Hello! I am back. Already. Blogging two days in a row is super rare for me, don’t get bloody used to it! LAWL, just kidding. In all seriousness, I had to hop to it as publishing a Christmas themed post when everyone is already embracing 2017 is a no-no! I couldn’t do that to you all. So I’ll squeeze this in on December’s very last day, just as we’re all ready to leave the baubles, booze and celebrity deaths of 2016 well and truly behind us.
SIDE NOTE: There was a lot of interest in Eatyard from yesterday’s post. Today is the last day until March, so get yourselves down there before 8pm tonight to make sure you don’t miss out!
First stop in part two; a trip to Europe’s best tourist attraction, right here in Dublin – The Guinness Storehouse. This was my third time to visit, and it gets better every time! They’re always adding things on. And there’s beer. Also beer. Iñaki has become quite the Guinness fan, so it was only right to take him there. The 23rd was the last day the Storehouse was open for Christmas, so I pounced. We went into town quite early to get the most out of our day, arriving at 10.30am to explore the magical world of Guinness! Not only is the whole building amazing but the store is too, I love buying stuff there. I simply can’t help myself, and he couldn’t either. Each member of his family can look forward to something Guinness related.
I was also delighted to see the giant pint wood carving is still there, probably the most beautiful thing in the Storehouse. Lots of attention to detail; such beautiful carvings. We also tried out the new Tasting Room, which wasn’t open during my last visit. It’s a total sensory delight and you get a teeny Guinness, on top of the pint you can redeem in the restaurants or the Gravity Bar. I’m happy to say Iñaki loved every minute.
The Guinness advertising section has been updated too, with lots more interactive stuff, The Whistling Oyster (too gas) and a photo booth. The weather was miserable and a storm (much to Iñaki’s delight, he loves Irish weather) started when we were in the Gravity Bar so the views weren’t the clearest for a while, but we had the best time anyway. And they were playing Christmas tunes!
I don’t know what face I’m making above. Just focus on the perfect pint.
I know most have visited, but if you haven’t been, make it one of your 2017 goals. It’s hard to describe the Storehouse, but you can’t miss it! You’ll be beaming throughout your visit, and for a long afterwards. That might be the Guinness though. Buy your tickets online and save up to 30%. Tickets are cheaper in the morning and late evening too.
Our lunch destination was unplanned (often the best way) so we said we’d choose somewhere along the way. After the Storehouse we were walking down Dame Street and The Green Hen seemed like the perfect choice, their 3 courses for €20 deal is always a winner. The atmosphere, food and service are always excellent, and most importantly consistent. We both had the smoked salmon and Guinness bread (keeping things coordinated) hake for mains, and I must admit Iñaki’s cheesecake was the star of our dessert choices. I’ve mentioned The Green Hen here for a few times before, and here’s the review if you’d like more details. They serve up one of the best value lunches in the city.
Happily wined and dined, we took a walk around South William, into the Powerscourt Centre to see the lights, and went back up toward Dublin Castle to visit Dublinia. There’s nothing quite like a bunch of Viking statues and model houses and boats to get you into the Christmas spirit! Neither of us had ever been, so it was a new experience all round.
The cute tiles above are in Peacock Green on Lord Edward Street. I can’t resist a good jazzy floor. I needed a post-meal pre-Viking caffeine fix.
The early start started to take its toll and we finished our Friday night at The Porterhouse Temple Bar with pints, cocktails and scampi and chips. I never thought to order scampi and chips there before, but WOAH, they were divine. Hand battered and crispy with a side of chips and spicy mayo. And a lemon wedge. Yas.
Left to right: Dublinia’s exit, leading into Christ Church. Such a cool walkway. Middle: Dull cloudy skies at Tower Bay, looking out onto Lambay Island. This picture was actually taken the day after, on Christmas Eve, when we visited my aunt for Christmas drinks.
The last image is The Porterhouse scampi in all their glory. Can’t wait until future me orders them again. It’s gonna be great.
The shot above was taken in The Westin, on Westmoreland Street. I love The Westin. I pop in sometimes with friends for a quiet drink, and more often by myself when I’m early for the bus. I tend to sit in The Mint Bar (best for cocktails) but the Atrium is the real beauty, the perfect city hideout.
A gem for a drink, afternoon tea or simply coffee and a read of the paper. I wanted Iñaki to see how elegant and fabulous it is (and it really is) and to see how extra awesome it would look with Christmas lights. He took some photos and this sneaky one of me too. Doesn’t it look cosy? The Westin marked our last stop in Dublin city for a couple of days. Full speed ahead for Christmas Day!
Christmas morning! I woke to the smell of sausages, pudding and other delights. The table was set for breakfast and my sister wasn’t too long behind me, making Bailey’s coffees for everyone.
I woke anyone that hadn’t stirred yet (no one gets to sleep on Christmas Day) and we all had our coffees in the sitting room where Santa left a neat pile of gifts for everyone. Stockings were stuffed to the brim too, what a generous guy. And he found Iñaki, how does he always know where everyone is?! Magic!
Ah, dinner. The main event, the star of the show…the best dinner of the year! Turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potato, roast potato (in goose fat, of course) croquettes, vegetables, mustard, gravy. A fairly standard Irish Christmas dinner. All the bits.
The last few years we decided to keep all the presents under the tree until dinner time, which means we have more to look forward to in the evening without all the fun of presents being over in the morning, in one go.
The presents get more attention when they’re shared around the table. The dining room was a sea of paper between all the presents and cracker carcases.
That evening we played Pictionary, trivia games and I made a few cocktails. We ate and drank too much, standard Christmas Day stuff. My sister also showed Iñaki and I how to pull a pint of Guinness. I can’t believe I never knew how to before. And now we know, forever!
Stephen’s Day is much like Christmas Day, but far more relaxed. Same dinner, and there’s usually room for dessert (crème brûlée!) Iñaki and I were first up, so we did an early morning walk around the village, a good 5k walk on an icy cold (but sunny) morning set us up for the day!
The afternoon ended up being for margaritas, made using my favourite recipe.
We spent the evening at the Garlands house (our closest family friends, mentioned here all the time!) where more eating, drinking and games took place. Charades, and more Heads Up. Christmas classics at this stage for everyone, I’m sure.
Have you ever played Heads Up in a huge crowd? There’s nothing more amusing than a bunch of people roaring and jumping around, doing impressions and giving clues to a very confused person with a mobile phone to their forehead.
Above are some shots Iñaki took on our early morning winter walk.
For Iñaki’s last day in Dublin, we all went to Blue Bar in Skerries for lunch (he couldn’t leave the country without sampling their wings) and we went into the city by way of beautiful Phoenix Park. We didn’t see any deer, wherever they were hiding. Paddy from the last post (my nerdy friend with glasses, you remember him! Whacked out on sugar, owns drones) met us for a couple of drinks, a Christmas 99 at Stephen’s Green (perhaps a new tradition) and we had pints and toasties in Grogan’s and a couple of drinks in Idlewild so the guys could simultaneously catch up and say their goodbyes.
And that, friends, was my Christmas. Throw in another couple of dinners and boozy nights and here we are at the final curtain of 2016.
Happy New Year’s Eve (champagne toasts all round!) Happy New Year, All the best for 2017 and let’s see what it brings us – amazing experiences with family and friends and nothing but health and happiness I hope.
♥ ♥ ♥