Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bombing Bonding

Back when all signs pointed to imminent U.S. airstrikes in Syria (which was not even two weeks ago but feels like forever), it seemed like a good idea for my sister Laura to get out of Beirut for a little while. So she hopped on a plane and came to stay with Big Sis in Dublin. She was the very first visitor to the Inn at Cherrycourt (aka my house), and I expect to see rave reviews on TripAdvisor. I mean, what other B&B comes complete with Rock Band, jellybeans, and a ridiculously affectionate cat?

I took advantage of having a guest in town to not cook and to go try out a bunch of restaurants I had been meaning to visit. When I first found out I was coming here multiple people told me Ireland was a good place for stew and fry-ups but not much else. I am pleased to report that this advice could not be more wrong. Dublin has plenty of great food. From the cassoulet at The French Paradox (where Laura somehow charmed the owners into offering us not one but two free rounds of champagne) to the upscale pork belly at The Pig's Ear, to the Victorian sponge cake at Queen of Tarts, we ate very well indeed.

We also did a lot of walking, which was probably for the best given all the delicious calories we were eating. The highlight of her visit was probably our trip to Howth last Saturday. Howth itself is a charming little fishing village with a long seawall that's good for a stroll (bring a scarf, it's windy!) but the main draw is the walking trails over and around the Hill of Howth, along the top of cliffs overlooking the Irish Sea. The weather was perfect, the views are tremendous, and it doesn't take long to feel like you're miles from anywhere when you're actually still in Dublin. Make sure to bring enough water though - we were unprepared and learned the hard way that 14oz of water between two people is nowhere near enough for a 3-hour hike. Oops.


By the end of the weekend it was pretty apparent that any airstrikes that may or may not happen were not going to happen in the immediate future, so we both went back to real life on Monday. Too soon. But just a few days was enough to move Ireland from "meh" to "must" on Laura's travel to-do list, and she's planning to come back in the spring. Or the next time we almost bomb Syria, whichever comes first.

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