FRIDAY MORNING IN DOWNTOWN DUBLIN:
I leapt aside as a trio of huge Guinness kegs came rolling down the sidewalk at me. A couple of toothless delivery men stumbled after the runaway barrels, hurling curses at each other. Fridays are like this. The Irish thirst is not to be exaggerated. Every bar expects its enormous quota of 90 lb. beer barrels to be replenished in anticipation of raucous weekend customers.
Nor is the Irish demand for good quality food to be underestimated. Our first dinner out was a spectacular meal, conscientiously sourced and prepared by chef Dylan McGrath at his RUSTIC STONE restaurant, South George’s St., Dublin 2, +353 1 707 9596.
Every Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. there’s a lovely little Farmer’s market in the Temple Bar area. Hard to imagine that just the night before, these streets which once witnessed the first performance of Handel’s “Messiah” in 1742, were the scene of excessive debauchery.
Whether you are craving a 70% Valrhona chocolate bar, American popping corn, Italian olive oil, runny epoisses cheese or an organic free range chicken, the best place to find it all is at Fallon & Byrne market, 11-17 Exchequer St., Dublin 2, +353 1 472 1010. Fallon & Byrne boasts an eat-in cafe for lunch, a cosy wine cellar for small bites, and a full restaurant upstairs from the market (unfortunately, the noise level can reach deafening).
When you open the door to Sheridans Cheesemongers (11 South Anne Street, Dublin 2, +353 1 679 3143) a cold, moldy climate assures you the cheeses are “evolving”. The shop is a sort of G4 meeting of cheeses from France, Spain, Italy, and Ireland’s specialty, farmstead cheeses. There’s also condiments, charcuterie and wine.
Just popped into Christchurch Cathedral, one of the great landmarks of Dublin, to take a break from food shopping. The church is not quite as impressive as St. Patrick’s Cathedral (see future blogs) but the crypt is open. Down here are the expectedly mournful funerary monuments. (pun intended)
Yet, I didn’t expect to be assaulted by the distinct smell of scented candles and something resembling, say, lamb stew. Sure enough, besides dead bodies, the crypt is equipped with a Diner…
…and a gift shop selling 4 leaf clover key chains, scarves in the style of the Book of Kells, plaques with pithy Irish sayings, and yes, and array of scented candles to keep the dead smell at bay. Presumably, the big bonus under this 1,000 year old church is the costume exhibit from past episodes of “The Tudors” TV show which filmed here.
coming up soon: CELTIC-MANIA,