Sunday, June 3, 2012

New place, new faces, same old Dublin

I’ve finally settled down.

No, not marriage. I mean that everything was quite hectic there for a while. Having returned from living in France, I took to house-hunting in Dublin on the following day, found a place by the fifth day, moved in on the sixth, and had my first tour of the season on the seventh! I hadn’t seen my family since January, so after that tour, I got the bus home. More hecticness – packing the rest of my stuff to bring down before my next tour!

Just in case you’re thinking I’ve been having a bad time so far, I’ll tell you I’m happy to back in Dublin, scumbags and all. Colour, chat, variety, mischief – traits that Grenoble blatantly lacked, and some say Dublin has too much of! Tea. Cadbury’s chocolate. Excellent beef. Guinness. They’re all still here! Thank God!

But changes are inevitable, as my good university buddy Heraclitus was always saying. New shops, restaurants, transport ‘improvements’ (which have exacerbated services), buskers on Grafton St., ways to see Dublin, Starbucks (sigh) on the original site of the Bewley’s CafĂ©, and, most importantly, new beers!

Tom Crean, the Irish Giant, is known to Irish people as the fella from Kerry who had quite a walk in Antarctica. Those guys who fabricate those fantastic Guinness TV ads succeeded in recalling his achievements to Irish minds about ten years ago.

Funnily, his connection with Irish beer has now become real.

The ‘Dingle Brewing Company’ has created a beer in honour of the great man. Simply named ‘Tom Crean’s’, the smooth lager is something I’d choose over the boring, predictable common lagers you find everywhere, and I'm not just talking about this country. I think I’ve seen it in three Dublin pubs so far. For a huge, and frequently updated, selection of beers on tap, O’Neill’s on Suffolk never lets me down. Well, except for their removal of Curim on tap. L

Eight Degrees Brewing’ has been in half of the pubs I’ve been in since I’m back. Granted, I mainly go into pubs in search of new wonderful inebriating beverages, so that fact is not as startling as would first appear. I‘ve only tried the ‘Sunburnt Irish Red’ (on draught in O’Neill’s on Suffolk St.), but I was mightily impressed – probably my favourite red ale now. It’s rich in flavour and body, two things which 8 degrees obviously knew were desperately lacking from the common Irish red ales.

(I’m still suffering withdrawal symptoms from having worked four months in Belgian beer pub. It’s not all bad; there are places to get Belgian beer here in Dublin, but this post is already too long.)

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