Dublin has many sides and before one thinks I’m a complete alcoholic I thought it might be good to write about something other than the pubs of Dublin. In my years of visiting the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) exhibition hall and the Showcase Irish crafts show I had many a good walk from my various B&B to the show.
The RDS is a substantial structure fit in among the busy multi lane streets a real mass of buses, motorcycles, trollies, and trucks, made me feel alive with the buzz of activity. With so many visitors from abroad drawn to the exhibition hall the curbs and crossing ways are painted with messages “look left” or “look right” as the oncoming traffic is on opposite sides than one is used to in other countries. The hustle and bustle of Merrion st. and the RDS is one of my favorite memories of Dublin.
Just a block or two from the hustle and bustle of Merrion st. is the Lovely Herbert park. Herbert Park, situated in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 is one of the most popular parks in the city. Located in an area which has a long history dating from Donnybrook Fair in 1204 and comprising an area of ground close to the River Dodder was originally known as the ‘Forty Acres’. I stayed in a bed and breakfast on Morehampton St. and I’m sure people thought I was daft as I merrily walked from Morehamton st through Herbert park to the RDS in January in a short sleeved shirt, chinos, and sneakers. But the forty degree weather felt tropical compared to the 3 1/2 feet of snow and single digit temperatures I left behind in Boston. It was nice to see the busy bustle of city life and the greenery, pitches, and ponds of the park.
The things as a visitor I enjoyed the most were probably simple and overlooked by the locals, things that are so common place one wouldn’t be expected to notice. The beautiful row houses lined up on the tree lined streets, the old stone architecture making up a wall or a shed, very old sometimes rundown a bit, but with a look all their own. A little green area off the back or a courtyard filled with plants all made for an interesting walk about.
And no article about The Ballsbridge section of Dublin would be complete without mentioning my home away from home The Embassy Grille. I used the Embassy as my home office when at the shows, provided both workspace and lunch, and the waitresses were always cheerful. I think they catered to the American embassy around the corner, but were really a chip and take away shop, and a comfortable one at that. They did there best impersonation of a burger and was the place that first served me my infamous chicken salad. But for a quick lunch of fried fish and chips, or chicken and chips, or just a side of curry chips, it was a nice place to be.