Dublin–Day 2: Potatoes, pigeons, and pubs

potato peeling contestIt was a day of exploring the quirky riches of Dublin. Walking through a shopping area, we came across a potato peeling competition in celebration of National Potato Day. The two-year champion was pitted against a volunteer from the crowd, who was trying to win a stuffed Mr. Potato for her grandson.

Strolling along St. Stephen’s Green Park off Grafton Street, we met Daniel, who feeds and cares for the park’s resident pigeons. He introduced us to┬ásome recuperating birds (one had been bitten by a fox but was mending nicely) and pointed out how gentle and sweet these feathered creatures were. He knew them individually but didn’t give them names. I realized how it was actually pretty easy to tell them apart by their specific coloring. One had a spotted head; one had dark gray feathers, one had an iridescent purple throat. It made me look at pigeons in a different way. One landed on my arm, so Daniel gave me some bird feed. I had one land on my shoulder, waiting for the first one to finish eating so he could get some too. They weren’t fighting Daniel, the pigeon manat all.

We had lunch at a wonderful pub called The Hairy Lemon that was named after an old man with a scruffy beard who drank so much he had jaundice. I had a pint of Guinness and a delicious beef and Guinness pie. (It is Ireland, after all.) The waiters there were funny and friendly, and the atmosphere was lively but not rowdy. It was a fun place to spend an afternoon.

Then we wandered around St. Stephen’s Green Market where you could buy books, framed photos, clothing, postcards, and a huge variety of fudge. The orange chocolate was yummy.

We walked so much my feet started to hurt, so we rested up for a few hours at our Airbnb before heading out for dinner at a different pub, where I finally got the fish and chips I had been looking forward to. And another beer, of course. Or maybe two…We ended up sharing a table with three women from North Carolina. The pub was quite crowded and kept filling up more. Just after we left, live music was scheduled to begin, but we’d had a full day and were ready to hit the hay.

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