One of our favorite things to do when we travel is to meet locals and really get a feel for the places we visit from their perspective. Dublin has a greet program called City of a Thousand Welcomes where you meet up with a local. The service is completely free and unlike the similar program we did in Paris, they do not accept donations as three pubs and the city tourism board sponsor the program.
Before our meeting, we had a leisurely breakfast and then a stroll through St. Stephen's Green as the hotel is located on the park. St. Stephen's Green is Dublin's version of Central Park just on a much smaller scale. Dublin's Phoenix Park can actually fit two Central Parks inside its gates.
We met up with our Ambassador, Joe, at the Little Museum on St. Stephen's Green. As we are the Ambassadors of Happiness, we thought it quite fitting they call their volunteers ambassadors. Joe was fabulous! He is a retired dairy farmer and lives about 15 miles outside of Dublin. We headed over to Porter House pub for a sampling of their craft beers and a chat. Well an hour and a half later, Joe said he was going to take us for some whiskey to another pub.
He took us to The Duke where we had a Jameson and more chatting. It was great fun just talking with him about life in Ireland. While I typically don't talk politics while traveling outside the US, it was quite nice to be able to ask Joe questions about politics in Ireland and compare them to situations in the US. One of the things we discover as we travel is that the world really is the same no matter where you go. In Ireland they have their issues with immigrations and folks living on the dole just like we do in the US.
After another hour and a half, we said our goodbyes to Joe and headed to the Temple Bar section of Dublin for a late lunch/early dinner. We popped into Gallagher's Boxty House to give a boxty a try. A boxty is basically a potato crepe with a filling...surely you didn't think it would be anything but potato in Ireland did ye? We both had the Gaelic Boxty which came with steak filling and a small side salad...so nice to see something green on the plate. Our server was quite entertaining and had very definite opinions on just about everything and all the places he had visited around the world...and freely shared them! We did learn that in Ireland you're considered middle class if you eat dinner after 7:00pm because the working class folks always eat at 6:00pm...they have very definite eating times according to our server (most of the things he said we took with a grain of salt I must admit).
A quick stroll around Temple Bar and back down Grafton Street and then a stop by the Christmas Market. Having been to the Christmas Markets of Germany, I was very excited to visit the one in Dublin. This is the first year of Dublin's Christmas Market and it really was just food and drink stalls...maybe as it continues to grow they will have more local crafts and arts.
Julie was feeling a little cold coming on so we just headed back to the hotel for the evening. No sense trying to rush to get everything in and get sick...there is always tomorrow or the next trip.