Okay a shorter recap of a trip rather than a full trip review. As, and I have no idea why, I didn’t write one when I got back.
So it’s now September 2021 and this trip took place in February 2020 so my terrible memory means this is going to be a broad brush-strokes report of what happened.
This time, with visions of previous trips made via coach in our memories, we instructed Robert Davis Travel to raid our combined piggy banks and look at flights to Dublin. Again coming up trumps he sorts us a flight from Birmingham. This was due to the fact that as soon as the airlines know there is a big sporting event between (say) Wales & Ireland they hike the prices for flights. So it worked out cheaper for us to drive to Birmingham and fly from there.
Luckily we have contacts across the border in my nephew Michael and his lovely wife Emma. Who happen to live in the land of Brum and who allowed us to park our cars on their driveway and who gave us a lift to the airport.
So having volunteered to drive I had collected my brother from his home, met with Rob (the other one) at his parents home in Merthyr and then together with our other travel mate John I drove to the land of the Bull Ring and other landmarks.
Young Mikey drops us to the airport, oh after his lovely wife had laid on what all growing lads on a rugby trip needed after a long journey … Lager! Upon arrival we head straight … to the bar. Being the sensible (Oi who said getting on!) gents we are we then head for the plane and have a good flight over.
When we arrive in Dublin, and as this time we decided to stay right “in the thick of it” in Central Dublin. We head to our hotel the Temple Bar Lane by Key Collections.
This apparently used to be a youth hostel but had recently been upgraded to a hotel. We check in and head to our rooms. Here the only hiccup of the trip occurred. Upon opening the door we are greeted by a double bed and a single. For 3 guys! So a quick check with Reception tells us that there are no other rooms available all I can say is lucky that my brother and I know each other quite well, so we fall on our swords and decide we will share.
Oh for anyone wondering how “in the thick of it” we were put it this way the Temple Bar pub is the epicentre of the nightlife area of Dublin, and if you look at this photo
the red Building is the Temple Bar Pub and the door to our hotel was just to the right of the last black bollard in the pavement. Put it another way, it would have been quicker for me to pop back to our room to take a pee than walk from the bar and join the queue for the gents in the toilet in said hostelry.
So being our first night in Dublin, and being only just after 5pm we head straight to a few pubs.
Now this is where my memory would be a little hazy even if it weren’t over 18 months later. So I think the best way to proceed will be to give some notes of where we visited. Luckily I am an inveterate photo taker so I’m referring to the pictures, sorry dad (my dad used to hate when people called photos pictures 😉 ) on my phone
Oh and before any clever so and so asks how if my memory is so bad can I remember it was just after 5pm? All I can say is the wonder of digital photography. All the photos on my phone are geotagged with location, date and time 🙂
Our first visit had to be our “home away from home” the Ha’Penny Bridge Inn. Situated right on the edge of the Temple Bar area and on the banks of the Liffey. We’ve visited this pub each time we came over for the rugby and always have a wonderful welcome. I follow them on social media, and it’s great to hear that they’ve reopened now after the terrible 12 months plus that the hospitality industry has faced. I really hope to visit again soon.
Now here I really am relying on the photos in my phone. As we called into another pub, where we found they had live music. I had no recollection of the name of said hostelry but it’s tagged as O’Neils. Looking closer at the photos I would guess O’Neils may be the brewery as in a few places I can see pictures and signs saying The Auld Dubliner .
I seem to remember it was a little further down the street from the Temple Bar going away from our hotel. Nice pub with a good singer!
With a brief stop at that most traditional supplier of authentic Irish fayre … McDonalds!
Suitably sustained it was “damn the liver lets find another pub!”
So we cross the Liffey and find one of the largest pubs in the area, at least of the ones we visited. The Arlington Bar.
Now this place is HUGE and we spent an hour or so stood, as there wasn’t a seat left in the place, listening to some great live music. The place was buzzing with locals and visiting Taffs and we had a great time.
Returning to ‘our side’ of the Liffey we find a much smaller but again great establishment , the Bachelor Inn.
Where we discovered the human jukebox. A talented guy with a guitar his name was Simon Gynn who had song sheets on each table and you could just go up and ask him to sing any song on it. So we had a pint there too.
Oh I should at this point say who “we” are. On this trip we happy band of friends were:
Me “Big Rob”, Andy (my little brother), the ‘other’ Rob, Robert Davies he of Robert Davies Travel fame (for anyone confused and reading this as a first review of mine, a nickname we gave him as he 1 – Travels a LOT, well before Covid anyway, and 2 organises all our trips for us), John and Phil.
Finally no night would be complete without a return visit Home to the Ha’Penny Bridge Inn for a night cap.
So Friday 7th February 2020 and our first full day in the land of my ancestors. Oh come on don’t tell me you missed the surname!
And it appears we did bugger all. 🙂 As I have a few photos of us going for a wander and that’s about it. So I think I’m relatively safe to say, as this is what we usually do. We walked around enjoying the scenery, company, pubs and as the Irish say “the Craic”
Saturday 8th February, and this is an exciting day. As whenever we have visited Rome for the Rugby we had tickets, as the stadium is huge, the sport not as popular there as here so they are available. Now when it comes to Ireland. Despite having visited (myself) 3 times if memory serves, and if reading this far has told you anything, it’s not to believe my memory! We have never been able to obtain tickets for the match. Until this trip. Yay we’re going to the match.
So being the intrepid explorers we are we decide to walk from our hotel to the ground, it was a nice if ‘brisk’ day so we thought why not. It turned out it was a route, without the one or two detours we may or may not have taken, to be around 2 miles.
So ¾ of the way there we stumble, almost literally upon The Gasworks Pub.
Which was on our route, was massive, was empty, when we got there. But soon filled up.
So we were able to spend a nice hour or so there. Have a meal and one or 6 drinks.
It was also here that the old Disney adage was proved correct, which Mouse Missive am I referring to? “It’s a small world after all”. As while I was live streaming the singing, told you it filled up! to my Facebook feed, a girl I work with tagged me from the other side of the bar. As she was there with her husband on a different trip.
From here we joined the throng, and this really was a throng to enter the stadium. Lansdown Road.
We had great seats, there was a great atmosphere, the queues for the gents were NUTS. But this is coming from an individual who spends more time in a theatre than a sports venue, so is used to being of the blessed sex i.e. male not female, woow woow woow, no sexism being spouted here. I am merely referring to the chronic lack of female toilets in the majority of theatres. So while us gents can use the facilities, visit the bar, even take out a second mortgage and buy a small tub of ice-cream, ladies are usually taking part in the longest, slowest conga in the world during said intermission.
Anyway I digress all was great … except the result. We got beaten, royally. The final score being 24-14 to the hosts. Anyway we had a good time, Rob was advised he’d, together with some of the rest of our crew been on the telly as my sister in law tagged us with this photo.
Which incidentally has continued to haunt someone as famously camera shy as myself as it has appeared in a variety of websites promoting of all things social distancing and vaccinations in relation to Covid!
Yes I am behind the missing jigsaw piece!
So we start our journey back towards central Dublin.
Stopping at an inverted Tardis of a pub where we pinned ourselves to a wall to watch the other match on that day. Now that pub was rammed, I mean I had to ask the guy next to me to breathe in so I could breathe out! Luckily at my height I could see over the heads of the people in front of me to keep up with the action on the telly.
Continuing our journey we got caught in a downpour and took shelter in … all together now … a pub.
But this was for a meal not just another excuse for a drink. Although we did of course have a drink with our meal 🙂 I think it was called O’Connors and I do remember the food was great.
So deciding as we had to be up early for the return flight. Oh and having been getting repeated updates that bad weather was coming in and could affect our flights. We were good little travellers and returned to out Hotel.
Only 34 seconds later for my brother and I to be led astray by our cockney chum Mike and head straight back out to the Ha’Penny Bridge Inn. Where we were sensible travellers and had just the one pint to finish off the trip the right way, and we left said watering hole … only to be pulled by some invisible force to re-enter through a small door and up a flight of stairs where we discovered a room we hadn’t visited in any of our previous trips.
Where live music was being played and where we spent the next hour or so! Returning to our hotel just short of the witching hour. Through what could not be described as quiet streets!
The next morning we headed, admittedly somewhat wearily to the airport. To begin the not so fun game of “will our flight take off” and if so “where the **** will it land”
As the promised bad weather had hit with a vengeance and the previous flight to Birmingham ended up landing in Manchester! Now were were informed this was not due to the pilot getting lost and was indeed due to the weather. However as we didn’t KNOW anyone in the land of the Mancunian we REALLY hoped to land where we were aiming for. Luckily, after a number of false starts and a delay we did.
So there you have it. Rob drives back home, dropping off our travel mates at various points and another trip was over, for another year until we all met again to visit Rome in early 2021.
Oh yeah, about that ….