My younger sister is wicked smart. Smart enough, and hard working enough, to apply and receive the opportunity to travel for a class. This incredible three week course took her through Europe, landing in Dublin. It’s been a few months since I last hugged her. So, why not buy a ticket and meet her for a quick holiday? The airfare was extremely affordable. Air BnB made the stay easy, and cheap. We found a studio flat with the smallest shower known to this woman, on the third floor in a building down an alley. Not sketchy at all. Walking under the wrought iron arch, between the two heavily graffitied walls, beyond the other three barred and dead bolted doors… yep, totally safe. Surprisingly, it was!
We got settled and then I started this little love affair with Dublin. Walking this city brought Boston back to me. But it has something else. There’s an honesty, a rawness, to Dublin that makes Boston look a little shiny.
At one point we ventured to a speak easy, following the instructions of Coco’s Wallpaper travel guide. Get one, for any city. The speak easy was the gem we refused to photograph. It’s called the VCC, or the Vintage Cocktail Club. There’s no sign. Just a few letters on a recessed black door. No handle to open the door, just a buzzer. A chicly clad gal answers after you’ve spent a few moments looking around you, feeling you’re being shady. All part of the charm. The drinks are creative and strong. Damask papered walls, amber lit corners, drapes to create cozy conversations; VCC takes you there. And if I can stress anything, enjoy the artwork. I am still searching for the vintage photography they used from a second hand store. Black and white female nudes set in a 20’s timeframe and absolutely stunning.
At Street 66 Dublin we sipped ciders and witnessed a rather quick but effective street fight. The bartender there rinsed both the loser of the fight and the sidewalk off to clear the way for other patrons.
We spent time in pubs, like Darkey Kelly’s in Christchurch. We found incredible Mexican
food at 777 in Temple Bar. Just our luck it was 2 for 12 Euro Margarita Monday. I will never argue with an offer like that. We found a spot at the bar, ordered two, and watched our incredible bartender line up glasses & serve her thirsty patrons. Beautiful! I don’t remember a single moment that she didn’t have 15 glasses lied up, rimmed with salt, and limed. We found small breakfast joints with proper egg and sausage meals. We walked miles (or km, if you like) every day. Ventured into English bookstores. Crossed bridges and took pictures. We climbed stairs to record stores the size of my bathroom. Ate braised rabbit and wild boar for dinner. And least surprising of all, we drank our weight in cider.
My favorite stops are always for yarn. I’m a crochet gal and find that yarn shops all over the world are worth finding. We stopped at a rather touristy shop of sweaters and other fiber creations called the Aran Sweater Market. Beautiful! Though they are based out of Galway, we visited their Dublin store. I picked up a stunning hank of apple green aran wool. Not a clue what I’ll make with this beauty, but I’ll certainly share when I figure it out. On the upper level of this shop they featured blankets, scarves, and what not in the crest and pattern of your clan. Though we did not find our family name, I found a personal favorite. According to the Aran Sweater Market, this is the family crest for the Crowley Clan. And anyone of the SPN Family knows what a proud clan that is. I considered it quite a personally gratifying find.
Beyond that we just took in all things Dublin. We visited the Archeology Museum, St. Patricks Cathedral, St. Stephens Green, and even found the Dublin Campus for Boston College. There was live music nearly every night in the pub. Overall, I fell in love with the feel of Dublin. Walking through the city, people honking, buses lumbering along with locals and tourist alike. It felt like coming home.