Interaction 12: Dublin Dining

Interaction 12 was the fifth in a string of outstanding conferences put on by IxDA. I’ll be making a number of posts about the conference in the coming days, but to start off, I’d like to share some observations I made of Dublin, this year’s hosting city.

I’ve been to Scotland a couple times several years ago, but this was my first visit to Ireland. I remember well that in Scotland, when you ordered a Coke in a restaurant, it was always served with a slice of lemon at room temperature—no ice. In Ireland, Coke is also served with lemon, but it is thankfully chilled, and I was either asked if I wanted ice or was given it without asking. I also found it interesting that Coke was most often provided in tiny (8 oz?), glass bottles.

I enjoyed eating fish and chips in the Brazen Head, Dublin’s oldest pub. However, I prefer to eat both battered fish and fries with ketchup, which was nowhere to be found.

All meat was locally sourced (from Ireland), and many of the restaurants specifically stated that all meat was “traceable” in their menus. That said, I found their sausage to be nearly inedible. This confirms my experience in Scotland and on British Airways: they don’t know how to make good sausage in the UK. It’s pasty.

During my first meal, a wonderful seafood feast at Matt the Thresher, I looked up tipping expectations online. I learned that tips are expected in restaurants, but would be laughed at in pubs. I learned by experience, however, that you can’t add a tip when you sign your credit card receipt, which is standard practice in the U.S. Every establishment I visited used relatively primitive, portable card swipes, rather than having them built into registers.

It seemed most restaurants close between lunch and dinner. Unfortunately, it was impossible for visitors to know this, as hours of operation were rarely posted in shop windows. Almost nothing was open Sunday morning when I was trying to get breakfast before heading to the airport. The one restaurant that would serve me wasn’t prepared to accept my payment by credit card.