Traveling in Dublin

Traveling in Dublin

THE PERFECT PINT

Bartender Glenn, of a local Dublin Pub, helps Let’s Go resolve the most elusive question of all

LG: What’s the most important thing about pouring a pint .

A: The most important thing is to have the keg as close to the tap as possible. The closer, the better. LG: And why’s that?

A: Well, you don’t want the Guinness sitting in a long tube while you wait to pour the next pint. You want to pull it straight out of the keg, without any muck in between. LG: Does stopping to let the Guinness settle make a big difference? A: Well, you can top it straight off if you want, but you might get too big a head with that. You don’t want too small or big a head, so if you stop 3i of the way, you can adjust the pint until the head is perfect. A true Guinness lover will taste the difference.

LG: Because of the head?

A: No, because of the gas. If you pull the Guinness straight from the tap and get a big head, it means you’ve gotten too much gas. It kills the taste.

LG: Anything else to look for?

A: Good Guinness leaves a healthy film on the glass. If it doesn’t, you didn’t get a good Guinness.

LG: Well, Glenn, you sure make pouring pints sound like an art form.

A: Oh aye, but only with Guin- ness-everything else you just chuck into a glass and hand out.

The Long Stone, 10-11 Townsend St. Old books and handcarved banisters lend a rustic, medieval feel to this pub. Full of interesting rooms, the largest has a huge carving of a bearded man whose mouth serves as a fireplace. Open Su 4-llpm, M-W noon- 11:30pm, Th-F 10am-12:30am, Sa 3pm-12:30am.

McDaid’s, 3 Harry St. off Grafton St. The center of Ireland’s literary scene in the 1950s. Book-covered walls and a gregarious crowd downstairs make up the McDaid’s atmo-sphere, which becomes a tremendous hot spot at nights. Open Su 1 lam-1 lpm, M-W 10:30am-l 1:30pm, Th-Sa llam-12:30am.

CLUBS

In Dublin’s nightlife war, clubs currently have a slight edge over pubs because of their later hours. As a general rule, clubs open at 10:30 or 11pm, but the action really heats up after the 11:30pm pub closings. Clubbing is an expensive way to end the night, since covers run ‚7-20, and pints are a steep ‚5. Find a club with an expensive cover but cheap drinks and you’ll be set for the night.

The PoD, 35 Harcourt St. Spanish-style decor meets hard core dance music. The brave venture upstairs to The Red Box, a separate, more intense club with a warehouse atmosphere. Cover ‚10-20; Th and Sa ‚7 with ISIC; Th ladies free before midnight. Cover skyrockets when big-name DJs play. Open until 3am.

Ri-Ra, 1 Exchequer St. Good music that steers clear of pop and house extremes. 2 floors, several bars, lots of nooks and crannies. Cover ‚7-10. Open daily llpm-2am.

Gaiety, S. King St. just off Grafton St. This elegant theater shows its wild side late night, with DJs and live music from salsa to soul. Cover from ‚10. Open F-Sa midnight-4am.

The Shelter, Thomas St. near the Guinness Brewery. Funk, soul, and a little bit of retro sound move a crowd dressed in multiple shades of brown, gray, and black. Live bands and DJs play often. Cover ‚9. Open Th-Sa until late.

Club M, Blooms Hotel, Anglesea St. in Temple Bar. One of Dublin’s largest clubs, attracting a crowd of all ages and styles. Club M boasts an elaborate layout with bars in the back. If at first you don’t succeed, grind, grind again. Cover Su-Th ‚7, ladies free before midnight; F-Sa ‚12-15.

GAY AND LESBIAN NIGHTLIFE

The gay nightclub scene is alive and well, with gay venues (usually rented-out clubs) just about every night. Keep up-to-date by checking out the queer pages in In Dublin for gay-friendly pubs, restaurants, and clubs, or try Gay Switchboard Dublin for event info and updates ( 872 1055; Su-F 8-10pm, Sa 3:30-6pm). The following listings are always safe bets.

The George, 89 S. Great Georges St. Dublin’s first and most prominent gay bar. All ages gather throughout the day to chat and drink. Hosts frequent theme nights. Su night Drag Bingo offers lots of additional entertainment. Dress well-no effort, no entry. Cover ‚8-

10 after 10pm. The nightclub is open W-Su until 2am.

The Front Lounge, Parliament St. The velvet seats of this gay-friendly bar are popular with a very mixed, very trendy crowd. Open Su 4-11:30pm, M and W noon-11:30pm, Tu and Sa noon-12:30am, F noon-l:30am.

Out on the Liffey, 27 Upper Ormond Quay. Ireland’s 2nd gay bar, its name plays on the more traditional Inn on the Liffey just a few doors down. Lots of dark nooks in which to chat and drink. The short hike from the city center ensures a local crowd most nights. Tu drag, W karaoke, F-Sa DJs. No cover. Late bar W-Th until 12:30am, F- Sa until 2am.

DAYTRIPS FROM DUBLIN

HOWTH. Howth (rhymes with both) dangles from the mainland in Edenic isolation, fewer than 16km from Dublin. A 3hr. cliff walk circles the peninsula, passing heather and thousands of seabird nests. The best section of the walk is a lhr. hike between the harbor and the lighthouse at the southeast tip. To get to the trailhead from town, turn left at the DART station and follow Harbour Rd. around the coast for about 20min. Just offshore is Ireland’s Eye, a former sanctuary for monks that has become an avian refuge. Ireland’s Eye Boat Trips, on the East Pier, jets passengers across the water. ((01) 831 4200. Round-trip ‚8, students and children ‚4.) To reach the private Howth Castle, a charmingly awkward patchwork of architectural styles, turn right as you exit the DART station and then left after 400m, at the entrance to the Deer Park Hotel. To get to Howth, take a northbound DART train to the end of the line (30min. 6 per hr. ‚1.50). Turn left out of the station to get to the tourist office, in the Old Courthouse on Harbour Rd. (844 5976. Open May-Aug. M 11am-lpm, Tu-F llam-lpm and l:30-5pm.)

BOYNE VALLEY. The thinly populated Boyne Valley hides Ireland’s greatest archaeological treasures. Along the curves of the river between Slane and Drogheda lie no fewer than 40 crypt-like passages constructed by the Neolithics around the 4th millennium BC. Newgrange is the most spectacular; a roof box over the entrance allows a solitary beam of sunlight to shine directly into the tomb for 17min. on the winter solstice, a breathtaking experience that is simulated on the tour. You may only enter Newgrange by admission at ElBni na Boinne Visitors Centre, near Donore on the south side of the River Boyne, across from the tombs. (& (041) 988 0300. Open June to mid-Sept. daily 9am-7pm; late Sept. and May 9am-6:30pm; Oct. and Mar.-Apr. 9:30am-5:30pm; Nov.-Feb. 9:30am-5pm. Center and lhr. tour ‚6, students ‚3.50.) A group of enormous, well-preserved Norman castles including Trim Castle, conquered by Mel Gibson in Braveheart overlooks Trim proper on the River Boyne. (Open May-Oct. daily 10am-6pm. Tours every 45min. Limited to 15 people; sign up upon arrival in Trim. Grounds only ‚1.20. Tour and grounds ‚3.10, students ‚1.20.)

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