Sunday was our last day in Dublin and we used it to visit neighborhoods where we’d seen many nice apartments and houses available for rent on daft.ie. That morning I plotted all of the currently available ones on a Google map and then we used them to create a walking trail that would take us from the Beechwood stop in Ranelagh, down Sanford to Eslington, through Donnybrook, on to Ballsbridge, back through Donnybrook, and then back to Ranelagh. Twelve miles in total, if you can believe it.
We got off the LUAS at what I think might be the cutest damn train stop in the world. You get off the train and right there is an adorable coffee shop with fruits and vegetables displayed in the window. Instead of walking into Ranelagh, we went the other direction down Dunhill into a tiny little pocket community and fell instantly in love. We walked into an amazing grocery store, that felt like a combination of Andronicos and Rockridge’s Market Hall, before making our way down Beachwood and through Ranelagh.
(While previous posts featured pics from my DSLR, despite the fact that I lugged it around all day, I never once took it out. Everything shown below is from my iPhone6.)
Alan thinks I have an obsession with Dublin’s yellow doors. He might not be wrong.
To give you context for the rest of the day, I want to show you what the weather looked like at 12:45 p.m. as we walked down a side street off Dunhill. Sunny. Warm (I took my coat off immediately afterward). Blue skies. Very small breeze.
As we walked through Donnybrook, it could be that we didn’t go down the right street, but we found it to be rather loud and not at all the type of neighborhood we had pictured from the listings. A large majority of the houses we passed were HUGE and it felt like a neighborhood that would be populated by businessmen with families or diplomats. I mean, we’ll be firmly in the “American executive” category when we go over, but we’re a bit of a conundrum to most since we don’t have kids and have always shunned the suburban lifestyle. We knew right away that the area wouldn’t be for us.
Midway through Donnybrook, I put my jacket back on as the wind picked up and the skies turned grey. Then, about 30 minutes later, my jacket was off again and the skies were blue with a nice breeze to keep the worst of the heat away.
We got to Ballsbridge, around the cricket fields, and couldn’t really see ourselves living there either. Yes, it is an area with a lot of traffic and noise which is something we’re hoping to avoid, but in looking at what types of units are normally available, we didn’t see ourselves really enjoying ourselves. Lots of places for rent on the grounds of the Herbert Park Hotel, for example. Not really our scene.
As we were walking down Merrion Road suddenly the winds picked up, the heavens turned black with Dementors, and then the sky opened up and dropped hail on the world.
Everywhere you looked people were running for cover under any shelter they could find. We stopped under a rather large tree with a thick canopy and thankfully it protected us from the worst of the onslaught, but when it was all over, I still found tight little balls of ice lodged in my pockets and down my neck. Strangely, during all of this, the sky was a dappled mixture of light and dark and it made sense to keep your sunglasses on because you never knew when the sun would reflect off the wet asphalt and blind you. I know this because I did not keep my sunglasses on and paid the price.
We walked down Wellington Road to Wellington Place, passing by homes that can only be called mansions, wondering how much it would cost to live in one of them. Not that we wanted to live in that neighborhood. It was purely an academic conversation we’ve taken up now that we’re so obsessed with how much housing costs in our soon-to-be home. At Appian Way it started drizzling again, and by the time we found ourselves on Leeson Park I realized that we were back within spitting distance of Ranelagh. We were also on a beautiful street and my feet were killing me so I asked Alan if we could stop to take a break. I’m glad we did because then the skies opened up and rain came down in torrential bursts. We sat under a tree on Leeson for probably 20 minutes waiting for the rain to stop. It didn’t. After talking about how beautiful that street was and how nice it would be to live there, we braved what Mother Nature was throwing down, walked past a cute little mews house for rent on Chelmsford Lane and found ourselves back in the heart of Ranelagh.
I was wet, tired, and thirsty so we popped into The Taproom, ordered two pints, and decided to grab a salad. BEST. SALAD. EVER. Mixed greens, watermelon, candied walnuts, pomegranate seeds, picked carrots, feta, and some sort of light citrus dressing combined to make the absolute best meal I could have eaten in that moment. And the bar itself? A beauty. Lots of dark woods and leather, book-lined walls running the length of the back of the restaurant, vintage light fixtures with Edison bulbs. If I could create a perfect bar space that would have been pretty damn close to my vision. I can’t wait to go back.
Later that night we had dinner at Fade Street Social and it was AMAZING. The mission of the restaurant is to support local meat and produce and it focuses only on what is the freshest product in season at prices that make it accessible to all types of diners. This was probably my favorite meal during our stay. I ordered trout, Alan ordered steak, and we got a side of colcannon and peas and carrots. To understand just how well I liked the place, I should tell you that I am ambivalent about carrots and I despise peas. I loved both. The dessert was good, if not too memorable. For me, the meal came down to the fish and the veg. We will definitely go back when we move.
We got back to the room that night and I passed out. Alan packed up all of our belongings, and then the next morning we took a cab out to the airport for an uneventful flight back to San Francisco.
We’ve been back for a week now and I am more excited than ever to get our asses over to Dublin. Alan visited his parents yesterday and they asked if I’m still excited about the move. MORE EXCITED THAN EVER. I have a feeling life is going to be very good to us when we’re in Ireland. I can’t wait.