Dublin - home to U2, Guinness, Temple Bar, Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College, the Ha'Penny Bridge and about 1,273,069 Irish people. A short stop in Dublin is never a bad thing, in our opinion. Its easy to get around, pretty, and you're never far from a pint of Guinness. Plus, this time around was extra special! Our friend Jill from Ottawa was meeting us there. After tucking into some delicious Indian food we found ourselves in Temple Bar. Temple Bar, in Temple Bar, to be specific. There were approximately zero locals in Temple Bar, Temple Bar. We were under no illusion that we had stumbled upon some good local craic. But the craic is good where the craic is good, and with lively musicians, an enthusiastic crowd and free hats, we gladly joined in this particular craic and paid the astronomical beer prices. In Temple Bar that night, we only had eyes for one special Irish beer. Guinness. Oh Guinness. Guinness is not for the impatient- the whole process is long, intentional and steeped in tradition. But for a beer that can apparently actually declare itself to be healthy-perhaps it does require a bit more of a respectful pour. The bartender pours a pint, its cloudy and
foamy- like a beer storm. According to the company it should take 119 seconds to pour a proper pint. Believe you me- this is a long time to wait while being jostled around by fellow non-locals, at the packed bar. Everyone waiting not so patiently for their perfect pour. I like to watch the long line of glasses on the bar top as the beery clouds tumble down the inside of the glass and settle at the bottom. The glasses sit uncomplainingly in a row while the red haired bartender busily fills multiple other pint glasses with the cloudy alcohol and forms a second row behind the first. Then each pint gets a second turn under the tap . The cloudiness disappears and you're left with a flawless black velvety stout topped with the most deliciously thick head. Ah ha! Good things do come to those who wait! Thank Goodness. I don my "free" straw hat
and head back to Jonathan and Jill, trying my best not to disturb the pint's exquisiteness. Well, only until we are ready to drink it, of course.
Other than watching the skillful bartender's perfect pour, Guinness is in another way- the bars entertainment. Where in those who are drinking it are infinitely more entertaining. And sometimes, if you are very lucky, you learn some very important things from these very entertaining people. Like geography. The overly friendly British guy sitting beside us, was absolutely determined to explain to us, in many forms, where specifically he lived on the neighboring island. 'York' he tells us. 'Oh brilliant,' I say 'we've been there,' (I didn't actually say brilliant because people who speak North American just can't pull it off- but I really wish I could, so let's pretend together). It doesn't matter what I said anyways, because the Brit wasn't really listening. He proceeded to use things on the table, empty pint glasses, the salt, a coaster, to stake out a map of Britain for us uninformed Canadians. He helpfully arranged the coasters and condiments around the sticky table to be prominent British cities so Jill and I could see where everything was in relation to each other. It was all very informative. Because I couldn't help
myself, I asked for clarification often, and sometimes acted confused when the salt shaker suddenly morphed from Manchester to Liverpool which led our young English friend to believe that he has to start the whole explanation all over again. See, entertaining?
After our new friend was satisfied that we wholly understood the geography of England in relation to his hometown, we strolled back over the Ha'penny Bridge and back to our perfectly situated hostel. We dozed off to sleep satisfied with our time in the Irish capital and excited about our next stop- the North.