Of Cashmere, Guinness, Irish Stew & Brown Bread.


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Europe » Ireland » County Dublin » Dublin
August 10th 2019
Published: August 11th 2019
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Dublin

Well….we are SO excited to be in Dublin. Neither us of has been here before, and both have always wanted to see this dynamic city. As we sat in Horizons this evening, we noticed there were more than 40 construction cranes hovering over the city! The mix of “old” and “new” architecture blended so seamlessly is truly impressive. Not a provincial city hanging desperately onto its roots, but rather a city of change looking forward to what’s new and next. YES! Embrace change. Recognize that old can, and does, live well with new which may create a dynamic tension or a harmony so smooth and rich one hardly notices. Take a lesson SF! Just sayin’!

An early morning so we can get on shore and maximize our time – we have things to do and see!

The Grand Dining Room has become our destination of choice for breakfast. So civilized! No queuing up, no one jumping the que, no one stopping in front of you so that you run into them. CIVILIZED! Pretty much the same menu; but made to order! I’m ALL FOR IT! SO, with the new plant based menu there are a lot of interesting new options – which I shall shun! And, those which I embrace! Admittedly, quite liking the avocado toast poached eggs. YES! They are THAT GOOD! Some of the fake yogurt options shall NEVER pass my lips! I. MEAN. NEVER. Well….unless we’re stranded and there are few food options.

After breakfast we visit Barista for an espresso for me. Christopher is too excited and has a small bladder. Gaia and Karmelo, our “Baristas of choice,” are BOTH there this morning. We just LOVE THEM! Karmelo is an accomplished pianist, and Gaia is a dynamo! Both are Italian. Both are young. And BOTH are hysterically funny and engaging – and this morning both are HUNG. OVER! There was a “crew” party last night in Horizons which didn’t even START until midnight! Gaia left sometime around 2:30 – I don’t think Karmelo has been to bed. AND…this is the BEST PART – they didn’t miss a beat. They were perky and engaging. They are the consummate professionals! When one of the bosses showed up, they put their guard, which when we are alone with them is relaxed, back up (sad) but they have to be professional. We just LOVE them both! They shared pictures from the party. SO CUTE! I’m just so happy they have an opportunity to let their hair down and relax. Everyone on board works so very hard. Well, except our butler. I think I’ve seen him once. He has NOT gone out if his way for anything. Not that we need him, nor want him around. BUT…make an effort! Learn from Karmelo & Gaia!!!!

We get on the shuttle and arrive at the City Centre (remember er becomes re in England, Scotland & Ireland) of Dublin. I think Christopher is going to jump out of his skin. He’s like a kid at Christmas. Must admit – ADORABLE! We hit the ground and start on our quest. Which is first? Cashmere sweaters or Trinity College or Temple Bar? You only have one guess – your bet is????

CASHMERE!

Monaghan’s has been in business since 1960. Mr. Monaghan is 94 – claims he’s 90. HEY…when I make it to 94 I’m going to say it loud and proud!!! Maria, our saleswoman, introduced us to Mr. Monaghan. He still comes in daily. Still “runs” the business though suffering from Macular Degeneration. He actually makes his “buys” by touch. If the cashmere doesn’t meet his standards – NO WAY! He can tell Chinese from Mongolian cashmere – he can detect which mill it’s from by feel! THIS is what we were after. So…we bought three sweaters each. Yes…6 sweaters….and with our VAT credit 2 are essentially free so…there’s that!! Maria is passionate about cashmere and can spot two suckers from a mile away. She had us both hook, line and sinker. BUT… we ONLY bought what we like and would wear. We each have eliminated a few sweaters in the last year….and we each only want cashmere sweaters going forward. These are staples. These are classic. These are GORGEOUS. AND….these are QUALITY!

Alright. We spent much more time in Monaghan’s than we anticipated – and have to jump through hoops to get our VAT – which we shall do – but learning the process is well….daunting. Still. Gonna. Do. IT. There are several streets closed to traffic in this area and we walked them ALL! This is the main shopping area of Dublin. We walked through an arcade from the 19th century – originally wooden structure which burned in the Great Dublin Fire and was reconstructed using steel. Cute – but more of an “alternative” shopping area – tie dye, vaping…get the idea?

Took some pictures. Walked a lot more. Started to rain. The rain was schizophrenic. It would POUR for about a minute then stop. Then it would sprinkle for a bit, then stop. Then it would rain, steady but not too much and then stop. Crazy. Like this ALL DAY!! Went to the tourist office to make our reservations for the Guinness Tour – so we can avoid the que. SO. EXCITED!!!!

Off to Temple Bar – which I learned is more of an “area” than an actual “bar” though there IS a Temple Bar. So confused! We did NOT enter any of the pubs in Temple Bar – too touristy. We want authentic. So…we’re getting hungry. We go back to Monaghan’s and ask the staff where they would eat. Where can we get a good meal at a reasonable price and NOT share the space with everyone from the ship? David Byrnes. They suggest David Byrnes. James Joyce used to frequent David Byrnes. I’m guessing James Joyce frequented a LOT of places in Dublin!! SO…we go! Best. Irish. Stew. EVER! Well, it was our first. Why is Guinness better in Ireland? Is it the glass? I think it’s the glass. Brown Bread and Irish butter. I. AM. DONE. I’m in Heaven. Who knew? Who KNEW it could be so good??

Alright. POURING now…oh – it stopped. We retrieve our sweaters. They were kind enough to hold onto them for us so we didn’t have to lug them around town. Mr. Monaghan came out to say goodbye to us and thank us again, Maria gave us both hugs – We love Maria and Mr. Monaghan. We will go back if/when we need to buy new sweaters. May be a while!!

Maria INSISTS we go to the Library at Trinity College. OK. We’ll go.

We walk the few blocks to Trinity. UM….the que? NO F’ing WAY! I am NOT standing on line, in the rain/no rain for a library. Even if it has the book of Kells. Not. Gonna. Happen. Oh…there’s an entrance fee? PASS. We would miss the shuttle bus back to the ship. NOPE. Another time. Perhaps in winter, when there’s no que….because who cares it will be raining no matter what! That’s why it’s the Emerald Isle. We LOVE Dublin.

By this time our feet are hurting, we’re growing tired and we need to stop walking.

We make the hike back to the shuttle stop. Oh, good. There’s a bus there and it’s almost full. YES! We have seats – let’s go!! Back to the ship we go, and plan our tomorrow on our way. Once on the ship we first stop at Waves for an ice cream – because we can…and should. Hey…we WALKED ALL DAY! Oh, and we’re on vacation, so NO calories. Everyone knows that!

Ice Cream Good.

In the stateroom, Christopher almost immediately falls asleep. I’m thinking it’s the excitement. NOPE. He’s just tired! We take a rest. We had plans to meet Mark & Melanie for a drink. Email sent….no response. We have dinner at POLO scheduled for 6:30. It’s now 5:30. Probably not gonna happen tonight. Not a big deal.

Polo is not my favorite of the specialty restaurants- we’re having NO LUCK getting another reservation at Toscana (darn). I wanted the Kobe Beef tonight….BUT…it’s in the form of a slider and the waiter suggested I NOT order it. If the waiter doesn’t want it, it CAN’T be good! AMIRIGHT? OK, the filet it is; with the pork belly starter and a baked potato with green beans and asparagus – Christopher has the same (we shared the asparagus and green beans). No dessert. We paired our meal with a Lambert Bridge 2015 Gilfillin Vineyard Cabernet. OH. MY!!! Imagine what this is going to taste like in 10 years. Never going to survive in our house!!!!!

Alright…dinner done. BUT… The table next to us. OMFG. Two couples. Perhaps the women were sisters? Maybe not. They do have a familial resemblance. You ever meet someone who “knows” everything – but in reality knows well… I’m going to be nice…just a little?! OH. WOW! This woman. Loud. She exclaimed – “this wine…I WANT the 2015. I don’t want the 2016 – because it’s no good”…She was referring to the St Francis Cabernet (Sonoma) and that NOTHING from Sonoma or Napa was any good in 2016. News to me? Isn’t it a tad early for a ’16 Cab?? OR….do you have a 2011. 2011 is the BEST YEAR for wines from Napa & Sonoma….UM…HUH? WHAT? UM…NO! 2011 was one of the toughest years. IF they had anything to make because of the horrible yield it was, in the hands of some, HORRID; in the hands of a master – Like Jen at Lambert Bridge – a masterpiece! YIKES. She then on to tell a few jokes. You know the type – laughs at her own jokes and everyone else is SILENT. Tragic. Absolutely TRAGIC. This is the first I’ve seen her this cruise – hope it’s the last.

SO…trauma over. Up to Horizons for a Scotch. Double MacAllan. YES. Probably should have had an Irish whisky, but well….SCOTCH!

Alright. I’m tired. I can’t wait for tomorrow

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