Monday 15 February 2010

Tourist Friday

Quel busy weekend! On Friday, I abandoned my current work project to be a tourist for the day with my friend, Donald. (Incidentally, he requested a pseudonym and after some deliberation, this is what I picked. Donald, you have only yourself to blame.)

We started off at the north edge of the city and worked our way south. We walked past the Chinese shops on Parnell St, stopping briefly so I could record these for posterity:

Following my trip last week to Arbour Hill, we concluded we should pay our respects in the Garden of Remembrance, mostly notable for its peculiar line in Republican symbolism. Crosses, horns, shields and whatever you’re having yourself.

(And Coco Pops.)

Then into the Hugh Lane Gallery – aka Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, which doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue.

No photographs allowed, I’m afraid. But we ambled through the permanent collection, stopping first in the Harry Clarke room. Some of the pictures have a nostalgia almost like photographs in a family album since they’re part of my childhood memories, familiar to me from Sunday-morning visits to the gallery. A quick tour of the Francis Bacon exhibition and then we left to find coffee.

We went to 3rd Floor Espresso on Middle Abbey St. It’s not on a third floor and the sign above the door reads ‘The Twisted Pepper’ but, those confusions aside, it’s well worth the visit. The coffee is excellent and they make their filter coffee with individual filters, which I love. There was a sharp intake of breath from the barista when I requested milk – but though this usually annoys me, I will concede that the coffee didn’t need it.

Lunch from Wok in a Box (wouldn’t recommend it, really), eaten in Merrion Square, to the sounds of a lone trumpeter practising the National Anthem. Quite surreal. A tame robin came to see us and I fed him some rice.

After lunch (it was a busy schedule) we went to the Science Gallery in Trinity. A triumph of style over substance. It looks slick, with nice graphics, and the idea of participative experiments is good, but there’s nothing to hold it all together.

We finished up in Temple Bar (it wouldn’t be a true tourist day otherwise) at the Palace Bar, one of my favourite pubs in Dublin. Donald had a pint, but I stuck to coffee because I had to drive afterwards.

Obviously being a tourist is more about attitude than knowledge, because we were asked several times if we needed help or directions. I recommend to anyone to take a day off to be a tourist in your own city.


  1. Hi, I am head of tourism for Donald and we scan the web for mentions of our town. Would you like to come for a trip, all expenses paid (apart from transport) to write about our town? We are looking to double tourism and think a fine travel writer such as yourself would be able to put our "tree shaped like a bullock's head" on the map.

  2. I think that Donald & Eithne should seriously consider setting up a spin-off tourism website...

  3. I just bought cafe matin which said it was developed expressly (!) for drinking with milk because it had less fat (?) than other coffee???

  4. Un café matin? Quel innovation.

  5. I really want to know why Donald has a pseudonym but uses his own face in pictures?