Brunswick Hotel, Victoria Tavern, Glentoran v Dundee United, Bushmills and The Charlatans

My second time in Hobart was three months after my first time. And I’ll be back again next week to watch the World Cup with a Northern Irish mate. It’s a city that has grown on me, or what I mean is I didn’t like it much at the start and now I do.

I was down there for a day of medical tests and examinations in Hobart in May 2010. It’s all part of a New Zealand medical I need to do and will stand me in good stead for my onward journeys to South America and Antarctica. It had been a long day of waiting around, browsing, shopping and drinking Earl Grey Tea. For some reason that night I felt a bit tired and decided to stay in the Brunswick Hotel (Also bizarrely called Tassie Backpackers and The Old Hobart Hotel, all at the same time).

It was all fate and coincidence that I stayed in that hostel, and I really don’t know why I did. On the way back from handing in my chest X Ray I tried another hostel, called Sublime and they were full. I also for some reason decided not to stay in the Pickled Frog hostel – that’s where Daniel, Paul and Neil had said goodbye to me. Perhaps it was the memory of that which made me decide otherwise, though the Pickled Frog was cheaper.

I also resisted temptation to sleep in my car that night, I had slept in my car the night before at Old Beach and knew I’d be sleeping in it again the following night, on Bruny Island, so fate played a part in an exciting venture bringing back memories of European Football nights at Glentoran’s Oval.

It was there in Room 22c at the Brunswick Hotel that fate had allowed me to meet Richard Codd. We became good mates for less than 24 hours. 

Richard was from Dundee in Scotland and a big Dundee United fan. Straight away we were talking about a forgotten UEFA Cup tie between Glentoran and Dundee United back in 1989. Dundee United had won 3-1 in Belfast and 2-0 in Dundee. Richard had been to the home match at Tannadice Park.

Sadly I hadn’t yet become a Glentoran regular by then and wasn’t at that home match, but my two mates, Michael and Gavin were there. On arrival at the Brunswick Hotel I had been tired and needed a wee rest so I lay down in bed for a bit.

After that a quick shower, relax and got talking to Richard all about football. He was giving me some good updates, like the Scottish Cup Final, where United had beaten Ross County 3-0. After a few nice teas, banana, pancakes and yoghurt we decided to go and have a drink in town.

I was really excited about that. I felt good after the day of hospital appointments and decided I deserved a beer. I also told Richard I thought we should try The Victoria Tavern – an old style English pub in town which had been closed when Daniel and I had tried some 3 months before.

So off we went, and had a great wee night in there. We met an English guy from Oxford called Stuart (by coincidence the second Englishman I’d met that day and both were from Oxford – the other being the Doctor – James Crompton). We enjoyed the $13 jugs of Cascade Draught.

There was a live band on called Vendetta, they were doing cover versions, my favourite of which was a song which has the line “I kissed and girl and liked it. Her taste of cherry chocolate.” Hardly an amazing song, but it had become a favourite of mine only because Noemi once sang it in her living room. I remembered that.

Stuart bought Richard and I some beers and was having a great time. His wife was from Hobart and he had emigrated out there. They were out celebrating one of their friend’s birthdays – Melissa. They were having a black and white theme and livened up the bar.

The bar was busy enough and had the UK flags on the ceiling – well, Scotland, England and Wales anyway. They never have Northern Ireland flags, and I wasn’t going to donate the one I had, the one which has traveled a lot with me.

The night consisted of chatting about Music – the Britpop era, and prior to that The Stone Roses and The Charlatans. I had missed having a mate like Richard to chat about all this stuff with. Music and football. 

His football knowledge was excellent, and I like to think that mine is too. But I didn’t realise that Dundee United had been European Cup (for the kids that’s the current Champions League) SEMI FINALISTS back in 1984 and that they won the first leg 2-0 against AS Roma, only to lose 3-0 away with Roma having attempted to bribe the match referee. Dundee United should have been European Champions back in 1984…

That match was also at a time when tension was high and football hooliganism was rife. Dundee United fans had unfortunately been threatened in Roma, where the final was also due to be played. The banners to the left and this article: Roma v Dundee United show the dangerous hobby of being a 1980s football fan. Dundee United finally got some kind of justice in 1987, when they reached the UEFA Cup Final.

Some day I will have to go to Dundee, and see the two football grounds which are the closest to each other in the UK. And hopefully I will see Richard again, thanks to him, I will be supporting the tangerine side of Dundee any time the Dundee Derby comes on TV…

Before leaving the Victoria tavern we had some whiskey. They served Bushmills in there so that’s what it had to be. The night was over though and we relaxed at the hostel with an Aussie guy, a pretty American girl and a dodgy Dubliner.

The next morning it was Salamanca Market, before I said goodbye to Richard and headed on to Bruny Island – a wildernistic paradise…

Where I Stayed – The Brunswick Hotel Hostel/Tassie Backpackers/The Old Hobart Hotel (they’re all the same thing)

What It Cost – $20 for a night (included free internet wireless).

Pub – The Victoria Tavern

Beer – Cascade Draught (the local brewery is in Hobart. Tasmania’s own)

Whiskey – Bushmills (Northern Irish)

Key Footballers – Maurice Malpas, Michael O’Neill, Duncan Ferguson, Iain Jenkins

Key Songs – 

Stone Roses – Fool’s Gold
Charlatans – The Only One I Know
Oasis – Some Might Say
Seahorses – Love Me And Leave Me

Dundee United’s Northern Ireland links –

Nationalities Met – Scottish, Australian, English, American, Republic of Irish, German.






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