I am back in the States after a week spent well in the UK. Before heading to London for work things, I took a mini-vacation in Dublin, where I spent three-plus days soaking in the music, beer, and literary air of the Irish capital. I was duly charmed by the abundance of cafes and bookstores and spent most of my time out wandering its cobblestone streets. Its a very walkable and tourist-friendly city, and much more refreshing than I was expecting it to be. From the stories I had read in The Dubliners, I envisioned a drab, depressing sort of place, rough around the edges, teetering on the edge of relevance. But that doesn’t seem to be the case at all, I’m happy to report. It retains a small-town appeal, for sure, but also has the cultural richness and bustling milieu of a modern metropolis. All in all, very much my kind of city.
I took a couple of food recommendations from my coworker K, who is of Irish heritage, but I didn’t really orient my visit around food so much as eat to sustain my adventures. I don’t mind traveling alone, and the solitary meal might be one of the most underrated pleasures I know of, but sitting down for three meals a day by oneself seemed rather tedious. I quickly bought myself a loaf of fig and walnut bread and some cheese so I could stay mobile during the daytime and not have to halt for a meal. I did, however, make sure my first meal there was a proper one–at Dunne and Crescenzi, an Italian cafe, restaurant, and wine shop. I ducked inside the shop after a very windy welcome to the city, and warmed up with expresso and eggs. The eggs were scrambled with prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella, and served with baguette slices laced with olive oil.
With my belly happy and the weather clear, the touring commenced:
The main post office in town:
One afternoon I stopped in at Queen of Tarts, one of K’s recs, a bustling cafe that serves a selection of sweet and savory…well, tarts. There were baskets of produce nestled along the edges of the restaurant, and kitchen staff would occasionally come out to grab a lemon or some onions. I dived into a lemon meringue tart of formidable verticality, and was up to the task, leaving barely a crumb behind. Note the precious plate.
Loved the way lights played against buildings at night.
After touring the Guinness storehouse, enjoying a pint with a hometown touch:
One morning I took a trip to Dun Laoghaire, one of the seaside towns about 20 minutes south of Dublin. From there I meandered over to neighboring Sandycove, home to the James Joyce Tower, where the writer briefly resided and which inspired the opening scene of Ulysses.
Lunch on the water, a coleslaw and turkey sandwich on a lovely brown roll:
Dublin claims such storytelling geniuses as Joyce, Wilde, Shaw, and Synge as its own. I’m not sure any other city comes close to matching this literary stronghold. Who knows what’s in the air in Ireland, but it’s pretty intoxicating. I’m looking forward to going back, perhaps to re-experience Dublin with a companion or two; plus, Galway and the Irish countryside await.