Irish hospitality

Dublin: the largest city in Ireland.  My husband and I arrived yesterday morning, already warned by our friends of the extreme generosity and warmth of the Irish people; but we're New Yorkers and we hold a bit of skepticism for every generic statement made.  Of course, everyone back home was completely right, and even in this bustling city, immediate friendships were made and the people could not be nicer. (c) 2011 MMallozziUpon our arrival to the beautiful and tucked-away guest house close to St. Stephen's Green, Number 31, owner Noel Comer greeted us and immediately filled our empty bellies with a full Irish breakfast (delicious!).  Our room in this gorgeous Georgian house could not have been more perfect.

After some much needed rest (no sleep on the flight over!) we then headed off later in the afternoon to explore the city.  We of course ended up at The Temple Bar, the most famous pub right in the heart of the city center.  Mostly known for its daily live music sessions, we each grabbed a pint of Guinness and a bar stool and enjoyed the music and company around us.

Outside, Grafton Street was filled with Christmas shoppers and holiday decorations, and once we became hungry again, our search for a restaurant became an adventure in itself.  Every local spot that had been recommended to us was filled with office Christmas parties, booked to capacity and we were turned away.  Finally, Matt The Thresher, a phenomenal seafood restaurant that also had no openings, did have a wonderfully sweet host who must have seen the desperation (and hunger) in our faces.  An hour's wait at the bar (but well worth it!) would give him enough time to (c) 2011 MMallozzifind us a table to squeeze into.  The freshest mussels right from the bay in County Cork helped rejuvenate us for what was going to be a longer night than anticipated.  Like I said, there were multiple office Christmas parties taking place in that restaurant, let alone the rest of Dublin, but when a pack of cheeky Santas entered, I had to grab a photo with them!

We then met our new friends Dubliner "Big Dog" Karl and English Sam sitting right next to us at dinner - both so kind and extremely helpful in giving us suggestions for the rest of our stay here in Ireland.  And once Karl heard that we wanted to hear some live music, he and Sam swept us away to a small local pub, The Stag's Head.  Back in the center of town, we walked off the main street to a back alley which opened up to a small, quieter square filled with true Dubliners.  We descended a staircase only to find a packed pub with fantastic music being played by The Blahgards, a local Irish band.  A night full of pints, music and dancing kicked off what I know will be a more-than-memorable journey.  Thank you "Big Dog" Karl, Sam, and the rest of our new Dublin friends!