Anyone who knows me knows I can’t resist an alcoholic beverage. It kind of comes with the territory when you have both Irish and Italian blood.
Last weekend I visited Dublin with my dad. His mom was born there and came over to England in the 50s to work on the buses. He’s only ever visited once, as a child. I visited last year with my friends and loved it, so when I realised I had two days of holiday left for this financial year, I booked an impromptu trip back there with my dad.
We had a whale of a time! My dad loved the place, as you can see…
Now, being in Ireland, I had to try a pint of Guinness. I haven’t had one since I went gluten free, back in December! According to Google, some people don’t get such strong reactions to barley so I thought, ‘what the hell!’
So there was pint number one…
Closely followed by pint number two…
Pint number three…
After that indulgence, my tummy wasn’t too happy, but it was nothing I couldn’t live with. Despite indulging in the Guinness, I started the holiday off with good intentions and stuck to gluten free meals. One place that handily had gluten free marked on its menu was Murray’s on O’Connell Street, a stone’s throw from our lovely little hotel Cassidys (which I highly recommend). Murray’s is a fab bar that my friends loved, as did my dad. They did a delicious salad burger which I polished off, and they have a great band playing there most nights called Dubh Linn, as well as Irish dancers. It’s incredibly touristy, but it’s good fun!
Another place that had a ‘C’ for coeliac marked on its menus was The Hairy Lemon on Stephen Street. We watched the rugby there, which I wasn’t too into, but it was a great atmosphere seeing as Ireland won! I had their Roast Vegetable Stack which, whilst containing more potato than I expected (the Irish sure do love their potatoes), was lovely:
We did all the usual tourist stuff during our trip; we got a three day pass with a tour bus company called City Scapes which was an absolute bargain. They take you around in luxury coaches instead of open-topped buses, and since it wasn’t high tourist season, a lot of the time we had the bus to ourselves which was great as the tour guides were brilliant! I really recommend seeing Dublin this way as you get to see a lot more of it than you would do ordinarily. We visited the Guinness Storehouse (obviously), the Natural History Museum, the Art Gallery, the National Museum of Ireland (which has some deliciously macabre bog bodies), and Kilmainham Gaol, which is fascinating. We were going to visit Glasnevin Cemetery on the last day, but the previous night I had swapped to red wine instead of the Guinness, and as most people know red wine hangovers are the devil.
We visited a lot of bars – we went to a few in Temple Bar for the experience, but Temple Bar is overcrowded and overpriced and full of lads on stag dos, so we didn’t stay for long. (If you’re going anywhere for a steak, I really recommend The Old Storehouse, though I can’t say much about their gluten free offerings as I threw caution to the wind!)
One amazing place if you like your beer is The Porterhouse (also to be found in Covent Garden). We went to Porterhouse Central on Nassau Street. Most draught beers there were €5, which with the amazing exchange rate worked out at a bargain basement price of £3.57.
What I love most about Ireland are the people. My nan died when I was a baby, but everyone who knew her said she was the nicest, kindest woman out. She’d give you the shawl off her back. Despite being a staunch Catholic, she also apparently had a famously dirty sense of humour and would be the life and soul of any party. Someone to look up to, I think!
The Irish charm was in abundance in Dublin. When dad and I went to The Porterhouse, we ended up sitting with a group of people in their early 30s, and stayed chatting with them the whole night. The entire atmosphere is so unlike England, and if it weren’t for our brilliant NHS, I’d seriously consider upping sticks and moving over there.
I did notice that The Porterhouse had bottles of Estrella Daura Damm, but I find it too sweet. Being awkward, I drank about three pints of Oyster Stout, which is beautiful.
The final day, my hangover day, was horrendous. My stomach was in uproar, my mouth had decided this was a great time to give me the first mouth ulcers I’ve had in months, and I’m still suffering from tiredness.
The lesson, kids? Enjoy Dublin, but if you think you’re coeliac, don’t drink it dry of Guinness.