I check out of my hotel in Belfast and head to Dublin today but first I head out to see the peace wall that I missed earlier. Thank goodness I still wake up very early so I can go out and sightsee before I need to leave. My sleep schedule is not so great for pub visits but opportune to seeing sights during the day.
The peace wall is the barricade that separated the two fighting groups of Ireland in the middle of Belfast to help foster “peace”. Before the mid-90’s this country was torn in pieces by constant violence. I am going to try to simplify it and I’ll probably get it a little wrong but basically it is between the British loyalists or Protestants (Ireland used to be ruled completely by Britain) and the Irish Separatists or Catholics. Ireland was technically declared independent in 1922 but I guess Britain wasn’t totally out of the picture and it caused factions to form. Northern Ireland remained loyal to the crown for the most part while Southern Ireland wanted to remain independent. This morning I walked down to the peace wall, which still exists, to see the art and written messages promoting peace and unity. There is talk of bringing the wall down but this particular wall is still up for now; perhaps so they never forget the past and they don’t repeat it. I learn later that I should have booked a black taxi tour to get a real feel for the history. I have another reason to return.
I had planned to take the 20 something minute walk to the train station to catch my train to Dublin but then it starts raining, then it develops into sleet and snow. I take an Uber instead. The train is on time and even the basic car seat I purchased is pretty comfortable, although it was never quite clear if I am in the right class. I have flash backs of getting kicked out of first class in Spain. I don’t get comfortable until we move and I see train staff walking by not caring about which ticket I have.
My hotel is a little distance from the train station in Dublin so I Uber again (Ubers are taxis by the way). It starts pouring, sleeting, and snowing just like Belfast. The weather has seemed to follow me here.
After hotel check in I decide to waste no time and sneak off to an last minute tasting at the distillery around the corner. The triangle shaped area I am staying is called “The Liberties”. It used to have the highest concentration of Dublin whisky distilleries. Irish whiskeys where thriving in the 19th century, people couldn’t get enough of them. Three things happened in the early 1900’s to change that: Irish independence, prohibition in the USA, and the Irish ignoring new technologies in the industry. All the existing distilleries closed in Dublin by the 1970’s (some moved operations elsewhere and stayed alive). In 2015, Teeling Whisky Distillery became the first new distillery to open in Dublin in 125 years. A distant relative once had a distillery not far from where the current location is so basically whisky is in their blood. I purchased the tasting where I try 3 different whiskies. Each had their own merits. My favorite being Single Grain Irish Whisky. The other tasting included a special cocktail that I also want to try so I purchase one at the bar after our official tasting. Now that I am all liquored up I decide I need dinner.
I wander around town in the evening. I go by all the temple bars. I notice teenagers lining up for blocks for some concert of a band I have never hear of. They seem to be wildly popular though.
I make reservations to try boxty – a local dish.
I get to the area early so pop into a pub where a person is performing Irish tunes and contemporary covers. I remember to order half a pint this time. Seems to be perfect for me lately for a quick drink.
Boxty is ok. I was expecting a life changing experience but it was just good. The meat was more tender than I expected so I liked that.
No late night drinks for me so I head back to the hotel for the night. I am meeting my friend tomorrow.