I took the day off yesterday. So did my husband. The reason? Christmas shopping in the city centre without children. This also turned into a very nice brunch, followed not too long afterwards by a very nice lunch and lots of us time.
Dublin has not changed much. Granted, it was a Tuesday morning/lunchtime so it was not manic. Here, in no particular order are the highlights:
We went to the Kilkenny Design centre, a shop one cannot enter with a three year old and a six year old - not if you want to come out again with anything still resembling a bank balance. There is lots of pottery and crystal and expensive breakable things. We had pancakes, bacon and maple syrup in the café there whilst looking out at Trinity and over at the large mosaic/mural on the wall of the Setanta centre. It depicts the life of Cú Chulainn and basically gave me a couple of great ideas for Moy Tura. I think I will have to return with a camera, but I can see one of my major characters looking at it and being rather upset about the depiction of her husband, and another character having a fit because she appears to have lost her top whilst horse-riding! :D
Temple Bar was very quiet when we walked through it, although the clown in full costume and make-up chasing a man in boxers around the Central Bank was entertaining. Not sure what they were doing or why. It didn't seem to be a show. Just... a clown in full costume and make-up chasing a man in boxers around the Central Bank. But there you go.
Past Times was having a pre-Christmas sale. Everywhere seems to be. No one seems as interested in shopping for Christmas this year. I'm putting it down to the whole "having no summer at all" malais that seems to have gripped the nation. Two full months of rain when you wanted sun will do that to anyone. We're all sick, there are strains of the cold and flu that wouldn't be amiss in a Science Fiction Disaster movie, and the economy is as wobbly as anyone so all the shops are desperately trying to make people spend money anyway they can. One of the major chains of department stores (Irish people-how do you explain Dunnes to non-Irish people?) had a 25% sale all weekend on everything instore. It was great. That said, I talked to a shop assistant there and he said it had still been really really quiet. This was in their flagship store.
The National Library were doing their bit to boost sales too - a free copy of Treasures of the National Library to anyone who spent more than €20. They gave us a free tote bag too. So that's another Christmas present sorted!!! (And no, the person getting it doesn't read this. Btw I'm keeping the tote bag!)
We had lunch in L'Gueuleton a wondrous French bistro on Fade Street, just above the Georges St. Arcade and Market. It is one of the top three restaurants in Dublin. (We've now eaten in two of them and have no wish to spend €40 on soup in the other one!). I had soup - French Onion Soup with a Grueyre Croute (I'm sure I haven't spelled that right!). I only each French Onion Soup in French restaraunts and it was phenomenal! Real comfort food! Big thick slices of homemade bread. YUM. Hubbie had a paté which was also YUM! All in all delice. We shared desert. Home made Ice cream (a scoop of Toffee and Pistachio, Vanilla and Pomegranate, and Passion fruit sorbet, served with a raspberry cookie and (we suspect alcoholic) jelly! Mega YUM! Then coffee. Good coffee. More accurately - excellent petit café creme!
Ok, as matociquala
would say, enough food porn.
We meandered back. Went to my favorite bookshop where I spent some time picking out the books from people I have talked to here and turning them cover out for all the world to see. A small and petty, but extremely satisfying hobby. I just hope someone will do the same for me one day! (Of course if I was working in the bookshop and trying to keep the shelves all neat and orderly I would HATE me!)
The newbie sales person in the bookshop told me that they didn't do a discount for members of the Library Association of Ireland. Foolish foolish newbie! A few minutes later, we left with our 10% discount on our pile of books and caught the Luas home, all happy and satisfied.
Then we had to pick up the kids, so that was a dose of reality, wasn't it?
Still, we got some things done, got ideas for the rest, so Christmas appears to be underway after all.
Wow! I had no idea this was going to be such a long post. I blame the clown and the mostly naked man.