Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ire'll be back

I suppose that, a week and a half after getting back, I ought to offer a handful of observations from my excursion to the Emerald Isle - not that we saw a great deal, given that we were primarily there for a wedding. Anyway...

* Jen was surprised to note that in the bedside drawer at our B&B in Navan there was no Bible but there was an Argos catalogue instead. A symptom of the way religion has been displaced by consumerism, perhaps?

* On the evidence of the Bermingham in Navan, Irish pubs are generally brilliant: dark, cramped, lively, filled with the smell of peat smoke, and with excellent free live music - though I'm not sure 'Molly's Lips' and 'Folsom Prison Blues' qualify as authentic traditional Irish songs. (Incidentally, the latter seems to be a favourite - we also witnessed it being belted out in the Temple Bar area of Dublin by a busker who, in his blue Adidas tracksuit, looked like an extra from Shameless.) Indeed, the only aspect of the experience that Irish theme pubs in the UK have successfully recreated is the abysmal selection of beer. I blame Guinness (and its owners, drinks industry bully-boys Diageo). I'm ashamed to admit I succumbed to the pressure to have a pint, but can report it tasted just as crap as usual over there.

* In veggie Mecca Cornucopia, Dubliners have a restaurant to be proud of. As proud as another Dublin dining legend, Leo Burdock's chipper, which displays an illustrious list of famous customers outside the door. They're all there: Tom Cruise, Snoop Dog, Alan Shearer, Spandau Ballet, George Michael's band, Cheryl Baker, Abi Titmuss, Justin Timberlake's parents...

* We may have spent New Year's Eve safely ensconced in the upstairs Parlour Bar of the Stag's Head, but, venturing outside at the end of the night, it was evident that the nation's reputation for knowing how to celebrate and have a good time is richly deserved. Not that the Irish seem any better equipped for dealing with the consequences of such indulgence and revelry, judging by the chap we saw busy decorating the pavement with the most enormous volume of vomit I've ever seen.

* Everyone did genuinely seem friendly, welcoming and peaceable. They could teach a thing or two to those fuckwits north of the border intent on maiming each other (and the police) on account of a sodding flag.

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