St Patrick’s weekend in Dublin

Last summer while I was in Cameroon, I met a Welsh guy named Sam with whom I ended up going on a crazy jungle motorcycle adventure near the border with Equatorial Guinea. Sam is a medical student in Dublin, Ireland, so of course I asked if I might crash at his place for a St Patrick’s weekend trip to Dublin and of course he said yes!

My friend Jana, on exchange in England, came over to Dublin to join me. Sarina and her two friends (now my friends too, of course) Jamie and Kate, flew in from Paris and found a room only 400m down the road. The result was a memorable weekend of adventures!

The day after Jana and I arrived in Dublin (on flights about 15 minutes apart) we went for a walk around town. I had been in Dublin back in November 2002, so I had a limited knowledge of how to get around, but we just walked in random directions and found some random stuff, such as a set of statues near the River Liffey depicting the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s.

We spent quite a bit of time just looking around at the urban landscapes, the different bridges that cross the river, the birds flying around looking for food, etc. I really wished I could have been rowing in this rowboat, it’s almost a year since I last took the family boat out on the ocean back in Canada.

That evening, Jana and I decided to make my version of Shepherd’s Pie for supper, because it’s cheap, tastes good, and I know how to make it.

We made a solid team effort, and the result was a nice huge dish of meat, potatoes, and spices. We made enough for the two of us plus Sam and his three flatmates, who we forced to try it (they all liked it).

Sam really did enjoy it, despite the apprehension apparent on his face before his first bite.

Speaking of Sam’s flatmates, they were all ridiculously awesome! As I said before, Sam is Welsh; he shares a room with Victor, a pilot and baggage loader (not joking) from Spain. Then there’s Ariadna, also from Spain, who shares a room with Mélanie, from Nantes in France.

They really welcomed us into their flat, came out to party with us, and generally spent tonnes of time just joking around as if we were a big family. Among them, Victor looks quite like Javier Bardem, recent winner of an Oscar for his part in the brilliant movie No Country For Old Men.

And, of course, what would a touristy visit to Dublin be without a visit to the most important part of Dublin’s fine heritage – the Guinness Storehouse? The brewery itself is not open to visitors, as it is an active brewery, but the storehouse has long been used as a detailed and well-planned museum explaining everything there is to know about Guinness stout. I didn’t notice many changes since my first visit here over 5 years ago, except for a bunch of new LCD monitors in various places.

Despite spending about an hour in lineups to get in, the visit was well worth it!

Kate and Sarina pretended to eat the barley, which is delicious, but I actually DID eat a handful since it tastes so good (not a big fan of straight chocolate malt though, too bitter for me).

Did I mention that I was the only guy walking around town with five beautiful ladies all day? I believe the rest of Dublin was quite jealous. I’ll even name the people in this photo from Left to Right: Jana, Jamie, ME, Sarina, Kate, and Mélanie.

The marketing section of any brewery tour is always one of the most interesting parts, as you get to see old, strange, new, and funny ads from over the years.

And of course, when you arrive on the 7th floor (7th heaven?) of the storehouse, you reach the Gravity Bar where you receive a pint of Guinness. As far as I have always understood it, the Guinness you get is coming straight from the brewery, in the pipes that cross above the alley, never kegged. It is certainly the freshest Guinness you’ll find anywhere in the world, worthy of a display of Jana’s artistry in the foam:

By Monday morning, St Patrick’s Day, it was time for me to be getting back to Sweden. Before leaving, I had breakfast with the girls visiting from Paris and took a few photos of the street before the huge parade began, a parade I had to miss by about two hours. Then I hopped on a bus to the airport.

[Photos 4-12 were taken on Jana’s camera, by various people]