Or Devonport as the case may be, “where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone, as she wheeled her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow singing ‘cockles and mussels, alive, alive, OH!'”, basically that song, based on a supposed pretty fish seller in Dublin whether fictional or not took a new lease of life when I arrived in the third biggest city on the island of Tasmania – Devonport.
There are only three real cities on this remote island (Hobart, Launceston, Devonport) and I landed in one of them, together with Daniel, Neil and Paul. I never make a habit of keeping English friends, but given the fact that I lived in England for over 6 years, and that I’m particularly proud of Northern Ireland’s British origin, I often end up with the English crowd. The first night had been sweet – finally a good night’s sleep in Devonport, at the exquisite Gingerbread House Hostel on the corner of Murray and Wright Streets in East Devonport.
From there that morning, we headed across the Mersey River, hardly in Liverpool’s Fair City. There were a few options to get across the river. One is to walk all the way to the Bass Highway Bridge (called Victoria Bridge actually just to confuse you as to which state you’re in again) and across and up Formby Road. That is a long winded option, and one which we had used the night before to get to the other side, and to walk into Molly Malone’s Pub to check if they had accomodation for the following night.
It was good to have my 3 travel buddies, but I always felt that I organised everything. Daniel and Paul did complain about having to walk all the way across the bridge (and they made us get a taxi back – the only taxi to date that I’ve ever paid for in Australia – I generally avoid taxis, unless someone else pays because they want it). But yet it was only through me that we had booked into the Gingerbread House Hostel, I also did all the booking of the Canberra, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road and Neighbours Trips. Neil did book the hostel for Canberra and Melbourne however and we used Daniel’s card for some of the bookings. And again on the first night in Devonport it was down to me. But I guess I should think of it as a good thing rather than a burden. I single handedly left a legacy behind with the South of England Northern Ireland Supporters Club. As Richboy once told me – SOENISC was MY legacy, my golden dream and I gave up a lot of time and effort on those times, for which my heart felt only.
The Gingerbread House Hostel was booked out for the following night, so we simply had to find another hostel. Tasman Backpackers was also booked out. We had two main (actually more than that) options – The Alexandra Hotel and Molly Malone’s Irish Pub. Both were pubs with “backpackers” accomodation up the stairs. So at my suggestion, and to save us being out on the street, we should walk all the way to Molly Malone’s on the Friday night to ask for a room for the Saturday night. We did it and they had room, so back to the story…
We headed towards the Spirit of Tasmania ferry terminal assuming there would be a smaller ferry from beyond it to take us across the Mersey River. We had been informed about this, and I read it on a website. Sadly we had to turn around and head back along Wright Street taking a left and left again at Thomas Street where the wee ferry could take us across the river.
It saved the long walk and deleted the third option of swimming from our ideas. The ferry was called the Torquay Ferry, and costs just $2.50. Its a cheap and easy way across the river. And I loved it. We simply waited there at the wee terminal, the boat captain sees if theres anyone waiting from the other side and sails across to you. It must only take like 2 minutes maximum to get across the river, we marched up the ramp on the other side with our bags, straight past the Tourist Information Centre, IMax and McDonalds and onto Best Street.
Molly Malone’s Irish Pub sits on Best Street. Naturally its a green building with an interior decor just the way an Irish pub should be. They sell Guinness and Kilkenny. They have a lively atmosphere and they have live music (though only twice a week). They have friendly staff, particularly the pretty Jenna behind the bar. That night we checked in, we had Room 3 with pink lined beds and 4 beds in our room.
Its now my local pub, easily the best pub in the city of Devonport and possibly the best pub in Tasmania. And it’s named after a (possibly mythical) fish saleswoman from the streets of Dublin, capital city of my rival country. To even things up though, there are plenty of Northern Ireland isms on show. Firstly the bar sells Black Bush and Bushmills. Secondly plaques from Londonderry, Antrim and Armagh line the walls by the bar. Thirdly on the restaurant menu, up creeps a suspicious Belfast Guinness Pie. Funny that!
Guinness is from Dublin, but I’m happy it’s called Belfast Guinness Pie. From moving into Molly Malone’s Irish Pub that day, life had changed. This city was my new home. However Daniel Evans, whose idea it was to leave Parramatta and go to Tasmania (I had left a very well paid job) in the first place suddenly became lazy. It was in this very pub that his laziness showed “I’m not gonna stay in Tasmania” he said, less than 40 hours on the island and he wanted to leave!! He came from having done just 30 hours a week in a shop, I had left 2 jobs in England (one did 30 hours a week part time, the other was about 40 hours a week) And that’s where me and Daniel differed, sadly…
Suddenly sat in Molly Malone’s pub that day, I realised I would be travelling alone from there on in. It was on with the show. In Devonport City where the girls are so pretty I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone…
The Pub – Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, Best Street, Devonport.
Nationalities Met – Taiwanese, Hong Konese, Italian, Australian, French, German.
Beers Tried – Boag’s Draught, XXXX Gold Castlemaine, Guinness.
Favourite Food – Belfast Beef and Guinness Pie
Favourite Barmaid – Jenna
Price of a Guinness Pint – $6.80
Price of a Boag’s Draught (Local Tasmanian Beer) – $3.60
Price of a Roast of the Day Special – $9.90
Price of Belfast Beef and Guinness Pie – $17.90
Price to stay at Molly Malone’s For a Night – $15
In Dublin’s Fair City where the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow
Singing “cockles and mussels, alive, alive, Oh!”
Another song which is slightly related:
DIRE STRAITS – RIDE ACROSS THE RIVER, live in Sydney:
TORQUAY FERRY FROM EAST DEVONPORT TO DEVONPORT CENTRAL:
ZOMBIE by THE CRANBERRIES COVER VERSION IN MOLLY MALONE’S PUB:
DUBLIN’S FAIR CITY: