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This week Julia and I made the trip to the Aviva Stadium to watch Ulster play Leinster in the Champions Cup Quarter Final.  This was the first time Ulster Rugby had reached this stage of the competition in 5 years.  So, we got the kids looked after and headed for Dublin.  I used to spend a fair bit of time in Dublin back in the day but I don’t get as often now so I always enjoy it when I get the chance.  Its only 100 miles down the road but the city is constantly changing with new bars and restaurants opening regularly so there is always somewhere new to go.  

Our day began on the 8am train from Belfast meaning we arrived in the fair city at just after 10am with the whole day ahead of us.   Grafton street was our first stop with Julia going for a browse in Brown Thomas to eye up the arm candy (handbags) and heels whilst I enjoyed a lonely pint chatting to the bar staff and reading the paper in Davy Byrnes , just around the corner from the shop of big labels and even bigger prices. It wasn’t long before many Ulster fans began to arrive and I bumped into a few familiar faces.  

A Dublin Institution.

Next up we took a short dander to ‘The Ivy’, which is one of Dublin’s newest venues. It was packed out with people enjoying lunch.  Julia enjoyed an espresso martini and I had a G&T in the fab surroundings.  The service and décor was first class and I can totally see why people rave about this place.  I’ll be sure to book a table for something to eat next time we are in town. It really is a small place as we bumped into an old friend who was enjoying the afternoon with friends on a hen do, that was not a hen do.  I didn’t understand that either, apart from the fact that she is getting married and didn’t want Willy straws and pink sashes.

Next up was lunch.  We had booked Fade Street Social. It was a 10-minute walk from the Ivy and close by the Westbury hotel.  The food was tapas style and was tremendous.  In truth I probably could have ordered another small platter two. When at Connolly Street station we ran into friends we hadn’t seen in a long time and by chance they had Fade Street booked as well so we joined tables and had a great afternoon catching up and having plenty of laughs.

Fade Street Social

The biggest revelation of the weekend came from our friends who stopped by the pharmacy in Conolly Street to pick up a product called ‘lifeline’.  “Take two with your first Guinness Pete to prevent a hangover”  (the tablets contain charcoal and vitamins so I downed them with my first drink and didn’t fear the next day consequences).  At this stage I will always say, please drink responsibly and although it certainly wasn’t a crazy day my Sunday was pain free. NO hangovers here.  I did learn was that the product is not available in the north.  For what reason, I don’t know.  Anyhow, I should have bought a box.  I’ll know for next time.

Does what it says…….

So all in all, it was a great day of food, drink, great chat and a brilliant rugby match. The only downside was that Ulster despite giving arguably their best performance of the season didn’t get the result.  Their display certainly gives Ulster fans hope for the future and proves the club is growing in the right direction.

Day out at the Aviva

Dublin was great for a day out, the bars and restaurants were super but Julia believes the shopping in Belfast is just as good. In years gone by, she would have been more impressed by the variety in Dublin but nowadays Belfast has certainly caught up.

The train home was an absolute scream, the craic and banter was super.  I think translink missed a trick, they could have charged for it lols.

The next day was Mothers day and we kept it local at one of my favourites, ‘The Ava’ in Bangor.  They had mothers day sorted with a brilliant menu, price and a live singer entertaining everyone.  Liverpool got a result against Spurs albeit it was a nervous watch.  So the Mums and I were happy.  

Mothers Day at the Ava

Thanks for reading.



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