Summer has arrived in Ireland! The sun has been shining brightly and the air is a perfect 75 degrees. Our accidental timing could not have been better! The positive change in the weather coincided with our plan to go to Dublin for an overnight stay recently.
It seemed that everyone was out — enjoying the arrival of summer following a very long, cold, wet spring. In St. Stephen’s Green, a lovely park in the center of the city, people of all ages were looking for a spot in the sun – or shade! The gelato stand was very busy! (Gino’s gelato is the “real deal”!)
The terrible storm that struck the Irish economy in 2008 has abated but all the damage has not been repaired. It seems that retailers and restaurants from the European continent, the UK and the USA have stepped in to replace long-standing Irish businesses. For example, the Bewley’s Cafe near the O’Connell Street bridge is now Starbucks and the one on Grafton is closed. Going to Bewley’s for a “cuppa” has always been one of my favorite things to do in Dublin.
If you’ve been to Ireland during the past ten years you’ll probably remember Avoca. The tiny business that specialized in traditional weaving of Irish wool has turned itself into one of the few Irish success stories of the early 2000s. Combining excellent small restaurants with retailing beautiful merchandise and locating them in many of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations has been a key to creating a very successful company. In Dublin the store just off Grafton Street sells well-made Irish products and specialty food items. It also has a restaurant that’s not to be missed.
My friend Bee went to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. Having already paid my $10 to walk through a library and look at one page of a book in a glass case some years ago, I felt no need to do it again. Bee reports that significant changes have been made in the experience and she loved it.
We stopped for a glass of wine in my favorite bar. Café en Seine is a large copy of everyone’s image of a French brasserie of the early 20th century. It’s decorated lavishly in a style that appeals to my love of everything French. It’s located on Dawson Street, just one block away from the center of commerce. Dawson Street has always been home to a number of good restaurants. Some of them offer good-value “early bird” pricing around 6:00 each evening. We enjoyed dinner in Sam’s Seafood Club.
When we headed home again Bee said, “It’s fun to go to a busy city for a while but I’ll be glad to be back in the country again.” I agree!