Oh, I think we need another Perfect Saturday. Don’t you? Sometimes there is just too much WEEKDAY in my weekdays. (I know you come here for my eloquence.)
It’s all schedule, obligations, and “should do” moments when really what you want is freedom, possibilities, and “want to do” moments. I know that we can have those in our life at any given time, but I will leave that philosophizing to others who are better at it. I will do what I do best: dream of another time and place, and invite you along for the trip.
Come, leave your Wednesday and have a Perfect Saturday in Dublin, Ireland.
- It’s a beautiful morning in Dublin: the fog is lifting, the sun is bright, and the city starts to bustle. Let’s get breakfast at Cafe Java. The cafe windows are steamy from the heat of frothing milk and newspaper-reading patrons. We’ll eat Irish smoked salmon and traditional soda bread with butter. I will refrain from asking for a second serving of soda bread in all its warm, dense goodness…oh, who am I kidding? Of course, we’ll have seconds. We’ll drink Mallowchinos which despite making you feel like a 6 year old when you order it, is actually a tasty cappuccino with a melting marshmallow floating on top.
- Next is a walk on the strand. When the tide is out, the water retreats for miles until you are left with a great expanse of rippled grey sand. You can run for 30 minutes out to sea and never get to the water. We’ll marvel at the intrepid Irish children splashing about in frigid, shallow puddles.
- Now let’s take the train to the city centre and we’ll walk around Merrion Square. The streets here are lined with gorgeous Georgian mansions. Their broad stone steps lead up to brightly painted front doors. You can’t help but think of all the people over centuries that have passed through those doors.
- Let’s pop into the Natural History Museum on the west side of the square where we can roll back heavy vinyl covers to view delicate butterflies in glass cabinets, but the real thrill is going to the second floor. The vast vaulted ceiling soars above you as does a huge whale skeleton. The floorboards creak and ornate balustrades wrap around the mezzanine levels. There is something scholarly and beautiful about the museum; you feel like you should be wearing tweed and smoking a pipe while talking about the Belgian Congo.
- Boxty for lunch! Huh? Boxty are Irish potato pancakes which can be folded over a variety of fillings. Steak in a whiskey and black pepper sauce is a great one, but so is the traditional corned beef and cabbage (better than you think). Gallagher’s Boxty House will sort us out; they always do. They once miraculously found me a free table in a packed restaurant with a queue of people tumbling out of the door. It may have helped that I was 9 months pregnant. Maybe.
- On we go to do some shopping at Avoca, a treasure trove of wonders: candles, china, glassware, soaps, scarves, and their famous wool blankets. You will want to live in the shop, but I suspect this is frowned upon, so it will have to suffice to buy a few things to replicate the Avoca feeling of warmth, good cheer, and creativity in your own home.
- We’ll walk down Grafton Street to the tunes of buskers with guitars, fiddles, and bodhran. At the end of the street we cross over into St Stephen’s Green, the sprawling inner-city green space with gardens, duck ponds, ancient trees, and people soaking up the rare Irish sunshine.
- As the afternoon winds down, let’s go to the famous Guinness Storehouse. This is where it all began: Arthur Guinness, dark stout, the harp, and the toucan. From brewing to cooperage (that’s making barrels…did you know that?) to vintage advertisements, this is a fascinating museum to explore. Once we reach the top floor we are rewarded with a 360 degree view of Dublin from the Gravity Bar…and a perfect pint to go with it. Don’t get lost in the velvety swirls of black and cream in your pint glass, though. We have a sunset to muse over and an evening to plan.
- Pearl Brasserie is the place for dinner. Beneath the swanky Merrion Hotel, this French (I know, it’s not Irish, but c’mon we had boxty for lunch) restaurant serves up delicious slates of food (that’s not a typo – my meal actually arrived on a piece of black slate). The chef here has an affinity for black truffles and foie gras which means that I have an affinity for EVERYTHING on the menu. This is one place that proves Dublin is a culinary city.
- Our day ends somewhere down a cobbled lane where we follow the sounds of fiddles to a cozy pub. Raise your glass of whiskey (you’re only in Dublin for a day – go on!) and say “Sláinte” (cheers) to another Perfect Saturday!