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Walking the streets of Dublin

Last full day in Ireland. What to do? Well, it’s a gorgeous sunny day so the thing to do is just walk. Anywhere and everywhere. Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Temple Bar, Molly Malone, Harp Bridge…. And on and on. For blocks we walked. ‘till we’d near walked the entire city. And gawd wasn’t she lovely?








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Roof Top Bar, The Marker, Dublin

Scarlett Johansson look-alike on the Rooftop Bar at The Marker Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Lansing.

So. Ireland. Where I’ve listened to Dean Martin play “Danny Boy” on the church organ at St. Columb’s Cathedral in Derry, had a garden lunch with Joan Crawford at Glenveagh Castle, dined with a relative of Winston Churchill in Monaghan, and stayed in a chic hotel room directly across the street from The Edge’s penthouse. How do you top all that? By having champagne with Scarlett Johansson, of course.

Here’s the story: Yesterday, before going out to dinner, we went up to the Roof Bar at The Marks Hotel to have  sunset cocktails, get a good look at the city, watch the cool people, etc. So we take the elevator up there and when we arrive, who should approach us with a tray of just-poured Veuve Clicquot but Scarlett!

Okay, it wasn’t really Scarlett Johansson. But she looked so remarkably like her that I actually gasped. And then I asked her if she’d mind if I took her picture.

“You want a photo of me?”

“Yes, please. If you wouldn’t mind.”

A Scarlett-like smile crept across her face. “But why?”

“Because you look just like Scarlett Johansson. I’m sure you’ve heard that before.”

She blushed. “Never.”


“No, sir.” Slight pause and another wicked smile. “But I can’t say as I mind.”

And so I took her picture.

Now you tell me: Put a little red lipstick on this Irish lass and give her some fancy turquoise earrings and do you not think even Sean Penn would do a double take?

The real Scarlett Johansson. Looks like the champagne server, no?

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Cronuts at The Marker Hotel

A box of cronuts from The Marker Hotel in Dublin. Every Monday the chef introduces two new flavors. I suggest never eating them; they’re too addicting.

It started May 10th when pastry chef Dominique Ansel introduced a Frankenstein pastry he perfectly named a “cronut” in his New York bakery, Ansel’s SoHo. It took only a day or so before people were lining up at 5am to make sure that, for $5 each, they could get a cronut before they sold out. Then the scalpers appeared, re-selling cronuts for $30 each. Then $40. Soon a third-party delivery service promised to deliver a cronut to your home or office for $100—each.

So what is a cronut? According to Ansel’s bakery web site, it’s “a half croissant, half doughnut.” But it’s more complicated than that. Ansel says the creation took more than 2 months and “is not to be mistaken as simply croissant dough that has been fried.” In fact, he says, the “entire process takes up to 3 days.”

Oh, my.

So why am I mentioning cronuts? Because they have come to Dublin. To The Marker Hotel, where I am staying. A little over a week ago, executive chef Gareth Mullins began making and selling cronuts. And people here are just as crazy about them. So much so that the hotel has had to limit distribution.

“I would advise people to get in early as when they are gone, they are gone!”

Mullins sells boxes of cronuts (4 to a box) for 10 Euros or about $13. A bargain over the New York version.

And are they worth that much?

Oh. My. God.

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Back to Dublin

The Marker Hotel, Dublin

The spectacular geometric design at the new Marker Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Lansing.

The circle is complete. We’re back in Dublin where we began. Only now the sun is out. Thank god. Has there ever been a wetter, colder summer in Ireland? All the papers talk about how far behind the farmers are. “The strawberry crop is at least three weeks behind.” I shouldn’t think there will be any Irish tomatoes this year. Not unless you grow them in a hot house. Just not enough season left.

And after all the ancient castles and country homes we’ve stayed in on this trip, we end up in Dublin in one of the newest, sleekest, chic hotels I’ve ever stayed in: The Dublin Marker in Grand Canal Square which just opened a few months ago. Bonus feature: Our bedroom window looks across the street at the penthouse of U2s The Edge. Someone’s staying there at the moment, but it definitely doesn’t look like The Edge. Not unless The Edge has gained a hundred pounds, died his hair blonde, and is now a woman.

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The concierge at The Fitzwilliam

Tony, the concierge at The Fitzwilliam in Dublin. Photo by David Lansing.


When we arrived in Dublin arrangements had been made for a driver to pick us up at the airport. My instructions said we were to “Meet driver at Yellow Structure outside baggage claim.” The Yellow Structure being a very tall and obvious piece of abstract art. So we collected our bags, found the Yellow Structure, and waited. But our driver never showed.


This has been bothering me ever since so this morning when I came down to breakfast and saw Tony, the concierge at The Fitzwilliam, I asked him if he’d ring up the company that was supposed to collect us and find out what happened. Tony was happy to oblige.


I stood on the opposite side of Tony’s desk in the lobby as he made the phone call. This is how it went:


Tony: “This is Tony at The Fitzwilliam and we have a guest staying here, a Mr. Lansing, who was supposed to get picked up by someone from your service at the airport. He says the fella never showed.”


Long pause. Tony rolls his eyes a bit and then covers the phone with his hand.


Tony says to me, “They say the driver was there and waited for 45 minutes.”


Me: “That’s impossible. Our flight was right on time and we got our bags and stood at the Yellow Structure for 20 minutes.”


Tony relays this information to the person on the line. He listens for a few minutes and then covers the phone with his hand again. “The idgit says you never showed up. Should I tell ‘im whatfor?”


Before I can say anything, Tony is back on the phone with the idgit explaining that Mr. Lansing was most assuredly at the Yellow Structure as instructed waiting for almost an hour for a driver who, no doubt, lost track of time while enjoying a second or third Guinness at the pub and it’s a shame, really a shame, that they even license businesses such as theirs because don’t they know it gives a black eye to all of Dublin and surely he, Tony, will never recommend them to any guest staying at The Fitzwilliam. And then he hangs up.


His face red, his brow sweating, Tony smiles at me and says, “Is there anythin’ else I can do for you, Mr. Lansing?”

I think Tony and I are going to be great friends during our stay here.

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