Overnight stay in Dublin at the Clayton Airport Hotel for early flight to Munich with a 2-hour stopover before jetting on to Malta. Lufthansa and Air Malta managed to lose one of our party’s baggage (found at Gatwick Airport by Ryanair who are sent it back to Dublin).
Stayed at Bayview Hotel on the Strand, Gzira which connects to Sliema with a strip of bars, restaurants shops and other hotels. Public transport available at the front door of the hotel. We did travel to St Julians Bay by bus for €2.00, which rises to €3.00 later in the evening.
St Julian’s Bay
The Long Hall, Irish Bar, St Julian’s Bay was the meeting place for Irish Fans. Beer was cheap enough at €2.75 and a good selection available including local lager Cisk. A good selection of food at reasonable price including sharing platters, consisting of breaded mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, Maltese sausage, onion rings and French fries for €19.95. Enough for four people.
We moved on to the nearby Cork Bar, where the prices were much the same. The locals were really friendly and played pool with the Irish fans. Entertainment was karaoke, with an Irish flavour including songs by Aslan and then a rendition of Grace.
Match day transport was by minibus to the isolated stadium. Torrential rain started just as we boarded for the match and stopped just before entering the ground. Security was tight and a few fans had to hide their hip flasks in their underwear. Pre-match another torrential downpour sent the Irish fans scurrying for shelter at the back of the stand.
700 or so Irish supporters – including 26 from RISSC London – attended but a very poor turnout of home fans. The match wasn’t a great spectacle, so I won’t go into that. You can form your own opinion. The Cork Bar was our venue post-match. Turned into the usual late night/early morning, finishing about 4:30am.
A taxi back for a party of five was cheap enough at €10.00. We stayed on for a week and enjoyed it. Breakfast at Hotel was good with plenty of choice.
The food was what you normally get in any tourist resort. The local Maltese sausage was like the pork sausages at home. Some stalls sold local savoury and sweet pastries which were cheap and tasty. Plenty of Kebab shops and pizzas. We tried a local pizza type dish which was tasty and very filling. It was topped with sliced potatoes and originated from close by Island of Gozo.
Unfortunately, we did very little sightseeing due to the bad weather. It remained warm but there were lots of heavy rain showers. Overall, an enjoyable trip and we recorded an away friendly win against Malta who had recorded some decent results recently against Israel and Greece.