satnav took us unexpectedly through Snowdonia, which was picturesque but rather slow going. As the minutes passed, rather more quickly than the miles, tension mounted until we made it to the ferry terminal just two minutes before the gates closed.

A couple of months ago I heard someone raving about the beer selection on the ferry they had travelled on (I'm fairly sure it was on the Beer O'clock Show), so I was interested to check out the bar. The selection was as feared rather than as hoped for - Guinness or Heineken - so I decided to pass.

Once we disembarked I discovered that, for the second year running, I had travelled abroad without checking that my mobile would work. You would think I might learn, maybe next year. Luckily one of the teenager's phones was working and so we found the AirBnB without much difficulty, unpacked and then headed back into the city. With a family of four we decided that driving would be a better option than using the bus. As it happened we found on street parking on New Bride Street for just €1 so that was a good call.

A short walk took us into Temple Bar where we wandered for a while looking for some dinner. While we considered the menu at Porterhouse I spied, through the window, three guys playing guitar, banjo and fiddle, but the menu wasn't to everyone's liking so we moved on. There were any number of good looking food options before we settled on a small pizza place doing pizza and a glass of wine for €10.

After eating we made our way back to Porterhouse as it was on my list of bars to check out. Sadly the musicians I had seen earlier were leaving as we arrived. Being designated driver I was glad to see that I could sample three thirds of the Porterhouse range. The Oyster Stout and the Plain Porter were both very good beers, smooth and full-bodied, with a hint of sweetness in the Oyster Stout, and a little bitterness in the Plain Porter. However, for me the standout beer was the Wrasslers XXXX. Like the other two this was also smooth and full bodied, but it also had a great coffee and chocolate bitterness.

From Porterhouse we moved from craft beer central to total tourist trap Temple Bar, in the form of pubs such as The Temple Bar and Oliver St John Gogarty. As we wandered from pub to pub we heard a succession of live versions of Irish classics such as The Wild Rover, Black Velvet Band, and Whiskey in the Jar. Now don’t get me wrong - I enjoyed humming and singing along; the musicians were all excellent; the atmosphere was lively and fun - but the craic was laid on just a little bit too thick, or maybe that was just because I was a little bit too sober.

The following day we were back in the city again, where we split up to follow our own interests. Dylan went to the National Gallery to see an exhibition that had caught his eye; Fi and Bridie went shopping; while I went off to find Five Lamps Brewery. I thought that knew where I was going but soon realised that, without the benefit of mobile data, I was soon pretty much lost. Fortunately I managed to find my way back to St Stephen’s Green to meet the rest of the family for a picnic lunch.

In the afternoon we searched out O’Reilly’s Bar for a pint and a photo opportunity with our family name. At first site the bar looked rather a mess. Once inside though the decor was quirky gothic, the staff were friendly and welcoming and the Cute Hoor beer was better than a lot of macro keg beer in England. We also mosied around Trinity College and Dublin Castle, and visited Maggie Malone. Dinner was at Pablo Picante, excellent burritos washed down with a bottle of Bru Lager.

By that time we were getting a bit footsore from traipsing around the city, so we decided to head back to our AirBnB for a quiet evening. Earlier we had popped into Lidl where I had been very impressed by the range of their craft beers, so I enjoyed sampling Bru Dubh (a dry stout), Trouble Brewing’s Graffiti Pale Ale, and McGargles Little Bangin’ IPA. The Graffiti was a decent enough pale ale. Dubh was a very good stout with rich coffee, chocolate and vanilla notes. However, Little Bangin’ was the standout beer of the day; in fact I would go so far as to say that it was probably the standout beer of the holiday. With heaps of citrus flavours this beer is quite similar to Elvis Juice, but, at just 3.8%, it is a beer that is truly sessionable.


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