Monday, 14 May 2012

Dublin 2 - A Horse Fair, Dolphins and All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go!

May 6th

The Horse Market at Smithfield
I was woken up by the sounded of the clip-clopping of horseshoes, it turned out a horse fair was taking place at Smithfield.  The fair happens on the first Sunday of every month and has been doing so for around 400 years. The horse market is controversial due to accusations of cruelty and occasional violence between the traders and authorities have been trying to close or move it for a few years.  As we watched from our balcony we noticed there was a police presence and a large area was barricaded off where the traders looked at and tested out the horses and we saw nothing untoward whilst we watched.

Today we decided to do something we hadn't done for a few years, spend a few hours mooching around our favourite areas of South County Dublin.  We took the Luas to Connolly Station and then changed to the DART and headed out to Killiney.  The trip on the train is a wonderful journey as it runs along the scenic coast of Dublin and Killiney Bays.  I never tire of the view of Killiney Bay as the train emerges from the tunnel under Dalkey Hill, it is stunning.

Killiney Bay
It was a blustery, showery day as we walked the short distance from the station to the beach, but it is a fabulous place whatever the weather.  The tide was in, and we walked along the beach which only had a handful of other people on it.  Suddenly I noticed black fins in the water off-shore - it was a small school of dolphins frolicking in the sea.  I'd heard that dolphins now frequent this area but never expected to see them!

After our walk we got the DART and went one station north and got off at Dalkey. We went to The Queens pub for a late lunch.  It was very full, we found one table, but soon were surrounded by a horde of "merry" young men watching the football on the TV nearby (I seem to be getting plagued by loud alcohol-fuelled men on this trip!)  Luckily there was now space at the other end of the pub and we moved there.  We had a delicious lunch for a very reasonable price washed down with Irish red lemonade.

Declan and Me
We intended to have a browse in The Exchange Bookshop on the main street, but were sad to see it had closed just a month earlier.  What a shame, it was a great place to potter around in.  After this we headed back home.

That evening, our friend Declan came round to our apartment, we hadn't seen him for a while so there was a lot of catching up to do.  We had a lovely evening, I'm so pleased that we had managed to meet up with all our Dublin friends on this trip.

After he left Debbi and I had a few more bevvies, just for a change .

May 7th

At lunch time we went to Bewleys Cafe Theatre.  For E8 you get soup, soda bread and a drink and see a play lasting 50 minutes, excellent value.  We have been many times and have always really enjoyed the play. The Cafe Theatre is a medium sized room above the floors of the cafe,  filled with tables and chairs with the small stage set on a dais in one corner.  The huge windows are covered with thick, red velvet curtains.

We got our soup, soda bread and water and found a table from which we had a good view.  The play we were seeing was A Galway Girl by Geraldine Aron starring Joe Hanley and Clare Barrett. It depicts a marriage from the start to the death one one partner.  Beautifully acted, Maisie and Dermot saw their different dreams gradually drift away as the years passed by.  Ending up living separate lives of quiet desperation in the same house until death did them part.  Very moving and at times very funny,  so typically Irish.  I love the intimacy of this theatre, I've seen plays here for a very long time and have never been disappointed, if you are in Dublin go there, you won't be disappointed - lunch and theatre for E8 to E12 (depending on which day you go) that's what I call good value.

We went back to our apartment and later got dressed up for our meal out at one of our favourite restaurants The Town Bar and Grill.  It was a windy, very wet night and we took a taxi there, paid and were left on the pavement looking at a padlock on the door of the dark restaurant!  There we were, all dressed up and nowhere to go being buffeted by the wind and rain.  We had to find somewhere else to eat.  The nearest place was Buswell's Hotel, we stumbled in hungry and windswept, but their restaurant was closed too!  We checked out the menu in the very quiet bar but we wanted fine dining and a place with a bit more life.  Debbi  told the barman what had happened and asked if he could recommend another similar restaurant nearby and he suggested Marco Pierre White's Restaurant.  He was such a wonderful, helpful man that he even offered to ring the restaurant and book us a table, how lovely of him!  Then he took us to the door and showed us where to go and indeed, it was close by.
Us in Marco Pierre White's Restaurant

It was almost full and had a good atmosphere, the decor mainly brown and cream with a row of black and white photos of celebrities from all eras around the room.  The waiting staff were  pleasant and informal and the food was good.  We both had goats cheese and beetroot to start, it was a large portion and gorgeous.  I had ribeye steak which was very tender, accompanied by chips.  Deb had her favourite meat, lamb which she said was also very good.  I'm certainly not a fan of Marco Pierre White, but his restaurant in Dublin is excellent. So the night was saved for us by the barman at Buswell's Hotel, thank you!

I emailed the Town Bar and Grill and they apologised and said they had sent me an email saying they would be closed that night but I never received it, it must be floating up with the Northern Lights in cyberspace or something.  They offered free cocktails next time we visit Which made up a little for our inconvenience and disappointment.