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I forgot to mention my very favorite part about our entrance to Ireland through Dublin port…

It was some disgraceful time of morning, and we were stumbling through customs/immigration with heavy backpacks and heavier eyelids. The stamper man glanced over my passport and said, “Idaho eh? Famous for potatoes.”

It truly made my morning. Sure I find it slightly riling when my fellow Americans assume I till my own plot o’ potato land, but when that recognition comes with my first step onto Irish tater-lovin’ motherland soil, it’s a whole different story.

This is also my one picture of the Dublin outskirts/Irish countrysides before a big train nap.

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Spring forward to the first Ire-night…
DAY 4 (March 16):

Our lovely Irish hostess, Meabh, took us to an old-ass unpretentious bar called the Duke of York, tucked halfway down an alley off Donnegall Street in the Cathedral Quarter. It was everything I imagined it should be with plentiful thick dark woodwork and walls covered with large mirrors, mostly from beer and whisky companies; live music upstairs; traditional food; and good beer on tap. It’s a bar I could spend a lot of time and money in.

duke of york

Through the night, a group of ten or so Italians came in and took some serious pictures…tripod and all.

duke 2

We strayed to a nearby Spain-y restaurant called Tapas. For those of you unfamiliar with tapa/bocadillo/pinxto culture, bars through Spain (especially in little towns and in Basque Country), serve little snackies. They range but often combine meat or fish and bread; or potato and bacon pancaked concoctions.

something fishy

Depending on town and bar, they sometimes come free when you order a beer. My favorite is when you go out for a tapas dinner with friends, you get a table filled with all these little dishes that you get to taste and shift around depending on who likes what the best. The three of us ordered two tapas each and a bottle of wine and were well on our way to blissful indulgence.

tapas

Back at the Duke of York after dinner, limited space made for new seat neighbor friends. Funny boys who kept telling one of their own that he looked like a hobbit.

bar friends

Meabh continued reminding us how it was our first night in Ireland (always an admirable toast), and before I had too much time to think about our early St. Paddy’s parade plans, the taximan was dropping us off in a big drunken heap on Meabh’s front step. Wise planners are we, we bullshat into the morning twilight until we were all falling asleep over our words.

bad little bunnies

We woke up fairly early, missed the parade but arrived at The Bot (Botanic Inn) in time for the big rugby match. If you look back a blog or two, you can see how Saint Patrick enacted his revenge by migraine for my premature celebration.

Belfast tips and realizations:
*Describing a pub as old here means it has been around 100 years at the bare minimum; some have been open longer than the United States of America has been a recognized country.

*The frequent use of “taximan” as a name pleases me. “Taximan, would it be too much trouble to run us by a hole in the wall (ATM) first?” “A left here please, Taximan.”

*Pints are big and ofttimes expensive, but you are a weiner if you order a half-pint.

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