What can I say that hasn't been said many times over? Such an exciting city, offering a plethora of choice for the traveller. Our main aim was to make sure everything was in place for our September knitters' tour, but we wanted to soak up some of the unique atmosphere of the city too. We left York at midday and by six o'clock were settled into Brooks, our hotel in the heart of Dublin. Quick freshen up and we were out on the town.
|York Station - love the curve.|
First stop was supper at Fallon & Byrne, the bustling foodie restaurant and food hall just round the corner from our hotel. As we climbed the stairs to the restaurant, we had a bird's-eye view of the food hall and made a note to come back in the morning to take a closer look at all those seductively tempting shelves.
|Fallon & Byrne Food Hall|
Our meal was just what we needed to get us up and running for the evening - roast plum tomato soup, fettucine with summer squash, spinach and ricotta, then P had a deliciously wicked sweet which I passed on but probably ate half of, all accompanied by a fresh and fruity bottle of white - perfect!
We wanted to spend our first evening at a traditional Irish music session. Although Dublin is a maelstrom of music, that turned out to be more difficult than we'd imagined. Wherever you look on the streets you have music shops, buskers, pubs with music coming out of every orifice.
|Not-so portable hammered dulcimer on Grafton Street|
|The grey men|
|Group of young buskers trying their luck|
We were a bit worse for wear the next morning, but still up bright and breezy as there was so much to do.
After a hearty breakfast we were off on our travels, revisiting the beautiful St Georges Arcade further up our street, where there are stalls selling everything from food, art and flowers to retro and vintage clothes, jewellery and hairdressing - I particularly enjoyed the architecture and the little jewellers on the corner.
A quick wander to get our bearings, with me gravitating to Avoca, where there's lots of colourful handmade inspiration, both yarny and readymade.Bewley's on Grafton Street, built in 1927 with wonderful stained glass, orientalism and arts and crafts fittings. The coffee's not bad either.
As we were leaving I noticed this disk to Bob Geldof displayed behind a busker - any Boomtown Rats fans out there?
|This Is Knit|
Another was the Guinness Storehouse, where you take the tour and end up in the amazing bar at the top of the building with panoramic 360 degree views across the whole of Dublin to the Wicklow hills.
|Panoramic views over the city from the top of the Guinness Storehouse|
|Charles Parnell, uncrowned King of Ireland|
|Oscar Wilde in Merrion Park|
|Joyce quote at the top in the shadows|
|Stag's Head, lovely old pub frequented by locals|
I decided I couldn't bear to go to Kilmainham Gaol. I'd heard the moving story about the 9-year-old girl who was sentenced to a year's hard labour for stealing a loaf of bread and decided that it would be too emotionally gruelling. So P set off alone on the hop-on, hop-off bus to visit the gaol, intimately linked to the struggle for Irish independence.
|The plaque in the exercise yard where the |
1916 Easter Rising rebels were executed
|Part of Francis Bacon's studio|
Meanwhile I went along to the Hugh Lane modern art gallery, where amongst other gems, Francis Bacon's Studio can be viewed in all its glory. If nothing else it certainly made me feel better about my own workspace!
Can't finish without showing you a couple of pics of the mighty Trinity College, home to The Book of Kells - a must-see and fabulous inspiration for knitted cables.
All too soon we were making our way back to the airport, with just enough time for a last glass of Guinness in the snug at Kehoe's.