Day 12 – Saturday – Dublin (back to Ariel House)

Posted: 30/06/2012 in Holiday

We were awoken at about 6:30am by the noise of the air-con unit on the roof (not something I recall having a problem with when I’d stayed before; maybe it had been replaced, or needed to be) and someone banging a door. Half an hour later, Mark was on the phone to Ariel House to see if – by some miracle – our favourite room was available. Well, they could do some juggling and it would be ours! Yes! I had a nice long soak in the huge bath. On our way out to Bewley’s for breakfast, we told Victor what had happened. He did his best to persuade us to stay, and said he’d talk to the management. But we really didn’t want to change our plans again; we were looking forward to being back in Ariel House. Bewley’s was busy, but we managed to get a booth at the back. Mark went for the full Irish. I wanted pancakes with bacon, poached eggs and maple syrup but that wasn’t on the menu. They had bagels with bacon and poached eggs, and they had pancakes with maple syrup. I asked if I could simply swap the bagels for pancakes. No problem! But then they overcharged by adding the bacon and eggs as extras to the pancake price; they put it right, though.

After we’d put our stuff in the car, we went to reception to let them know we’d be checking out. Maria, one of the managers, called us to one side to hear more about what had happened. She was very apologetic. She offered us dinner on the house; we accepted. She also said she’d recalculate our bill.

We’d planned to get up to Ariel House fairly early, but the receptionist mentioned that the Gay Pride march was on that day so roads would probably be impassable until mid-afternoon. The march was due to start at 12.30pm at the Garden of Remembrance. No rush now, so we stopped in the bar for a drink (on the house). I had an excellent Margarita. Magda made it just how I like it: very sharp! It was just after noon when we decided to spend some time in Stephen’s Green. Borrowed a hotel umbrella from Victor…just in case. Plenty of photo opportunities there: so many birds, and kids chasing pigeons (pity it wasn’t the other way round). Stopped off at the Dawson Lounge for a couple of Jamesons. This is reputed to be the smallest pub in Dublin, and I’m sure they’re right. The ceiling over the loo is so low that it’s been padded! How very considerate. We strolled up to Nassau Street to catch the march. About half of it had already passed when we got there but we still got some great shots. Mark got chatting to one of the motorcycle gardaí and told him about my dad. On the way back to the Fitz, we went to O’Carrolls in the Stephen’s Green shopping centre to buy some pressies for T and D. Also bought mugs, a bottle-opener keyring and a 3’ x 5’ Irish flag for ourselves! Once all that was safely in the car, we went back to reception to settle the bill and sort out the parking ticket. Maria had reduced our bill to 100 euros, and covered the parking charges. Given the upheaval, we felt a full refund would have been more in order. Follow the example of the Premier Inn chain: a good night’s sleep guaranteed or your money back!

We were so tired now from lack of sleep and really looking forward to a long siesta in that big bed in Ariel House. As we walked up the steps, we felt like we were coming home, and got such a warm welcome. Straight to bed. Straight to sleep.

Dinner at the Fitz

Our table had been booked for 8pm and Mark arranged a taxi for 7:45pm. I thought he took a rather long way round, but wasn’t confident enough to challenge him; maybe the one-way system meant that really was the only way to go. I might continue to doubt that! Patrick, the concierge, welcomed us, took us up to the Citron restaurant, and introduced us to the manager (whose name I don’t recall). He showed us to one of those sought-after tables by the balcony that overlooks reception, and brought the menus and wine list. Shortly after ordering, we were served a delightful amuse gueule:

The rest of the food was superb and exquisitely presented, and the wine and Guinness excellent. The service was attentive without being intrusive. We were also entertained by watching the goings-on in reception: a rather loud American practising his golf-swing! We left a big tip and went down to the bar for cocktails and some good Irish coffee, all enhanced by the banter with the bar staff. Bob was at reception when we were leaving. “Off to bed?” he asked. We didn’t have the heart to tell him were staying somewhere else. The taxi back took half the time and cost half the price. Perhaps the one-way system was in our favour this time. Oh it was so good to be back in room 255. So peaceful, even with the window open.

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