The days flew by like small birds that make you appreciate the little time you’re given on this planet, which is something no bird I’ve ever heard of does but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an undiscovered species in like the Amazon or somewhere that can do this. Pretty soon we were approaching Superbowl time. Thousands of miles may physically separate me from the team I love, but giant TV screens in a stadium-seating pub have a way of bringing you closer to your heroes. Also to the Patriots, who let me down and will not be mentioned again.
Pub life in Dublin is something that I have yet to replicate in the States. We found a pretty close match, but close only counts in horseshoes and after I’ve had more beer than I can afford.
Much as I love barhopping, there’s quite a bit to be said for Dublin’s restaurants, as well. Gerard’s was a great little sandwich shop on Lower Leeson Street. I have them to thank for many a great lunch eaten in nearby St Stephen’s Green.
Far and away my favorite place to eat was The Fryery. A traditional chippy just a short walk from our flat, The Fryery served fried Mars Bars and that’s really all you need to know. It was the most comfortingly heavy food I’ve ever had the pleasure of stuffing myself with, and leaving it behind was like quitting a drug that has also become, quite literally, your best friend and also husband.
In those first few weeks, I went on a Smithwick’s-fueled whirlwind tour of the city, where I discovered many of the oddities I’ve already posted. If you don’t feel like clicking on those life-changing links that you’ll totally regret not clicking on later, here are some more photos of the city.
The Banba Toymaster, where I rekindled my undying love for Playmobil:
The outside of the Church, the restaurant covered in Part One:
Ireland gets my vote for Most Bizarre Mannequins. Just wait till we get to Waterford – I’m pretty sure those models aren’t even human.
Ireland may be a historically Christian nation, but they’ve still got a healthy dose of diversity.
The first of many rainy pictures of Christ Church Cathedral:
Did you know that Nestlé sells Rolo pudding cups? Because I didn’t and now I’m ruined.
Ireland has some beautifully medieval ways of keeping birds of their damn windows.
A purple-tinted streetlamp, for some reason:
Being a classy motherfucker in Ireland is much cheaper than being a classy motherfucker in America.
The love I developed for Rowntree’s Randoms is unmatched anywhere else in my life. I’m sorry, Russell Crowe – try again when you’re filled with delicious jelly.
For the uninitiated: You know Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans? Well, Randoms are basically that, except instead of every flavor they’ve got every shape. From ice cream cones to garden gnomes, any object you can think of has probably been in a bag of Randoms at some point. I’ve gone through the biggest bags I could get my hands on without eating the same thing twice. They’re magical.
In any case, Brillo got as much of a kick out of them as I did.
Those first few nights, we still hadn’t found a pub to settle into yet. Eventually, we found a few to call home – Sin É, O’Neill’s, and O’Shea’s, to name a few. But in those early days, we experimented as much as we could.
One such experimentation led us into a pleasant enough pub of cheerful anonymity, where our American identity was quickly revealed. Now, in general, the Irish love Americans. American food, American music, American Americans – very popular. So I certainly hope it was an honest gesture of hospitality when they invited me on stage to sing.
I enjoy singing. I’ve got a bit of experience and am halfway decent. Nothing to write home about, but I’ve got a national anthem and a few other appearances under my belt. As I stumbled up to the stage, though, I realized in some distant part of my sodden brain that five pints and a scotch do not a singer make.
I failed to consider the consequences of this in time.
From some dusty pipe in an unused corner of my body screeched forth the worst rendition of “This Jesus Must Die” that has ever plagued the earth. The Jesus Christ Superstar highlight has long been my audition song, so I’m no stranger to belting it out. But after a drunken apology for being just so bloody drunk, I lapsed into a comatose eruption of sottish half-music. I masterfully created the illusion that a goat had wandered on stage and begun crying for help. Fortunately, I’d invited my guitar-playing friend onstage too, so I didn’t suffer alone.
But it’s all good, because later I discovered that if I get to Tesco at just the right time, I can buy these cream-filled donuts three for a euro.
Anyway, that’s Part Three.