Saturday, 20 December 2014

Dublin #3

Final part of my Dublin three-parter and it is jam-packed. We planned our day the night before, so after breakfast we set out with a spring in our step towards Dublin Castle


We once again decided to go on a guided tour - this way we got to see everything, whereas if you just opted for a self guided tour you could only see the state rooms. Our tour guide was a lovely little fella. I can't remember his name but he was very similar to what I imagine a leprechaun would be like.


We made our way through the beautiful grounds towards the ruins. En route we noted how odd it was that there was a 60s style office block literally encroaching on the old castle...bad town planning on Dublin's part if you ask me. Unless of course it was one of those 'interesting contrast' things.


We entered a building, descended some steps and this is what we were greeted with. These are the foundations of the right hand tower. These remains originate from when the castle was first built (which to my slightly questionable memory was around 1200 BC) and were excavated in the 80s (I think?!). They are in great condition and it's really easy to envisage how it would have been back then. 


This rather eery looking building is the old chapel. We were actually the VERY FIRST TOUR GROUP to be allowed into this building. Whether this is completely true or not I'm unsure but if it is I am extremely happy that that was the case!


The interior of this chapel was magnificent. Apparently, when it was built, it went over budget by a vast amount but I would say it was worth it! These pillars (shown above) are actually made of wood and not stone dontcha know!


After the chapel, the tour group headed back to the main building. Very impressive building that is still used for state functions to this very day. On our way over we were told a funny story about this 'Justice' statue, but I won't ruin that for you just incase you do ever decide to visit!


The state rooms looked even more impressive when they were all Christmassy-ed up.


After our castle trip we trotted over to Bewley's Oriental Cafe. This was certainly a lunch with a difference - we went upstairs to their old theatre, bought some soup and sat down at a table to enjoy a lunch time play. I have never heard of this kind of concept before and I have to say it really worked. The play that we saw (I think they have a different one every month) was called Harry's, christmas - it was performed (really well, may I add) by a lone actor and was all about (as the title suggests) a man called Harry's christmas. It was quite a dark comedy, and definitely didn't really enhance my Christmas spirit, but I really would recommend going to mix-up your lunch time routine a little bit. 


Hehe, we hopped back on the tour bus after the Cafe and passed this shop. Immature?


Next on our itinerary was the Little Museum of Dublin. We got a free ticket for here with our bus tickets and with its good ratings on TripAdvisor we decided to pay it a visit. 


Downstairs, there was a little photography gallery. Mainly photos of celebrities, I can't remember the photographers name, but as a lover of photography myself, I have to say even this little section is well worth a visit. 


On ascending the stairs we were greeted by walls absolutely full to the brim of old photographs, ancient newspaper cuttings and past documents. They were laid out decade by decade, and there was just so much to comprehend. This is where the tour guide (surprise, surprise) came in handy. This museum claims to give you a 29 minute guide into Dublin's 20th century history, and I have to  say they succeeded. The staff are all dressed a little bit quirkily (our guy was in a bow tie and waist coat), but it really went with the theme of the whole place and the tour was given with such enthusiasm. If you have a spare 29 minutes in Dublin - go here!


Finally, our last dinner in Dublin :( but boy was it a good'n! We headed over to the Fade Street Social, another restaurant owned by Dylan McGrath (who also owned the Rustic Stone from my first Dublin post) which served Tapas style food. 


My lovely dinner date pointing at something on her phone I think!


The food was phenomenal! Unlike traditional tapas, the food wasn't necessarily spanish. Instead, it was a mix of many different cuisines, all of it absolutely packed with flavour! We shared a selection of: 

- crispy salt cod brandade and squid with pickled red peppers, chickpeas and chorizos
- chickpea chips fried in semolina with warm garlic and pernod custard
- pumpkin macaroni with spring onion and parmesan 
- crispy airbags stuffed with truffle cheese wrapped in dried ham 
- chinese pork belly, slow cooked with asian spices and crispy peanut brittle


Just me having a muncheroo on one of the 'airbags'. This was definitely my favourite meal out of all of them in Dublin and if there is one place you have to eat, it is here! The atmosphere is amazing, the staff were great and the food is beyond delicious. 

Anyway, that marks the end of my trio of Dublin posts and I have to say my first trip to Ireland was thoroughly enjoyable! I learnt so much about their history, and obviously I couldn't have asked for a better travel buddy. My mum actually organised the whole trip - so, thanks mum! Anybody thinking of visiting Dublin, please do, and I hope these few posts have helped you decide on a few things to do, a couple of places to eat and several things to see! 

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