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Updated: Feb 1, 2022

There are three cafés in Frederick Street South. Approximately five minutes from Trinity College, four minutes from my bus stop and thirty seconds from the Eason around the corner. I have ticked two out of three cafes off my list. I’m yet to visit the third. The list in question is a compilation of cafés, restaurants and scènes titled ‘destination anywhere’ that I store on my phone. These places are both domestic (Leinster) and foreign (outside of Leinster). The reason I have not visited the third cafe of Frederick Street South is because it boasts a selection of salads and baked goods that reminds me a little too much of a café all the way back home (two hours away). I have an unhinged fear and even a sense of terror that this café may be nicer than the Wexford counterpart. Leading me to be reminded each time I eat there; longing to hop on a Wexford bus and queue for that same salad just a small percentage nicer. For the moment I believe that this café’s ambience is just as enjoyable from a voyeur’s point of view, as I watch from the adjacent competition’s window at the diners. Grey haired men reading Dostoyevsky’s lesser known work and students smoking Amber Leaf. They insist that roll-your-own is healthier than cigarettes, but place more tobacco in the skins than has ever been seen within a Silk Cut Purple. Their coffees get cold between their antics. Only for them to perform the recital that only the world’s greatest actors can master. The act of pretending the cup of coffee is not perishing cold, and if someone even mentions it they insist that they “prefer it that way”. I always expects big city coffee to taste better. More refined, more delicate with their ingredients, more pretentious with their coffee types. Here I have had some of the worst coffee I’ve ever come across. Overly milky, or not milky enough. In the trendy cafés the coffees are much nicer, but there’s a sharp aftertaste the very same as a drink from a push button machine. Maybe it’s the water.

The waiters serve the food before the customers sit down, let alone decide which table they’re sitting at. This was my first culture shock. There’s no waiting around. Still, I’m not blown away by urban food or drink. Maybe I just haven’t been yet. I’m still star struck each time I meet actors from Irish soap operas or members of the public who have taken part in dating shows on RTÉ. I wonder will I still romanticise the buildings years on. Mind you, not everything is nicer. When the people of Dublin visit Wexford they never seem to be bothered by the rain. That is, for folks stuck in aluminium boxes all day. The rain just seems much better far away from home. I’ve always wondered. Would they not run out of activities to keep them busy? Now I know why. Dublin is not half the place it could be when it rains. The rain is enough to put anyone in a bad mood. To cancel their plans, to force them inside, to make them feel alone when surrounded by a group of people; each talking to them, but making noises rather than saying words.

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