Friday, February 09, 2007

The Very Rough Guide to the Croke Park Area

Travelling to the northside for the first time? Worried about the trip? Fear not - TSA brings you all you need to know about navigating one of the world's last great wildernesses. Follow our cut-out-and-keep guide to the Croke Park area and who knows, you might even even enjoy yourself!

Getting There and Away
Avoid using the specially laid on buses provided by some of the more avaricious southside pubs: these will only make you stand out and arouse unwanted attention from locals. Instead, take the number 10 bus. Though passing Kiely's and making its way through such fine avenues as Waterloo Road and Morehampton Road, this incredible route eventually winds up traversing the rubble-strewn inner-north-city. The closest thing in this country to the Orient Express.

Handy Hint! If taking the DART, do not walk from Connolly Station to Croke Park without an armed guide!

Getting Around
Once north, the more adventurous traveller might wish to access the ground from the more 'authentic' Summerhill/Ballybough quarter. Sample the local culture by 'putting a bet on' in one of the many 'bookies' in the area, or taste the delights of a single fish or batter burger in a typical 'chipper'. Take care not to carry valuables (shoes, trousers etc.)

Those with young families or travelling with the infirm might wish to reach the Clonliffe Road from Drumcondra, an area which was civilised several years ago, now even boasting a number of estate agents.

Handy hint! Listen out for a Munster accent: rugby fans from the south-west have a long history of missionary work in this area, and may be able to help with directions, or in a fight.

Dining: With the proliferation of the aforementioned 'chippers', those seeking some semblance of basic gourmet fare would be well served packing a lunch. However, this needn't be a source of embarassment. A traditional repast in these parts is the Ham Sandwich Eaten While Sitting on the Bonnet of the Car: a little imagination can transform it into Serrano on Ciabatta Taken While Locked in the SUV.

Handy hint! Eschew the omnipresent Centra roll for the hearty delights of Paul's Delicatessen on Dorset St., an outpost of fresh food amidst the tyranny of the snack-box.

Bars: Again, the intrepid explorer can steel his nerve and delve into the Dorset St. fleshpots like the Big Tree, the Findlater, McGrath's and, for only the most fearless, Quinn's. The latter is believed to be the site of the original Barbarian settlement here several thousand years ago. It remains a sacred place for northsiders: they believe that the spirit of Ant-Oh, the god said to have created the tracksuit, resides therein.

For the less adventurous, Fagan's in Drumcondra will provide some of the comforts of home. In a strange quirk of the political system, an Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, frequents this famous watering hole.

In actual fact, rather than popping in regularly as a token reinforcement of his man-of-the-people image, Bertie actually hangs out here all the time, rather like Norm from Cheers. In fact he often takes part in the pub's efforts to put one over on nearby Enda's Olde Tyme Tavern, leading to hilarious practical jokes and misunderstandings.

HANDY HINT! If visiting a northside pub's toilet facilities, you may be cornered by a foul-smelling inebriate, ranting incomprehensibly. To extricate yourself from this situation simply recite the following words, very loudly: The ould triangle went jingle-jangle, all along the banks of the Royal Canal. You will be allowed on your way with the heartiest approbation.

Things to do: Well, go to the rugby match, obviously. Unlike Lansdowne Road, picturesque and charmingly appointed, the local Croke Park stadium is something of a soulless montrosity. Boasting endless perfect sightlines, spacious and comfortable seating facilities and a terrace unlikely to collapse at any moment, the stadium will seem at first rather strange.

Locals are inordinately proud of the arena, however, so complement them profusely. Don't worry about seeming patronising: they secretly long for the Victorian poise of the West Stand at Lansdowne.

HANDY HINT! If you become the subject of physical aggression from a native, grab a nearby Frenchman and suggest that he is 'over here taking our jobs'. The ire towards you will soon be directed towards the Gallic usurper.

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Anonymous Cahony said...

Great post! I hope everyone survives the journey intact and with a greater understanding of each other's side of the city ;)

"grab a nearby Frenchman and suggest that he is 'over here taking our jobs'." - reminded me of South Park and the 'Dey Tuk Or Jawbs!' episode

12:38 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

alas, Paul's is no more....

2:19 a.m.  
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