After seeing tea, or the Camellia sinensis plant, in the Poison Garden at Blarney Castle (see previous post), I found it reassuringly in one of the lovely glasshouses in Dublin’s National Botanic Gardens,
with a decidedly non-toxic description that touts its popularity and its role in hospitality.
Although Camellia sinensis itself seems a pretty pedestrian plant,
the beverage is entwined with Irish culture, and we found tea, milk, and sugar (okay, and instant coffee) in our hotel rooms (along with a reminder on the 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified teabag to boil only the amount of water needed):
at our Airbnb:
on windows (teacup—”Here’s looking at brew”; teapot—”Nothing to tea here”):
in tea shops (pictured here is Cupãn Tae, which serves and sells its own blends of loose leaf tea):
and on the airplane as part of Afternoon Tea:
The Irish drink a lot of tea, coming in per capita second only to Turkey. Milk is generally added to the tea—a carryover tradition from the late 1700s–early 1800s when most people could afford only cheap tea so compensated by brewing the tea very strong and then adding fresh milk to make it palatable. Today, a small pitcher of milk will be found on many restaurant tables, although the tea is generally teabag and not loose leaf.
And in a lovely country that is often chilly, often rainy, often windy, a bracing hot cup of tea is perfect any time of day or night.