Days 3 and 6 (with some other stuff in the middle!)
This will be a rather short post. As you enter the airport, you realize that most signs are in 2 languages - the national (Celtic) and the most commonly used (English). Only about 5% of Ireland speaks Celtic, and even less are fluent, but it is super cool to see it up everywhere.
We started off the day with an Irish breakfast - its pretty much an English breakfast as far as I can tell. An English breakfast is comprised of:
- Fried Eggs
- White beans in a tomato sauce
- Roasted mushrooms
- Grilled Tomatoes
It sounds weird to an American, and neither Kelsey or Catherine ventured out to try the local grub, but naturally I did. It was great! A bit heavy, I will admit, but completely perfect for keeping you warm in the constant drizzle.
Dublin is a cool city, significantly smaller than London (like way, way smaller), but it has its charms. There are canals running through it, with small and large bridges running across is. The canals were originally built by the Guinness family to ship Guinness to all the local pubs (there are TONS of pubs in Ireland. In one town we went to there were 300 people, 1 post office, 1 school and 12 pubs). The canals now don't serve a purpose, but do split Souther Dublin - the ritzy area - from Northern Dublin:
Cute little buildings line cobblestone streets. While the weather is almost always grey, the trim on shops is often bright red, green or blue.
I wanted to try another classic of the British Isles - a Cornish Pastry - so I found a little stall that had award winning pies. Traditionally, a Cornish Pastry is a crust stuffed with steak, potatoes and onions. I had one of those, and also a cheddar, leek and bacon pie. This particular store had several other varieties, including chicken, sausage and spinach and feta. The original, however, can't be beat. Its sort of like a hand pie, but there is something about the way that the inside is lined with potatoes that holds all sorts of goopy, delicious bits inside that makes it extra good:
We stayed in a nice hostel, in a room to ourselves. It also had a huge kitchen, so we decided to make Colcannon. Colcannon is a traditional Irish soup, normally eaten around Halloween time. Seeing as we found ourselves in Ireland right around Halloween, it only felt right. Its comprised of kale and potatoes and onions, simmered forever in a stock and then mixed with cream or milk. We had it with some awesome Irish soda bread that we picked up at a local supermarket.
Dublin is also home to a store called Avoca, which I absolutely fell in love with. It was originally a knitting factory, but is now much more. Think of Anthropologie crossed with Ikea, and you begin to come close. Tons of cute merchandise for the home, clothes and silly books pack 2 stories. If anyone is looking for a Christmas present for me (hhem hhem) the Avoca cookbooks are available online! These two stories are sandwiched between a cafe downstairs and a restaurant upstairs, and boy is the food AMAZING! I tried a sesame beef and peapod salad, a roasted potato and french dressing salad, and an arugula/goat cheese/sun dried tomato/potato/bacon salad, all of which were superb! In addition to cute tea sets and the like, they have stacks of preserves - some delicious-sounding, others less so:
All in all, I liked Dublin, but I LOVED Ireland...