A Chicken Burger, Some Fries, A Real Guinness And An Irish Pub
DUBLIN, IRELAND (Friday, Aug. 29) -- The first thing you notice is how small the room is.
Although probably untrue, it seems that nearly every bar in Dublin is as skinny as a closet. it's almost as if they had been built by mistake but couldn't be renovated or taken down.
The front of each establishment features a different color or display to help distinguish it from the next.
The interiors are decorated from floor to ceiling with paintings and photos and on occasion the suspiciously un-Irish sounds of Drake and other American Top 40 songs can be heard floating through the air.
The second thing you notice is how smooth the Guinness is. The black coffee taste you get in the states is a rich cream and milk flavor with plenty of personality. it takes a while for the bartender to pour a pint of Guinness as the parts of the beer separate. There is no American pour and drink in this bar. It's an art to pour the beer and a privilege to drink it so close to its birthplace just a few minutes drive into south Dublin. During a tour of Croke Park earlier in the day the tour guide said in all seriousness that the farther away one gets from Ireland the worse the Guinness will taste.
And I believe him.
The overall experience though isn't really that removed from going to a bar in the United States aside from the fact that when you give an Irish bouncer your Pennsylvania ID he simply looks at it and shrugs as he opens the door. The servers are nice. On Thursday, Casey was especially friendly with a group of beat writers from Pennsylvania.
"I'm not going to the game this weekend," she said, suddenly getting excited, "Oh I used the right word (game) instead of match!"
Casey, like many of the Dublin natives, is aware of Penn State's meeting with UCF but less excited than intrigued. Most are far more interested in the Gaelic Football semi-final the day after Penn State's football game. They're not upset that there are Americans in town as much as they're simply more interested in something else.
"Why are they playing here?" Casey asked, unknowingly asking a question Penn State's new coaching staff likely had after taking the job and finding out about the event. "There have been lots of Americans here this week though but we see all types so it's okay."
After chowing down on a chicken and bacon burger and some fries, it was time to retreat back to the hotel. Pubs in Dublin nearly all close at midnight due to the lack of traffic on the average evening. And with another long day ahead that was quite fine for this particular group of American scribes.
"Have fun this weekend," Casey said as we left. By the time any of us heard her parting comment and turned around to reply, the bar had already become just a sliver in the wall of pubs, shops, and apartments.
But that burger stuck around for a while.
Keep track of Ben Jones as he navigates Dublin by reading his Penn State Football/Ireland Travel Blog.