Just a brief write up of a recent trip I had around Northern Ireland, hopefully not mentioning politics (past or current) and with no pictures of The Dark Hedges, Giant’s Causeway, boats, mountains, flags, sectarian gift shops and murals.
Larne is an odd place, eerily quiet on the Saturday night when I visited but the first thing I saw on the high street set the tone for beer (kind of) for the rest of the trip.
If you are ever in Larne, eat at Carriages, they feed you well, the feed you very, very well.
The wondrous thing about many of the bars, pubs and restaurants I went into across the nation was that as well as the usual macro beers that everyone knows and loves the representation from local breweries was very well represented.
To dine (as opposed to takeaway) in Portrush is to seemingly have a choice between 6 restaurants all owned by the same company but the food was great as were the choices of beers but this place came alive when I found a place called Kiwi’s.
All towns (big or small) in Northern Ireland seem to work on some daft one way, pedestrianised system which directs cars on the longest route possible to find the smallest amount of car park spaces, not good if you are there for a few hours, makes sense if you are staying overnight.
Lacada brewery is the community brewery based in Portrush (community brewing seems to be big across all of NI) and to their credit, and that of many of the other businesses in Portrush, their beers were to be found in most outlets. Kiwis itself has a wide selection of beers micro and macro plus the obligatory gin selection too.
People here can not drive and that is all I have to say, they also don’t like working late either so just stay in Portrush.
For my sins I only passed through Derry, on the way to the north part of Southern Ireland, it looked like quite a nice place to stop off, maybe next time.
The Stoke of Northern Ireland, a place simultaneously bustling and run-down. Welcoming and hostile. Where the Tesco sells a fine mix of many local breweries.
3.7% – who knew?
Mourne Mountains / Warrenpoint
Visit the Silent Valley – take insect repellent and a few beers.
Comber / Newtownards
Again many nice pubs and restaurants, quite a few carrying local beers from Bullhouse and Farmageddon. Lots of ancient ruins and scary locals off the beaten tracks so lock your doors when you drive around Ballydrain.
Driving into Belfast I could smell beer being brewed. It is the exact smell you get as you drive into Cheetham Hill (Holt’s) or back down the Irk Valley (Blackjack & Runaway). Sometimes I even mistake it for the smell of cooked liver.
Lovely pub. And the only cask pint I found (Hilden Brewery, take a bow and the pub, it was a great pint).
Obviously a capital city has many pubs to choose from and also a wide choice of beers. Apart from The Sunflower I was very taken by the John Hewitt and of course, The Crown
I’d take pictures of the inside but I’m more interested in the drinking, quite ethereal in here.
Bass (keg) was prevalent in many of the places I visited. There seems to be some tie in to Tennents, possibly when both were on by InBev.
So there you have it. Northern Ireland; a place of fine natural scenery, good hostelries, many, many flags, red triangles, big red T’s, fake retro Guinness pumps, potatoes, so many potatoes and me trying not to sing out loud lyrics to Stiff Little Fingers songs.
One final thing…
Public signs for dog fouling seem to all have to display the actual mess, either falling out or a steaming pile of it next to the cartoon dog…it is the small things in life…
Thanks for reading.