Seated in the aircraft cabin and waiting for takeoff I noticed the Ryanair jet had no seats numbered 13. The rows skipped directly from 12 to 14. Our flight attendant was a very attractive, dark-haired Latin woman called Manuela whose sultry voice was a pleasure to listen to over the PA system.
From the airport in Dublin we sat on the upper deck of the No. 747 bus and took a ride into town. Disruptive and unsightly street improvement works were in full swing along O'Connell Street, a major renovation project that apparently will result in new paving and wider footpaths, rows of trees, and a new central median, all with better street lighting.
After checking into our hotel we went for a walk around the town and I bought a neat little city guidebook from the visitor information shop. I was getting hungry so I had a coffee on Abbey Street and we looked through my book while I waited for a Govinda's across the road to open for an early lunch. Lasagne with broccoli and a Greek salad made me feel better then we walked along the River Liffey to visit the Guinness Storehouse.
The Storehouse experience is basically a giant marketing exercise for the brand, but it's also very informative and I enjoyed it. I liked the section devoted to the old Guinness promotional characters and cartoons, the work of the highly talented artist John Gilroy, although this part of the otherwise busy Storehouse was deserted except for V. and me. A favourite postcard of mine, drawn by Gilroy, shows the "Guinness for Strength" man carrying a girder. Guinness is a stout, a dark ale so-called because it is a stronger and darker (ie. stout) version of porter, also a variety of ale. It is actually dark red in colour, and was first brewed in 1759 by the revered Arthur Guinness.
At our hotel restaurant that evening, naturally I ordered a pint of Guinness; but in a town most proud of its native tipple, and with a proliferation of Guinness pint glasses in the local shops, why was I served my drink in a Bulmer Cider glass on a Budweiser coaster?