I like a nice breakfast; I just rarely have one. If I manage to down a decent coffee or two before noon I consider my morning to have been moderately less than miserable. When I’m back in my other home – just outside of Atlanta, Georgia – we will, on the odd weekend morning, stop at our local cheap and cheerful Waffle House, a southern U.S. institution. In the unlikely event you find yourself at one of their grills, add a double order of hash browns to whatever you’re having and ask for them scattered, smothered and covered. Unlike my American wife, whose taste runs to pecan waffles drowning in syrup and butter, I would forever forego anything Waffle House has to offer for a genuine Irish breakfast. And the “Real Corker” (their words) at Nash 19 on Princes Street is as good as it gets.
Technically the address for Forde’s may be Barrack Street – and it does indeed have a door that opens onto the bottom of that street, below the Flying Enterprise – but in truth the pub’s long facade sits squarely on Sullivan’s Quay, looking out onto the Lee with the South Gate bridge just to the left. If you asked me to choose between my usual stops – Forde’s and An Spailpín – I couldn’t. And wouldn’t. I’m fond of both but frequent them for very different reasons.
I wandered in to An Spailpín on my way home late one Tuesday just before Easter for a quiet pint of Murphy’s, and, truth be told, for the comfort of the fireplace in the snug beside the bar after what could most economically be described as a bad day. I was immediately wrapped in the tender embrace of multiple guitars playing Neil Young’s heavenly Unknown Legend (from Harvest Moon), with a majestic male chorus carrying the ethereal beauty of Neil’s lyrics with ease:
She used to work in a diner
Never saw a woman look finer
I used to order just to watch
her float across the floor