The menu looks decent and we are ravenous. None of the fry up options nor extras include baked beans, which makes it particularly suitable for Helen. Both of us opt for the Brunchbuster and a mimosa, because why not?
The food is simultaneously nice and quite disappointing. The sausages are ordinary, the bacon merely OK, the eggs are fried to perfection and taste great with the pancakes. But, frankly, it’s not as good as the beautifully decadent plate we’d had on Saturday morning.
Outside the museum and cafe is the Spanish Arch. It’s one of the big hitter touristy things in the city; we’d seen it on Friday evening but figured it couldn’t be the Spanish Arch because it’s so small and rubbish. But no, we learn today that it is indeed the Spanish Arch. Getting a satisfactory photo of it is made hard not only because it is in itself so unsatisfactory, but also due to 15 tourists all huddling under it out of the rain - but still holding umbrellas up, which pisses me off no end.
“Oh, it’s a wet one today isn’t it!” says the driver, as he opens a door into the front carriage to let us in. We have it to ourselves until a minute or so before departure, when a couple of Italian girls also join the tour.
There is quiet background Irish music being played through the speakers, interrupted occasionally through the journey by commentary about historical stuff. The girls behind us seem to talk louder to each other whenever the commentary is on, which is quite annoying.
There isn’t actually much commentary either. They tell us about the Hall of the Red Earl, some excavations of an old hall where... I forget. Trading took place, maybe? Around the way by the church is something of more interest: Lynch’s Window. This is where someone named Lynch – who was, er, the sheriff or some other position like that – hung his own son as punishment for collusion with the Spanish, after which he retreated from public life and was consumed with remorse for the rest of this days. This is, we’re told, the actual origin of the term “lynching”. Hey, I learnt something!
There’s loads of fish. It’s an aquarium, after all.
My phone is not great at taking pictures of constantly moving subject matter through glass and water in strange lighting. But it’s not, like, awful either.
Dunno what this one is shouting about.
Because of the gallery on the aquarium website, Helen has been most looking forward to seeing the cheerful rays. But now, inside the venue, she zooms straight past the ray pool barely giving them a chance.
This little guy is a right grump.
There’s a tank with about 15 of these giant, miserable looking things, and it seems way too small a space for them. All the other tanks seem OK but this one feels out of place. But, what do we know? We’re certainly not really learning much, because neither of us are reading any of the accompanying texts.
The basketball thing, then. You get, like, 45 seconds to throw balls and if you score above 30 you get to keep playing, next threshold being 60, then. 90, then you just keep going for a high score. At my first attempt I score 28; Helen scores 27. I’m dissatisfied with my showing and insist on having another go, which is an excellent fun cardio workout and I score an almighty 134! Fuck yeah!
I did at one point manage to throw the ball directly into the cage, bouncing it off my own head and hitting a passing child behind me. Oops.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Smack! Kapow! Bang! Thwack!
She gets somewhere near the machine’s high score, and is rewarded with a bunch more tickets. You know, those tickets you can go exchange at a counter for some really, really poor tat.
On the next machine I win 40 more of the damn things. I forget what we play next, but by the end of our time here we’ve got something like 120 of them. This feels like about enough to get a couple of pencil erasers or maybe some sweets. Somewhat incongruously, on the shelves next to all the toys, fake jewellery, and other prizes is a robotic vacuum cleaner for 15,000 tickets. Holy frijoles you bloody what?
Not really knowing what to do with ours, we opt to surreptitiously leave them in the payout shelf of one machine, in the hope of making some lucky kid’s day.
Caribou is actually wonderful, possibly my favourite beer venue of the weekend so far. There’s tons of choice and the vibe is different again to that of the Salt House and Oslo. Here it’s dark and cool and hip, the music isn’t offensively loud, the sound of each table’s guests doesn’t carry massively. The staff are, as with everyone around here, really friendly.
While I’m at the bar, and in fact half the time while I’m sat down, Helen is on her phone figuring out where to buy yet more socks from. I think maybe she wants to start an export business.
Booze-wise, I go for a stout - “have you got one that isn’t 12% please?” – and Helen has a kriek. Next, I go for an IPA that according to her “tastes of soap”. In a pre-Untappd world I would doubtless have agreed, but this is definitely one of those beers which my tastebuds have given up complaining about. She also says her unfiltered kellerbier German lager is bloody delicious.
Everything sounds fucking amazing. There is a slight wrinkle though: they don’t have any beer. They have cider, they have wine, but no beer. And no spirits either, unless I want them served in a glass of coffee which I absolutely bloody do not. Fucking hell, a booze-selling place in Ireland that has no beer and no whiskey!? Diet Coke then please. Bah.
Also a big crepe with blue cheese and bacon in it, thanks. Oh god it’s delicious. I’ll forgive the lack of beer.
Cheap, too, probably our cheapest meal yet. While we eat a handful of other people arrive though none of them sit down for a meal - they’re treating it like a Starbucks, just coming in for coffee.
Once we’re done it’s a short wander back through town to Bar 1520. It seems busy, but as if by magic, literally the second we reach the cocktail bar at the back a couple up and leave from the comfy seats we’d had on Friday and we plonk right down. It’s great. So, about that bacon-infused-bourbon cocktail... and you know what, since we’re in Ireland, maybe I’ll have a Guinness.