Browsing articles tagged with "The Brew Dock Archives - I Love Saturday"
Aug 28, 2013

The Marble City – Kilkenny Steam Train

Choo Choo! I was up and at ’em early on Sunday morning for my steam train adventure. Me, Dad and the Bloke were off to Kilkenny for the day. The Marble City trip was organised by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland. Dad, being a train buff, had booked us seats on the beautifully restored locomotive. We met up at Connolly Station and joined an excited crowd. Big kids and little kids!

The No. 461 was a beauty. Inside and out. Restored to her former glory in a coat of CIE green with black and red trimmings, she was very impressive. Run on coal and man power, No.461 took us a return journey of seven hours in total. Fair play to the lads! The Railway Preservation Society has been restoring steam locomotives and rolling stock since 1964 and is instrumental in Ireland’s rail heritage.

We settled into our carriage, all wood panelling, metal luggage racks, plush check upholstery and granite effect tables. Trundling up through North County Dublin, we snaked around Croke Park and were soon out onto the open track, chugging away. Our view was something else. The rolling green of Kildare, Carlow and Kilkenny. Horses, cows and sheep at pasture. A welcome break from city life.

After a pit stop in Athy to take on water, we rocked into Kilkenny Station. We hadn’t far to go, just down the hill to Billy Byrne’s, an old skool pub and guesthouse. My men didn’t need encouragement and ordered two full Irish breakfasts. I went for the veggie version. Lashings of tea all round, naturellement. Billy Byrne’s serves breakfast all day, as well as a lunch menu. I was told about the Bula Bus out back, so out I went.

Very funky and with a great ever-changing menu to boot, the Bula Bus cranks up in the evenings and puts on a good party, including movie nights and hangover Sundays. Gotta get me in there! We finished our meal with lovely homemade apple tart and cream and a nice stroll through Kilkenny. There was hen party chicks everywhere. It might explain Kilkenny’s glut of quirky girl shops? Not to mention bars! Last time I was here was for a girlfriend’s send off, actually…

Back on board for the return leg, we soon found ourselves parked at the bar in the buffet car. Great craic altogether with trad musicians on the go and a gang of old boys bantering on high. The Guinness was the best I’ve tasted in years. No kidding! Supping, laughing and watching the world whizz by, resting my pint on the window rail in between. Bliss. Train journeys were something to savour in days gone by.

The No.461 had been all over the country in her time and it was a joy to experience such a train in action. Watching the thick black smoke billowing. The sound of the steam chimney whistling. Men with sooty faces shovelling away. Magic. Tired but happy we were transported back to Dublin. Into the Brew Dock for a settler. The Railway Preservation Society runs regular jaunts all over Ireland. Book one!

www.steamtrainsireland.com /Billy Byrne’s, 39 John Street Lower, Kilkenny / www.billybyrnes.com

Aug 27, 2013

The Brew Dock – Frothy Beverages

Now, I wouldn’t normally be one for hitting the pub by lunchtime. But the Brew Dock is no ordinary pub. Right on the corner of Amiens Street opposite Busaras, it’s the best gastropub in the area. Did I mention lunch? The Brew Dock has a delicious menu, the sort of hearty food that compliments a frothy beverage. Their daily lunch special is top value at 8 euro for a hot sandwich, soup and chunky chips.

The Bloke tucked into just that. Saturday’s offering was a bacon & egg bap teamed with tomato and sweet potato soup. I helped him with the chips… I enjoyed a quesadilla filled with beans, cheese and jalapeno peppers all mushed up. With tomato salsa and sour cream lashed on top. And a bit of salad. My kinda food. Yum! All washed down with a cool iced coffee made with love, chocolate and ice cream.

I know what you’re thinking. What about the beer? Indeed. The Brew Dock is from the same stable as Against the Grain and The Black Sheep and has more sisters in Galway. Craft beer is the name of the game. The many taps include several sups from the Galway Bay Brewery, Trouble Brewing, Punk IPA and Galway Hooker. Guest beers do the rounds at the bar and there’s a Willy Wonka choice of bottles.

We settled in with pints of Galway Bay Brewery Buried at Sea Chocolate Milk Stout and Trouble Brewing Dark Arts Porter. Both satisfying jars. You won’t find any of your common or garden commercial beers at the Brew Dock, but once you’ve tasted what they’ve got… It’s like switching from white bread to lovely homemade brown. We moved onto bottles of Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout next.

Our man Alan is the go-to-guy at the Brew Dock. A craft expert, Alan talked us through the ales, tipping tasters into us as he explained heritage, ingredients and brewing techniques. It’s tough work, this beer lark! If you’re not one for the cask, this place has plenty more to offer. There’s a damn fine whiskey collection behind the bar, including some real rare ‘uns. As rare as we were upon home time…

The Brew Dock, 1 Amiens Street, Dublin 1 / www.facebook.com/thebrewdock