There are sites in Dublin we wish now we had the time to visit, one is the Guinness Distillery which occupies a huge area in central Dublin. It is the most visited tourist site in Ireland, 1.5 million visitors a year. Even the Louvre Museum or the British Museum cannot pull in that many people. Call it the power of a name or beer, who knows, I hasten to tell you that I am not a beer drinker and very seldom will I drink a glass of beer. However Guinness has pull and prestige factor and so I did try a glass of Guinness with fresh oysters while we waited for our train on the platform in Westport, no this was part of Irish Train service but rather of the Luxury train Grand Hibernian package we were on, it won’t happen for ordinary train travellers, oysters do beat a bag of chips any day, if you see what I mean.
If you are in Dublin do go to Guinness for a visit it is worth it I am told.
We walked in Dublin and many of its street are for pedestrians. Another site we went to was the National Museum of Leprechauns, yes there is a National Museum dedicated to the little people. Most interesting, you are guided through and told many tales about Leprechauns and how Walt Disney maligned them the greedy bastard. Leprechauns are cobblers by trade and wear brown suits not green, or have anything to do with Lucky Charms cereals or any products on the market. They are very honest and must always answer truthfully a direct question, they are also bound by a promise made. The whole story about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is also explained in a very funny story. It turns out that the pot of gold is there earnings from their trade as cobblers, so you understand why they wish to protect it, you would too if it was your money or your bank account. We were told that you should not fear the Leprechauns, they are harmless but in a forest be afraid of the Fairies, they can be quite dangerous and evil. The Tuath(a) Dé Danann are a race of supernaturally-gifted people in Irish mythology. They are thought to represent the main deities of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland. Many of the Irish tales of the Tuatha Dé Danann refer to these beings as fairies, though in more ancient times they were regarded as goddesses and gods. The Tuatha Dé Danann were spoken of as having come from islands in the north of the world or, in other sources, from the sky. After being defeated in a series of battles with other otherworldly beings, and then by the ancestors of the current Irish people, they were said to have withdrawn to the sídhe (fairy mounds), where they lived on in popular imagination as “fairies.
A distinction to be made Fairies are not like Tinkerbell.
Map of Ireland showing all the magical sites where Leprechauns can be found.
The National Museum of Leprechauns was a delight and quite fun to visit, it opens the door to another world of the Irish Folklore.
We also went to some pubs for dinner or lunch, one we really liked was Davy Byrne a pub named after a character in James Joyce, Ulysses. But also a real man and the famous owner of the Pub at 21 Duke Street.
Davy Byrnes is of course famous for its patronage by many other Irish literary greats. Figures such as James Stephens, Liam O’Flaherty, Padraig O’Conaire and in later times Myles na gCopaleen, Patrick Kavanagh, Anthony Cronin and Brendan Behan fully appreciated its hospitality.
During the War of Independence and Civil War the premises was visited regularly by Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith. Davy Byrne’s nationalist sympathies were evident, permitting as he did the upstairs room to be used for meetings of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and the outlawed Provisional Cabinet of the State, of which Collins was Minister for Finance. On one occasion, an officious barman clearing the premises at closing called: “Time, gentlemen please,” to which one customer replied, “Time be damned! The Government is sitting upstairs.”
Davy Byrne retired in 1939, and in 1942 the pub was acquired by the Doran family of Marlbourgh Street, who had been in the Dublin licensed trade for 50 years.
The Doran family are still here too, the premises now run by Redmond Doran.
Davy Byrnes’ excellent pub-food reputation, with seafood as its speciality, is famous throughout Dublin. Visitors at lunch and evening time can savour fresh and smoked salmon, and also crab dishes. A full range of hot meals and salads compliment the menu and visitors can enjoy a hearty meal of oysters and Guinness.
Davy Byrnes décor is original, authentic and pre-Second World War in theme. Boasting an art collection, visitors can appreciate the three educational murals of Joycean Dublin by Liam Proud, the murals of the 1940’s by Brendan Behan’s father-in-law, Cecil French Salkeld and the fine sculptures of Eddie Delaney and John Behan.