Monday, December 12, 2011

All Roads Lead to Kate

It's been two years since Slaw and I went to Ireland so the timeline in my mind is a little foggy but I think I've generally got it down.

So, the day after we went to the Guinness Factory, we toured the Old Jameson Factory which was awesome. The night before, we were tipped off that in the beginning of the tour they ask anyone if they want to partake in a tasting at the end and they take 6-8 volunteers. We were prepared so as soon as they said "Alright, now would anyone like to..." both of our hands simultaneously shot in the air. We were picked before anyone else even knew what was going on. Suckers!

I stole this picture from the Internet. Credit ccwest05.

The tour itself was great - interesting and informative, though the building wasn't as large as the Guinness building. At the end, as promised, we were placed at a table with a few other "testers" and given three shots - one of Jameson, one Jack Daniels, and one Johnny Walker Blue. We tossed back the shots and were asked to give our favorite and everyone said Jameson. To be fair, it was the smoothest but I thought the Jack Daniels tasted the best. I wasn't going to say this in the factory because I have manners.

We then got a free Jameson drink which is where I first enjoyed a Jameson Cranberry. If you order this drink in a bar in America, you will be judged and asked to repeat your order. Do it, because this drink is delicious.

Before we started the tour, we had a couple of wintry Jameson cocktails in the Jameson-only bar on the first floor of the factory. After our free post-tour cocktails, we had about 6 drinks in the span of an hour, at most, so we were pretty toasted and it was only about 2-3 PM. It was time to get dinner.

I should mention that we only ate breakfast and dinner in Ireland. We would go somewhere and get repulsive Irish breakfast, explore, eat dinner at around 4, mingle in the hostel, then go out. Possibly nap if needed. This was almost literally our schedule for the entire trip.

We used our handy-dandy guidebook and found a place recommended for "The Best Burger in Dublin," located on New Street. Using our map, we determined that New Street was a bit of a hike (See map) but worth it since we were drunk and determined to have the best burger in Dublin. So we trekked, and trekked, and trekked. Eventually we got to New Street and did not see anything that even resembled the place that we were looking for. In fact, this did not seem to be a very business-y area at all.

Point A is around where I think our hostel was located

We determined the place we were looking for must've been renamed to Kate McCauley's as this was the only restaurant around. We walked in and were greeted by 15 pairs of angry, male eyes and one pair of weathered, female eyes. Obviously this was some sort of local and not one in which we were welcome. Tentatively, we walked up to the bar and asked the bartender if he knew where the restaurant we were looking for was located. "No," he replied gruffly. "You girls lost?" the one woman cackled. "You sure look it!" she continued, accompanied by a sea of mocking, grisled, Irish laughter.

Kate McCauley's via Street View

Shamed, we slowly left Kate McCauley's and tried to call the number listed for the desired restaurant, only to realize we had no idea how to use the payphone outside. It was then I noticed that the restaurant was located on New Street, in a suburb of Dublin, not in Dublin City. Incredibly annoying and frustrating since we walked 3 miles for nothing.

So we started the long walk back, stopping to get a burger at a pub that we passed. We laughed about our foolishness and went back to our hostel for some downtime before we started our night of drinking. Looking through our guide book again, we picked a bar that was described as being just like a bar that you might find on New York City's Lower East Side. Perfect! Nothing like going to another country to visit sites that are described as American.

The bar itself was great, and a lot like something you'd find on the LES as our guide promised. The problem with bars in Ireland is they close at like 11 PM on weeknights. Eleven. When we expressed our surprise, the very cute bartender explained that if they didn't close early then no one would go to work the next day. He also said that we could all do a "lock-in" where he closes the bar to most people and lets us stay and drink. We were totally into that and, if I recall, he spurned a couple of other girls who were also trying to get down to lock-in status.

Smugly we watched as he closed the metal door on the outside of the doors and started our "lock-in." The rest will continue tomorrow but I will tell you that this does not end in Hostel-style terror, even though it sounds like it could.

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