12/08/2017 - TOP DECKING - FOR FUN AND PROFIT
I can't help but feel this is is all my fault.
We're on board the Irish Ferry to Dublin, Rob G and Chelsea picked us up at 9:00 and a quick pit stop to pick up Mr Weller and we were away bound for Dublin and the half Marathon I promised to do at last years beer festival. It had been previously stated that when inebriated I tend to make grand proclamations and promises which I then deny all knowledge of once sober. With that in mind whilst at the Denbigh Beer Festival, 2016 vintage (heady nose, full body with base notes of chili and oregano) Mr Weller employed some hideous, hither-to unknown technology called a 'phone' to record my actual words...
(I'd also question my use of the word exotic.)
Whilst probably inadmissible in a court of law, in the court of public opinion I clearly didn't have a leg to (run) stand on. Having failed to squirm my way out of it I found myself boarding the fast ferry to Dublin called the Johnathon Swift (I see what they did there.). The boarding procedure was completely painless compared to the hours of dehumanising screening and waiting and vetting that you are forced to endure in order to even get within touching distance of a plane. No one gave a shit how much liquid was in my backpack or what size containers this potentially hazardous liquid was in. Probably all due to change after we leave the EU and it'll be back to border guard with rubber gloves and less-than winning smiles. Walking onto the ferry as it loomed out of the dock towards us it's hard not to be impressed with the sheer size of the thing.
Once up the gang plank (check out the nautical terms...#research) we secured a table for exactly nine people, which was fortuitous for us but seems deeply impractical for them.
Rob "This is all my fault" Taylor
Em "Face of an angel, mouth of a docker" Taylor
Llion "Guinness hating Irishman" Weller
Rob "Diplomatic Escalator Incident" Gotts
Chelsea "Brand new passport" Gotts
Andy "Enough of this shit, where's my fucking jam?" Morris
Katie "You wouldn't like me when I'm Hangry" Owen
Caroline "Come on, it's only another Ten miles" Parry
Rob "Bad Bob" Parry
Andy purchased a small tub of jam as his pre-marathon breakfast, to be smeared liberally over toast. In fact it seemed like such a big thing to him it seemed churlish not to purloin the jam and hold it to ransom.
Of course if he didn't actually get his jam pre-run, he'd have thirteen point one miles (actually thirteen point two but we'll get to that later) and four days to plot a devious and subtle revenge that would see the downfall of all I hold dear. As I sank to my knees gazing at the smouldering ruins of what had been my life, I'd lift my arms to the heavens entreating God "Why?!" Andy would simply whisper "The Jam, you fool," and vanish into the shadows.
Or, you know, he'd punch me or something.
The ferry docked without incident and two buses and a very bored passport officer later we were standing in the middle of Ireland's capital Dublin.
Dublin has that feel that you get in vibrant modern European cities but still with the weight of it's violent birth as a nation upon it. The history of the revolution and the republic is still on every corner as the new builds stand shoulder to shoulder with the battled scarred historical ones. Berlin had a similar feel of a nation embracing the future whilst still being very mindful of the past. But there's none of the warning from history feel that Berlin feels burdened with.
After a minor misunderstanding that led to us purchasing tram tickets for everyone within a one mile radius (we're very generous abroad) we boarded a still very new tram and headed out to Spencer Dock. A short walk later we were meeting our Airbnb host Orla, who gave us a quick tour of the house and map of the city before going. 63 St Marys Road is a traditional comfortable terraced house. The fittings were well loved and it hadn't been updated in a while but everything was clean and worked and it also had an espresso machine that I was going to make a lot of use out of.
We headed back to the others at number 7 which was more modern and quirky with a skylight that led to the upstairs bedroom (don't wear a skirt) and a massive kitchen that we designated our hang out place.
When we stay in hotels you always need a place to just chill out in, be it the hotel bar or a strangers front room (ask permission first). But when you have a house/flat there s already built in chill out areas which makes the whole process a lot less awkward.
We caught the tram into town and walked through what can only be described as the Bedlam of a Saturday night in one of the worlds best known party cities.
We snagged another nine seater table, apparently three time three is the actual 'magic number'! (In your face De La Soul!). Looking out onto the street and the river it was a welcome respite from the mania of Temple Bar proper and we settled in for pre-race carb loading.
Way back in the Jurassic Era, The Parrys and the Taylors visited Dublin and found ourselves in this rather pleasant pub called Mulligans. The Guinness was good, the atmosphere quiet and the kind of place where you might find yourself in conversation with total strangers. On a cardboard hanger behind the bar where you would usually expect to see peanuts or scratchings there were five or six small tins. Looking closer we could see they were labelled as being Snuff. Being the adventurous sort we ordered a tin of the foul stuff much to the amusement of the regulars who being local didn't need to prove their mettle by nasally ingesting finely ground up tobacco. That kind of the stuff they left to the idiot tourists. Twenty fruitless minutes later we managed to get the tin open through judicious use of forcing the bastard thing and as a consequence split half the contents on the table.
The locals had done us a favour of not actually gathering around the table and pointing and laughing but you could tell no one was paying any attention to the TV when the free tourist floor show was on. We all took a pinch and snorted it to what can only be described as minimal effect. Oh well we thought, putting the tin away and continuing to talk quietly in the corner. About five minutes post inhilation Mrs Parry lets out a sneeze of the power and proportions that gets talked about of the weather segment of the News,
This was closely followed by the roars of laughter from the locals who had been anticipating this very moment, from the second one of us said to the barman "Is that snuff?"
Anyway in Mulligans we found ourselves a small corner and had pints and avoided the snuff although I swear it was the same cardboard hanger that we'd got our from all those years ago. The Guinness was as I remembered, cold, refreshing but substantial and without that metallic tin taste you seem to get in most pints in pubs. They also take a while to serve it pouring four fifths and letting that fully settle before the final top up and serve.
This can take four to five minutes and allows ample time for conversation and anticipation of that delicious first draft. We had a pint each, I avoided the traditional additional Rob Pint in lieu of a Decent nights sleep. Walking home we found a squirrel mural on a building that Caz kept trying and failing to take a photo of.
We caught the LUAS home and headed for bed.