Day 2 brings with it the sun and a blue, blue sky. A couple of cups of tea and a good shower later and we’re out amongst it, skipping down the sunlit paths, heralding the end of winter and congratulating ourselves that we survived the winter. We feel so, so fresh. Life is wonderful.
And so Friday becomes, essentially, a day of indulgence. We kick off with a coffee (2.20 euro, brilliant, Europe‘s most expensive city is actually home to good, cheap coffee) from Tammy’s local, Moda and continue to the park, along with half of Dublin who have rolled up their sleeves, proffering their pallid flesh to the sun. We lunch, with a friend from Germany who makes a cameo, at Lemon Jelly and I reignite my love affair with the classic tuna salad after a long winter of far more hearty foodstuffs. Feeling virtuous – and ignoring the number recently attributed to my weight gain … 9 – we attempt a Spring shopping blitz at Penny’s. It doesn’t go to plan and I am reminded of the correlation between age and my shortening temper. And that shopping, an act which lost its lustre for me a while back, with an extra 9 kg can be even more of a disheartening process than usual. I am depressed by the slaggy shoes sold en masse to 15 year olds with spray tanned legs, depressed by the queue to the change-room, depressed by the full-body mirrors which offer views of me winching myself into sausage skin clothing, I do not want to be privy to.
Obviously, we seek refuge in alcohol, licking our wounds with a couple of mojitos, margaritas and strawberry daiquiris at Alfies. And a bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. We watch drunken English tourists in their name-emblazoned jerseys stumble down the path. They’re here for the game tomorrow (in which England will be smashed) and one in particular, takes a nasty tumble and is helped up, tenderly, by his mates, Smiffy and Badger. We don’t know it at the time, but the tumble is an eerie premonition of what’s to come.
Next on the agenda is Johnnie Fox’s – the highest pub in Ireland – and we loiter outside our designated pick-up hotel trying to guess which mini bus we will be alighting. The guesswork ends when a novelty bus sporting a massive Johnnie Fox’s paint-job rounds the corner. We alight and begin our ascent.
Or descent. Depends on how you look at it. Already abuzz from our wound-licking-wine-and-cocktails session, we take our seat in the middle of a party of 43 Norweigan men, and order another bottle of Savignon Blanc. We are in a celebratory mood. It’s Spring, we like food and we are about to witness some good old fashioned Irish jigging. Cheers.
We tuck in to our three course meal and second bottle of wine, denouncing esteem smashing shopping trips and demanding who needs new clothes when goats cheese and mussels in garlic and white wine sauce are the alternative. We’re spun and whirled around the floor by towering Scandos who are all, oddly, wearing a variation of a checked shirt. We’re on fire. We’re high on life. We’re untouchable.
Then Tammy gets beer thrown in her face. It’s inexplicable and a cruel smackdown seeing as it happens as she is being romantically dipped on the dance floor. Shrieking that her eyeballs are burning, she is whisked off by the waiter, leaving me to seek retribution. The culprit is sitting down – hence the ease with which he beered Tammy, mid-dip. I stalk over, full of wine-laced outrage. My first beer catches him in the face. He beers my chest back. I pick up a beer and tip it onto his head. He lazily gets my chest again. The farce could have continued, had I not been beseeched to stop by an apologetic pal of the original beerer. I acquiesce, only because we weren’t getting anywhere and it was largely unsatisfying, and retreat to the bar.
Later, taking a final turn on the tiles – tiles, which, by the way, comprise a 4 foot squared thoroughfare the Norwegians turned into a dance floor – I perform my final trick for the night, a classic mid-jig fall. In my head, it’s a simple melt to the ground and an equally as elegant rise back to normal height.