The Dark Pool

Last week we had the phenomenal opportunity to take a free guided bus tour of Dublin City Centre. The one time I actually checked the email on my phone and boom…there it was….four free spots on The Craic (pronounced crack) guided bus tour. The email had been received just four minutes prior, so I quickly responded. I was the first one to respond, which is quite impressive given my late is on time attitude. Just 48 hours later J and I found ourselves aboard a luxurious, Mercedes tour van. Stephen, our tour guide, is a fantastic Dubliner who is starting his own tour guide service and wants the opinions of Americans and Europeans and so therefore the free bus tour. Did I mention said tour includes a free tasting/tour at Jameson????? Hooray! All aboard the Craic Tour!!!! Stephen has dubbed his tour company The Craic Tour after the Irish word for mischievous fun, Craic. We loved his witty banter and fun, lighthearted approach to Dublin history. While I’m hoping to tour the inside when relatives visit, this tour gave us a chance to walk around the grounds of St Patrick’s cathedral and a snap a few photos.dublin-1 We learned of the Viking occupation of Ireland and the Norse meaning of Dublin is dark pool. Hmmmmmm I guess even the Vikings were unimpressed with the weather 😦 Stephen showed us the oldest pub as well as a fantastic place for authentic fish n’ chips. The fish n’ chips place had a line out the door and Stephen pulled up shouting out the megaphone for an order of twenty three fish n chips to go. He had the entire restaurant cracking up. The next stop was the magnificent Phoenix Park, which is two and a half times the size of Central Park. We stopped to see the giant cross memorial which was built for Pope John Paul II to give mass to the Irish in the 1990’s. We may have interrupted a couple getting engaged, but no worries, Stephen promptly called the guy out and made everyone, including said couple roar with laughter. We learned about the bridges crossing the Liffey River and Molly Mallone, the tart with a cart. We arrived at the Old Jameson Distillery just in time for our tasting.dublin-5 The tour started in a small auditorium with a brief movie about John Jameson and his triple distilled whiskey. The tour guide asked who wanted to volunteer for a whiskey tasting at the end of the tour and luckily for J, I raised his hand for him. What do you know…..he was in the front row and was handed the first Jameson tasting baton. Jameson whiskey is triple distilled which supposedly makes it smoother; I would say Jameson tastes slightly less poisonous than say Jack Daniels. Apparently, American whiskey is typically only distilled once which is SO American….git’er done!  I couldn’t help but thinking if the triple distillation method works so well, then why doesn’t everyone do it? Ahhhhh the taste testing table…..the contenders are 1) Johnny Walker Black 2) Jameson 3) Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey I was reminded of a similar whiskey taste test that was held in our own home between Bushmills and Jameson. Both of us, blinded to which whiskey we were tasting ,had decided we liked Bushmills better. So let’s see how Mr. Jameson does. J says it wasn’t even really a contest…..Jameson won with flying colors followed by Jack Daniels and then booo for Johnny Walker Black Label. dublin-2  The Jameson tour was a lot of fun and was much different from the other Dublin tours which include a tour of the Guinness store house. Things I didn’t know prior to this tour….pretty much anything about whiskey, but I did find it interesting that Jameson is aged in barrels previously used to age sherry, port wine, as well as bourbon made in the States. It seems that while Jack & Jim are a few good men, they may need to slow it down a bit and make a smoother tasting whiskey. Last but not least on The Craic tour is the famous Windmill Lanedublin-6 where U2’s original recording studios were housed. Our group, twenty three deep, unloaded from the tour bus with small spray cans in our clutches. We got the opportunity to spray paint on the the U2 shrine and see all of the graffiti art. I spray painted, of course, both of the kids names on the wall. I must say that true graffiti art is rather impressive….and if you don’t think so, go pick up a can of spray paint and write your name. Yeah it looks like complete garbage, right? Suddenly, that mural appears more like a work of art now than just street graffiti, doesn’t it? Our delightful tour has come to end. Stephen says whiskey was called aqua vitae (Latin) or uisge beatha (Gaelic) which means “water of life”. I find this astonishing and am wondering why something that started as a poisonous grain that fermented into an even more lethal tasting beverage has become so popular. How about it Paleo bandwagoners…..this stuff is essentially a double poison, right? I am also wondering how the Vikings coming from such a cold, yucky Viking land could have ever named this wonderful place a dark pool? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! I for one am loving the dark pool and finding it to be a wonderful city full of things to delight the senses as well a place of intriguing history, to boot. Thanks to Stephen and cheers to a successful launch of The Craic Tour. If you are visiting Dublin make sure to check out Stephen’s website. Cheers, H. *All photos were taken on our tour by J Flanagan There are more photos from the tour and around Dublin here  


One thought on “The Dark Pool

  1. Jim is Bourbon and is a different process and has different barreling requirements to be called that and not whiskey

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