Debbi and I met up in Manchester - we were so lucky that the wintry weather had abated just days previously and we had no problems getting from our homes to Manchester. Unfortunately though fog proved to be a problem, delaying the incoming flights from Dublin, including our plane. However, we were only delayed about 40 minutes which wasn't too bad.
We got a taxi home but, as is often the case in Dublin, the driver had no idea where our cottage was, or even the quite big street that the square led off from, and not being very familiar with that area we couldn't direct him. "I'm not trying to cheat you" he kept saying, he seemed genuine and had no sat nav, so we asked him to drop us at Jury's Hotel at Christchurch as we could easily walk from there, otherwise we could have been going round The Liberties getting nowhere forever! He took five Euro off the meter price too which was very fair. Those Dublin taxi drivers should have to pass The Knowledge like London cabbies do!
We relaxed in our cosy cottage for a while before leaving at 11.40pm for the short walk to Christchurch Cathedral, the traditional place for Dubliners to gather to see in the New Year. The cathedral looked beautiful all lit up in the night, the bells were ringing out as if calling the people and I was very aware of being part of something that had probably gone on for hundreds of years. The bells stopped at around ten to twelve, by now there were hundreds of people there and the gardai had closed the road. Then at twelve the bells chimed in 2011 and people cheered, hugged, drank champagne, set off sparklers and sky lanterns started appearing in the sky, it was a lovely atmosphere, happy and very good humoured.
Soon the people started dispersing and we headed home. St Patricks, Dublin's other major cathedral, further down Nicholas Street also looked beautiful, its floodlit spire all lit up, it's bells ringing out too. In five minutes we were home and we opened a bottle of Prosecco, we couldn't find a bottle of our usual celebration tipple, Veuve Clicquot, in the local shops so this was our second choice, and it was lovely.
We had kept our Christmas presents to open, strangely we bought each other similar presents! We stayed up until 3am enjoying our Prosecco and chatting.
|Christchurch Cathedral when the people were just starting to gather for the New Year bells|
January 1st 2011
We had a very lazy morning, in fact we never saw the morning lol! We find as we get older we can't just bounce back from late nights drinking a pleasant wine - we need time to recover. Once up, dressed and awake I had another walk around the local area and bought a few things at the shop.
We had intended to walk to Grafton Street to see the lovely chandelier shaped Christmas lights we'd glimpsed from the taxi on the way to the Town Bar and Grill and to look at Brown Thomas's famous Christmas windows. But it started raining really hard, and our little cottage was so snug and warm that we didn't need a lot of persuasion to stay in. We have visited Dublin many, many times and seen all the sights so don't feel that we have missed out if we do this.
At 8pm we walked to The Tea Room Restaurant at The Clarence Hotel, just a ten minute stroll from our cottage, the rain had eased off by now. We were given our usual table in the corner and ordered from the Market Menu which at E25 for three courses is very reasonable. The waiter came to take our order then he said that a bottle of wine with our meal would be complimentary. We thought we had heard wrong, but he repeated the same thing and asked if we had chosen a wine, we had and, still mystified, ordered a bottle of Chianti.
I had the salmon fishcake with a lovely mayo dressing for starters, then ribeye steak again for the main. It was just as good as the one at the Town Bar and Grill, but different, as it had a delicous marinade on it. It came with the most fabulous, crispy chunky chips. For dessert I had chocolate fondant, with banana ice cream and toffee sauce. Oddly, before we'd left our cottage I'd said I fancied fishcake for starters and chocolate fondant for dessert, how lucky was I? The free wine was lovely, and we still don't know why we got it. All I can think of is because we have stayed at the Clarence Hotel, including the penthouse, a few times and are regulars at The Tea Room. It was a very nice gesture from the hotel and much appreciated.
After the meal we went through to The Study for cocktails and sat there for a while. There was a pretty Christmas tree in the corner and it was very pleasant and relaxing in there.
We left the hotel at midnight and were soon home. We didn't stay up too long as we had to be up early the next day as our short trip to Dublin was now over - though we did consider squatting in our little cottage as we loved it so much and didn't want to leave it!