As I mentioned in our previous blog post, we stayed near The Curragh, a famous horseracing course that’s about 40 minutes from Dublin. The capital had played host to the All-Ireland football final which meant rooms for the night were priced sky-high, so we spent the night in the leafy suburbs of Kildare. The landlord was a laugh a minute, cracking jokes left, right and centre whilst cooking up a mean Irish breakfast. He also helped us scrub our car seats with vigour, an oily chip had fallen under my rear and I had squished it into the upholstery. If we hadn’t cleaned it, we would have faced the dreaded valeting fine of a 100 euros for returning the car dirtier than usual. We asked our hosts advice on things to see in Dublin and they recommended the quaint suburb of Malahide, which was conveniently located near the airport.
Sunday’s plan was visiting Dublin. I’d had a look at possible attractions but nothing really jumped out at me. Being the weekend the Guinness Factory would be busy and having to drive to the airport meant I would not be able to enjoy any of the black stuff. This also limited our possibilities of enjoying Temple Bar, an area of Dublin famed for its nightlife, which was touristy and even busy at 11am.
Some of the joyous football fans were still celebrating, the others and in fact, much of the general populace were looking dog-rough on this crisp Sunday morning. Even the children looked haggard! The shopping area of Dublin was much like any other Irish or British city, filled with chain stores and chewing gum stuck to the grubby paving stones. We walked up and down the River Liffey, along Capel Street, across to The Spire, O’Connell Bridge, the Irish Houses of Parliament before finishing at Dublin Castle. Something that appealed to me was The Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum Experience, but Sylwia did not fancy it and as we didn’t have much time, I decided to leave it.
Parking in Central Dublin is pretty dear, a good tip is to book your parking in advance as large discounts are available, drive-in prices are a lot higher. After 3 hours in the centre, we followed the advice we had received at breakfast and headed out to the lovely seaside suburb of Malahide. An affluent area, Malahide village is quaint, with colourful houses and a small marina. Pubs, restaurants and cafes abound. Families feasted on fish and chips in a park, as opportunistic sea gulls looked on in the hope that some would be dropped.
A short walk away is Malahide Castle, a grand estate with spacious lawns and gardens. We picnicked there and watched a young boy struggling to do keepy-uppies. Away from the crowds in the fresh air, this was very much our cup of tea, we did not enter the building but soaked up the pleasant family atmosphere.
sky-high – very high
to scrub – to clean
vigour – energy, enthusiasm
squished – squashed
upholstery – seats
valeting – professional cleaning
the black stuff – Guiness
joyous – happy
populace – population
dog-rough – dishevelled, rough-looking
crisp – fresh
haggard – tired
grubby – dirty
dear – expensive
tip – hint, recommendation
headed out – went to
affluent – rich
quaint – attractively old-fashioned
abound – to have something in large numbers
to feast on something – to eat
spacious – with lots of space
to picnic – to have a picnic
keepy-uppies – juggling the ball on your leg, knees, chest and head
soaked up – absorbed