Thursday 10 October 2019

Dublin bound

“That’s good, Dolores.”


“The gate is a high D number. You know what that means?”

“Let me guess – does it have some connection with alcohol?”

“I was thinking of the massage machines we’d have to walk past. I know you like a go on one before a flight.”

“Right. I’m not stupid. I know where the Irish pub is.”

“It works out perfectly for both of us. I get a pre-flight pint, you get a pre-flight massage.”

“Pfah.” Dolores makes that noise again. Pretty sure it means “You’re completely right, Ronald.”

As we wander down the seemingly endless corridor of D pier, I say to Dolores: “Remember the time the Irish pub was closed? What a disaster that was.”

“For you, maybe.”

I might have spoken too soon. The entrance to the Irish pub ids boarded off. Bum.

“That’s annoying. Looks like it’s closed again.”

“I hope they haven’t moved the massage machines, too.”

We venture a little further. Yes. There’s a sign pointing to what’s usually the pub’s emergency exit. It is open.

“What do you want to drink, Dolores?”


This is going to be a cheap round. I go for my standard half of Stout, double Jamesons, no ice.

“What’s that?”

“My usual order here.”

“How much did that cost?”

“Not that much. I didn’t go crazy. I only had a half.”

“Pfah. And that whisky. Don’t get any more.”

Dolores heads off for her massage.

This is going well. I get out my Private Eye and sip slowly on my drinks. Given the negative reaction of Dolores, I don’t get a Jameson refill as I’d planned.

Multiple people try to leave by the usual exit, which now only leads to a building site. It’s sort of amusing for a while. Eventually an airport employee comes and seals off the door.

We’re flying with Aer Lingus. As we won’t be getting fed on the plane, we’ve packed sandwiches. I polish off mine while we’re waiting to board. And read some more Private Eye. I’m so far behind in the issues that Johnson isn’t quite PM yet. That will turn out well, I’m sure.

The flight isn’t too annoying, which is about the best you can hope for in a flight. The plane takes off and lands without crashing. And doesn’t explode inbetween. I always hope to arrive alive.

After annoyance with the express bus last year, we’re opting for the number 16 city bus this time. Except it doesn’t seem to stop at terminal 2, where we’ve landed, just terminal 1. Despite looking on the internet, I couldn’t discover exactly where the bus departs from.

We wander out of the terminal towards a bus-stationey looking thing. Which, in addition to long-distance coaches, does appear to house some city buses.

“Zone 15, over there.” A driver replies, when we ask where the 16 stops. That was pretty pain-free.

It doesn’t seem to take this double decker much longer than the supposedly express coach. And it’s half the price.

Where we’re staying is pretty central. Another advantage of the 16 is that it stops about 50 metres away from our hotel.

Bags dumped, we quickly set off to Tesco for some provisions. I spotted the Tesco Express from the bus and know exactly where we need to go.

We get all the essentials – sandwiches, crisps, milk, beer, cider and a half bottle of Powers.

“Why are you getting that, Ronald?”

“So I don’t spend as much money in the pub.”

“Right. As if that’s going to happen.” Dolores is as cynical as the kids.

I fire off a message to John Duffy (aka Beer Nut) to warn him we’re going to be a bit late. We’ve arranged to meet in Underdog at 5 PM.

On the way there I realise something. We were in Underdog last year. And Dolores complained about the smell. I picked it this time because John promised cask beer. Which is what I know Dolores will be looking for.

There are several others besides John. His other half, Dara, Kellie (one of the conference organisers) and Christina Wade, who will also be giving a talk tomorrow. She’s an academic specialising in medieval history. Which is handy, as I know bugger all about the period.

I’m in the stage of learning where I’m becoming acutely aware of how little I really know about beer. Well, not so much beer, as brewing in general. Malt, hops, sugar, water – I’m woefully ignorant on all of those topics. Pretty good on parti-gyling and tax legislation, mind.

The cask beer is from Thornbridge Kirkstall. And only 5 euros a pint, which is considerably cheaper than the keg beers on offer.

“Why is the cask so cheap?”

“The landlord is a fan of cask. And, in Dublin, they just seem to have settled on 5 euros a pint. For no particular reason.” John replies.

I’m not going to complain. Nor is Dolores. But she does about the smell down here. She’s still not keen on that. But cheap cask beer helps.

After Christina has told me lots of interesting stuff about medieval brewing (always happy to be filled in on a subject by someone who knows what the fuck they’re talking about), we head off to JW Sweetman, where we’re meeting up with various people involved in the conference tomorrow: organisers, speakers and the like.

They’re downstairs in a part of the pub not normally used. Just as well as we’re with John, as I would never have thought to look down here.

We eat some food, drink some beer and chat away. That’s what pubs are for. I’m on the Porter. Pretty appropriate in Dublin, I think. Not cask, but not bad.

We don’t stay out too late. I need to be well rested for tomorrow. Though I’m not on until 11:30. I like to be at my best when performing. However crap my current best might be.

Since passing 60, I realise why older relatives were always moaning about aches and pains. I’m sure it will be better once I pass 70. As long as they’re still handing out opioids like geriatric smarties.

Dublin’s streets are full of life and noise as we wander our way back. More of the former than I still have and rather more of the latter than I now care for. Dull it isn’t.

There’s still time for a small nightcap of Powers back in our room. Dolores gives me a look as pour it.

“It’s just to help me off to sleep.”



75 Dame St,

JW Sweetman
1-2 Burgh Quay,
Dublin 2.


The Beer Nut said...

Underdog wasn't having a particularly stinky day, I just picked the table by the toilets and Dolores ended up at the door. Soz.

The cask was from Kirkstall, btw.

BryanB said...

"I’m in the stage of learning where I’m becoming acutely aware of how little I really know about beer."

Isn't that one of the Dunning-Kruger corollaries - that the further you climb towards expertise, the more you recognise how much there is still left to learn?