Except, I do like my job. I’m just not going to go back for awhile.
I’ve been really lucky to work at a place that wants employees to be well-rounded people. Between reasonable work goals and unlimited vacation time (still got to get the work done), I’ve been able to be do good work without overworking.
But, there’s more to life than regular vacations. They offer some great paternity leave options and every five years, a three-month sabbatical to really unplug and recharge.
I’ve been at Automattic for nearly six years now, so time to take some time. I’m about to log out and I think I’m not going to go back to work. Well, not until September at least.
You can still have fun while being corporate and while doing legal processes. One thing that brings me joy at work is to hear of the names we come up for entities.
There’s Automattic, of course, named after Matt. We have a few subsidiaries in other countries to help streamline employment matters for Automatticians in those countries. Aut O’Mattic in Ireland, Automattoque in Canada, Ministry of Automattic in the UK, Ausomattic in Australia, and so on.
There are a couple more I really enjoy: Knock Knock Whois There, LLC and Knock Knock Whois Not There, LLC.
Knock Knock Whois There is the .blog registry, the company that “owns” the rights to .blog. KKWT will coordinate with domain registrars who will actually sell the domain names to regular folks like you and me.
The second, Knock Knock Whois Not There, LLC is our private registration provider, a company that will proxy for you when registering for a domain name so you can keep your personal information private.
For the less-techy, “whois” is an old computing term for looking up, literally, who is the person behind the user name or domains name.
Our team names are, of course, pretty random and full of backstories, but those are internal names How many people know or care that I was on the “Aurora” team? Or that our sister team that we coordinate with is “Zen”. Or that an interteam squad between the two exists called “Dash” representing the dash from A-Z? Oh, you care? You’re probably the only one. 😝 I’m now the lead of the Earth team, which is one of four “elemental” teams that work together (Earth, Air, Fire, Water).
I really appreciate that we can have fun with external, official legal names. So, often, these things are the realm of groups of people trying to either sound so bland that no one will notice, or full of random buzz words, or something else boring.
I walked, I ate, and yes, I drank while in Dublin.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Guinness is the name of the game in Dublin. The drink of the Republic is everywhere. We visited the Guinness Brewery Storehouse.
When deciding where to go in Dublin, I really wanted to see the famous St. James Gate Brewery. And I did.
That’s the sum of the view of the brewery from the Storehouse, the public half-amusement park, half-immersive-ad experience. I’ve never been to a macrobrewery and the scale they must operate in blows my mind, but it makes sense that for all of the people that visit, they can’t really provide any meaningful access that wouldn’t impact production.
This is a Guinness Disneyland. Fully-immersive exhibits with every sight, sound, and smell perfectly crafted to fill your mind with nothing else beyond how incredibly specific and particular they are to make Guinness the best beer on the planet.
The original lease from the city to Arthur Guinness
They have an exhibit where you smell vapors of the different elements of beer, followed by a tasting session.
Two things made me laugh while at the Storehouse. First, the coffee shop. Second, I could order a Budweiser.
The Storehouse is one of the taller buildings in that part of Dublin—huge—on one floor, they had a workshop on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. I must confess that I enjoyed it quite a bit.
A Guinness takes about a minute to settle.
It’s quite beautiful watching the pints slowly settle.
My group’s line of pints.
My perfect pint of Guiness
Of course, there’s plenty of drink there. They have a few different varieties and I ended up alone for a few minutes. I found my way to a bar inside that sold flights and eventually most of the meetup it seemed found me.
Craft beer hasn’t escaped Dublin either. Galway Bay Brewery operates eleven different bars and brewpubs, of which we visited two. Their beers were pretty delicious and ran the entire range of styles. When you visit Dublin, you must try them.
Personally, I really enjoyed The Beer Market, a block down from Christchurch, that had good pub grub, Galway Bay Beers, and a fine selection of other beers too.
The Porterhouse, another brewery that also owns a few bars—is the only real way craft breweries found success in Dublin is by owner the establishments that serve?—had a great lineup and was another fun place to try beers.
While Dublin is a Guinness town, the brews from Galway Bay, The Porterhouse, and others available in Dublin were quite tasty.
Of course, there is more to Irish alcohol than beer. I’m not a whiskey drinker, but visited the Irish Whiskey Museum. It’s independent—not affiliated with any distillery—and presented a great historical tour of Irish whiskey, a fine selection during tasting, and we added on a very fun whiskey mixing class.
I fell in love with Dublin, even if only there for nine days, between the people, the culture, the sights, the walkability, the drinks, the churches. I look forward to creating a reason to go back.
Ireland is known as the motherland for a very sizable of the Catholic migration to America. The Catholic Church in Ireland is going through a time of transition, and rightfully so. Between actual abuses and difficulty remaining relevant in the day-to-day lives of the Irish, Catholicism is often only a cultural practice, not including a truly religious one. There are valid discussions happening on the Emerald Isle regarding the role of the church and public education.
That said, it is still a Catholic country and there is a special grace in being able to discover some sliver of the spirit of a place so rich. First, the churches are beautiful. Within the center of the city, at least, there are churches just about everywhere which would be amazing cathedrals by American standards. They were, generally, open most of the time, which does not happen that much stateside anymore.
While I did plenty of walking in Dublin, Ireland 🇮🇪, I also ate and drank plenty. The city, as any urban hub does, had a variety of options, including more than a couple Tex-Mex/Mexican restaurants. I could not bring myself to try any Tex-Mex from Ireland though.
On Sunday morning, I was alone, just finished attending Mass, and in need of coffee. I found a lovely little coffee shop on Lord Edward Street called Bittersweet (all Flash site 😞, their Foursquare page). The baristas were nice, the space was cozy but still enough space to work. It is right on the main drag and opened at 7 am. On the weekend, I realized that many of the coffee places opened later and Bittersweet saved my day. My only complaint is the sandwiches take an unexpectedly long time to make.
Plenty of power
For coffee and baked goods, there were some places close to us, in addition to Bittersweet, that were nice. The Queen of Tarts had a beautiful selection of baked goods. They were also pretty popular, so plan accordingly. A block away from our apartments, Caffé Comino was my day-to-day go to for a flat white on my morning walk.
Queen of Tarts
Treats at Caffé Comino
We visited this fantastic Japanese restaurant, Yamamori Izakaya, which had an expansive menu, great service, and wonderful food.
We visited a few others places, including a lovely vegetarian place, Cornucopia.
In Ireland, though, you don’t think of coffee shops or sushi. You think of Irish food and Irish pubs. We tried plenty of them, including Brazen Head, which claims to the oldest pub in Ireland from 1198 and hosts a lovely story telling session, an Evening of Food, Folklore, and Fairies.
Arthur’s Pub, across from St. Catherine’s on the way to Guinness from the city centre, is a nice pub playing Irish music, lacking TVs, with both traditional Irish favorites and even a salad or two—had to offset the rest of the food and beer from the week.
For breakfast one morning, we had a “Full Irish Breakfast” at O’Neill’s Pub, across from the Molly Malone statue. For O’Neill’s, the full breakfast included pork sausages, bacon, black and white pudding, grilled tomato, baked beans, mushrooms, fried egg, toast and jam, coffee, and a Dublin potato cake.
We had a nice dinner of boxty pancakes at the aptly named Boxty House. Jet lag hit me hard this night, so I barely made it through dinner without falling asleep and skipped out early to call it a night.
Last week, I was in Dublin, Ireland 🇮🇪 for a meetup with the teams that support a variety of our plugins and services for self-hosted WordPress sites, like Jetpack, Akismet, VaultPress, Sensei, Gravatar, etc etc.
Usually, on meetups, I wake up extremely early, since I do at home, geek out doing random PRs or whatever, then join the rest of the crowd at a reasonable starting time. At home, I’ve started a regular routine of hitting the gym for an hour at 6:00 a.m. 🕕 and I didn’t want to slide backwards on losing weight between no gym 🏋, increased beer🍺 and food 🍟 consumption.
This time, I still woke up early, but kept the laptop in my bag. I packed up everything to trick myself into thinking I was going to go work somewhere and would just take a walk. I would end up hitting my daily goal of 10,000 steps usually by 9 a.m. when we would start as a group.
Dublin is incredibly walkable. We were in a StayCity “Serviced Apartments” complex right near the city centre and could easily hit plenty of things to keep us busy on foot. Except for a day-trip to the countryside for part of the team, we didn’t use any vehicles except for airport transit.
Thanks to Google’s reporting of every second of my day, you can see my walking journeys.
Saturday, I racked up a personal record 32,000 steps per FitBit, but everything was close enough that I never felt that I was going that far. It was a really enjoyable experience.