As I sit in the Dublin airport waiting for my flight, I thought I'd jot down some thoughts on my trip. I should say off the top I had a great time and plan to come back as soon as I can swing it.
First off, Dublin is expensive. In the States we have Dollar Stores (and 99cent Stores in LA) and elsewhere in Europe I've seen Euro Stores. In Dublin they have 2 Euro stores. Most of the beer I had where between €4 and €5.50 -- which is as expensive as LA (which is quite a bit larger). Meals in non-fancy restaurants seem to start at €12 and go up from there. Not earth shattering but higher than Munich and way higher than Bamberg (which is not a fair standard). Public transportation seems cheap. My hotel was cheap but it is February -- not the best time weather wise for Dublin.
The beer I had was on average very good. There were a few great beers and only a couple bad ones and they were probably the pub's fault not the brewer. But you do have to work a bit to find something other than the standard international brews.
People have told me the Irish are friendly. That doesn't describe it -- it is not just the "lets be nice to the tourists" sort of friendly but a real interest in how you came to Ireland and what you thought. I was walking down a street one morning when I passed a parking lot with a security guard. He bid me a good morning and asked how I was doing, I'm sure he was just bored but still it was a (pleasant) shock.
That being said, nobody said "Top of the mornin' to ya" -- I was given on good authority that there is a special re-education camp for anybody who says that to a tourist.
I don't know when I'll be back, but it will be on my list -- especially if I find another good airfare. And if you are visiting England it might be worthwhile to take a couple extra days to pop over for some good stout. Of course, the summer is probably way different being packed with tourist.
Oh, and one more thing -- I had read of this but did actually see it on a couple of occasions -- a man walks into a pub and orders a "pint of porter." This first time this happened I kind of perked up -- was there a beer I missed? He received an ordinary pint of Guinness. So the distinction between porter and stout is not all the clear here.
Back in Bamberg
6 months ago