Whilst Belfast wasn’t intimidating as such, there are tensions. In Dublin the accent is on welcome and hospitality. We present ourselves at Wuff’s, a corner cafe run by some lovely East European Irish who share their adopted country’s attitude to conviviality and superb food. I go for the full Irish and am rewarded with an excellent mix of white pudding, black pudding, bacon with an egg that is perfectly cooked and all complimented with two exquisite slices of toasted sourdough. OK, it’s not soda bread but I’m a very happy man.
The walk into the centre of Dublin is along the Liffey and whilst it’s certainly not the prettiest on a cold, overcast day, it does help to work off some of the calories just consumed in Wuffs.
The plan is to find the ‘Famine Exhibition’ which is rumoured to be in or near St Stevens’ Green so we walk within the park and read some of the uncomfortable reminders of the English occupation and their fight for freedom.
We find the exhibition on the top floor of the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre which has considerable architectural merit in its own right. It’s a steel structure with huge areas of glass, an Irish Crystal Palace!
The exhibition is fascinating and heartbreaking in equal measure and an hour later we emerge better informed and chaste.
We’re heading across the city now for our final cultural dose of things ancient then it’s off to the ‘Green Man’ owned by another wonderful product of the Camino, Andrew. The Pilgrim met him four years ago on The Norte and this creates another connection as it’s the one that I’m 400km into and hope to return to finish it later this year.
Andrew is already at the bar and greets us both with a hug followed by several pints of black liquid, lots of reminiscence, a tour of the pub and its history (fascinating – they’ve even got a confessional for when the alcohol has loosened your tongue 😇) and a great meal. If you’re in Dublin put ‘The Ginger Man’ on your list, it’s outstanding.
Tomorrow is an early start so this evening is an early finish and we hire a cab to get an extra half hour in bed.
Enjoy the snaps. G x