10 December 2007

Kirk Smith Conquers Dublin

Kirk visited us for 5 days in Dublin, ask him to do his Irish accent for you when you see him (sounds more like Swedish, but is funny none the less)

I'll apologize in advance for the lack of pictures of Kelly. Although she was around, it seems we weren't taking photos that much. Its hard to take pictures when you're holding a Guinness in one hand and using the other hand to hold onto something for balance.

Needless to say, we hit a lot of pubs, 25 to be exact. We had to have at least one pint of Guinness at each pub for it to be crossed off our list. Kirk kept a very detailed journal of all the pubs, including a comprehensive 5 star rating system of the atmosphere and the quality each pint of Guinness.

Before Kirk arrived, we agreed to tackle
Guinness's "12 pubs of Christmas" Pub Crawl

The Brazen Head (the oldest pub in Dublin)
The Oak
The Temple Bar
The Auld Dubliner
The Oliver St. John Gogarty
The Palace Bar
The Stag's Head
Doheny & Nesbitt's

Kirks Picks :

Best Pub - The Brazen HeadThey've been open for about 900 years and have perfected the classic pub atmosphere. Yes it can be a bit touristy, but excellent food and perfect pints of Guinness mean the Brazen Head (or as Kirk calls it, the Brass Monkey) is still a great pub.

Best Pint - The Stag's Head
It was a bit crowded at 5pm when we visited the Stag's Head, but we were able to grab a small table and enjoy our pints. Its hard to believe that Guinness can taste different from pub to pub, but they were extra delicious at the Stag. In typical Kirk Smithery, our waitress Agnes, was nicknamed Stagnes.

Other Dublin Pubs & Bars we visited

Bruxelle's (Kirks first pint in Ireland and first Irish Breakfast)
James Toner's
Copperface Jack's
The Village

The Barge Bar
The Baggott Inn
The Dawson Lounge (smallest pub in Dublin)
The Ginger Man
The Long Stone
Kiely's of Donnybrook (sponsors of our softball team)
Johnnie Fox's (highest pub in Ireland, Wicklow mountains)

Portobello (airs NFL games on Sunday nights)

Kirk's Picks :

Best Pub - The BargeThe Barge is the closest watering hole to my house. On Friday & Saturday nights it is a very popular club upstairs with dancing. Makes for a convenient place to meet friends.

Best Pint - Bruxelle's
Hard to beat your first pint of Guinness in Ireland. Kirk's face after his first sip was one of disbelief and bliss. When we walked in for late breakfast after Kirk's arrival the bartender immediately poured us two pints and told me I was making a bad habit of bringing all my guests there for breakfast & a pint. Dave Box, Brett Wass and now Kirk Smith have all experienced the mid-morning kickoff brunch at Bruxelle's.

Here is a picture of Kirk with his first Guinness in Ireland. Hello happy boy.

Kirk's visit wasn't only pints of Guinness and pub research, we also packed in some other stops including :

Kilmainham Gaol (Dublin's former jail)

Kilmainham Gaol housed prisoners from the 1780's until the 1920's, including many political prisoners and thousands of people during the great famine. A cold and damp place to serve a sentence. Heating was non-existent and until electricty was introduced, you were given one candle every two weeks ! There are many windows to take advantage of natural light, but it's not like Dublin is the sunniest of places !

If it looks familiar, it has been used as a concert venue by U2 and Sinead O'Connor amongst others and was also used in many films, most famously in 'In the name of the Father" starring Daniel Day Lewis.

The leaders of the Easter Uprising of 1916 were all imprisoned and executed here. The picture above is the execution yard where they were shot. Hundreds of people were executed at this prison, most by hanging. They have a really amazing museum at the jail that gives the visitor all the information they need about modern irish history. We will be bringing all visitors here, its on the top of the to-do list from now on...a really great stop on the tour of Dublin.

After a somber stop like Kilmainham, there is only one thing you can do:

Hit another pub and get some oysters and Guinness ! Kirk wasn't overly impressed by these particular oysters, but they were still yummy.

One night we went to The Village for what we were told was going to be traditional music night. Turns out it was a night of All-around Irishness sponsored by the local Irish language radio station. There were 4 sets including an average guitar guy, a horrible rap act in gaelic, open mike karaoke in irish and an Irish band at the end (pictured above)

After trying to block out the sounds of Irish rap with pint after pint of Guinness you have to make a stop at the local late night greasy spoon.

The Harcourt Diner by our apartment is mobbed by late night partygoers desperate for burgers, kebabs and cheese fries.

We covered a large part of the city on foot, showing Kirk many of the major attractions. Kirk was very interested in the older ruins and Viking history, so we had to stop at Dublinia - The Viking Museum.

Kirk likes renaming places so he called it Nordica. He was disappointed to find out that Vikings didnt really wear horned helmets, but we were able to try on other headwear.

The city walls and castle are especially impressive when its dreary outside. Pictured above is Audeons gate circa 1240 AD.

On Saturday night, Kirk and I donned our rented tuxedos to attend the yearly party of the softball team I joined this past summer.

We got all dressed up...and drank more Guinness. The event was held at a Thai restaraunt above our sponsors pub. New team captains were voted in for next season, and Kelly was even given a box of chocolates for being the number one Fan and to entice her to join for next season...which she gladly did.

On our last full day, Sunday, Kirk and I headed south to the mountains for a hike. We got extremely lucky with the weather and hiked up and down both sides of Glencullen .

It was a bit cold, but once we were hiking it was perfect. Although foggy higher up, we did get some spectacular views every now and again.

After a couple hours of exploring, we walked down some country roads to Johnnie Fox's and had a delicious lunch of salmon, mussels and Guinness before heading back into the city.

Sunday night we decompressed at the Portobello with lacrosse friends to watch some American football and wonder how long it would take our bodies to purge 5 days worth Guinness.

Thanks to Kirk for a great visit !


Anonymous said...

MY FIRST Dublin Guinness was at Bruxelle's, too! HELLO? How could you forget!? It was barely 9 a.m.!

For my next trip:
I want to go to Johnnie Fox's and eat more oysters and salmon.

I can't belive how much Guinness was consumed by you and Kirk in 5 days. That is amazing. Y'all will not be iron deficient, that's fer sure. And according to Rachel Riser, you must have glowing skin, to boot.


Chris & Kelly said...

holy moly alli, i cant believe i forgot to include you on the bruxelles list....my apologies

Anonymous said...

i feel hungover just reading this story, ugh !
kel how come you didn't go hiking ?
kelly do you actually enjoy Guinness now ?
Love, helen