I was going to call this “Dubwinning in Dublin” but no bad pun this time. I felt like just “Dublin” with the image would look better. You’re welcome.
So this past weekend (and into the week, since it’s winter break), a group of us headed to Dublin, Ireland, for a short little trip. It was a cheap flight, but easily the most expensive trip I’ve taken so far (who knew appetizers and starters would cost 8 Euros pretty much everywhere we went? Meals went into the 15s and 20s for the CHEAP places!). However, it was a TON of fun and was definitely a memorable trip.
This trip was an entirely new group – I hadn’t travelled with any of them, but it ended up being a great time! They have the type of travel style I have, where it’s mostly just spontaneous decisions on where to go or what to do.
The first day, the day where we travelled to Dublin, was the hardest. It was a long day of travelling, and when we finally got into Dublin, it was incredibly windy (they had a storm, so flights were cancelled and delayed), and our bus to take us to our Airbnb wasn’t going to come for another 45 minutes. Plus, our 7 Euro ticket only took us on one bus, so for each bus we had to pay if we were transferring. The start of our expensive trip.
When we finally got to our bus stop, it was about 30 minutes of walking, but the problem is the storm created 45-ish mph winds and the rain hurt because of how fast it was flying at us. Carrying a ton of baggage (Lizette and Joy were travelling back to the US) in the pouring rain and fierce winds? Not a lot of fun.
When we finally got to the Airbnb, our host was the start of our “incredibly nice Irish people” adventure. She welcomed us so warmly and the entire weekend, she provided us with recommendations for places to go and restaurants, and provided us with everything we really needed for the weekend. Plus, she had a 4-month-old kitten named Oreo!
We ordered pizza and spent the night watching a rom-com (short for Romanian Communism) called “The Wedding Singer.” Pretty much all of us fell asleep, plus we were waking up early in the morning the next day because Joy booked a Dublin photoshoot thing with a local photographer.
So the next morning, Joy, Kylie, and I went to drop Joy off at the Starbucks because we were worried that it was a little sketch (the listing was for solo travelers). We dropped her off and Kylie and I talked adventured around the city for about an hour, just down to a cathedral/church thing that we saw in the distance and decided to walk to.
We met back up with Joy an hour later, then Lizette and Joslin were coming out to the same Starbucks to meet up with us. From there, we went to a traditional Irish breakfast place, and there was some run or event or something going on, because people all throughout the streets and the restaurant were dressed up in crazy costumes. Anyways, the food was amazing – I got beans, toast, potatoes, sausage, black and white pudding, and bacon. And it was SO good. I’d never had beans on toast, and I wasn’t expecting much, but it was actually really good, especially with the sausage! For such a bland meal, it was pretty delicious. The workers there were another part of the “nice Irish people adventures,” and they gave us postcards as souvenirs and told us their recommendations of places to go. Even when Lizette and Joslin were walking down the street, a random stranger just started pointing out things for them to check out. They’re not just nice, but they’re also very proud of their city. We wandered around the city for awhile and passed the famous Temple Bar and that whole area, and it looked like a lot of fun! Happy people, live music, shopping, food – what more can you want?
After the breakfast, we headed to the Guinness Factory/production place to do a tour. I’m not a huge fan of beer, but after learning how to “properly drink beer” to get the taste right, I might be. Who knows, I guess we’ll see. Anyways, Guinness was a lot of fun. The factory is HUGE (7 stories), but it was a little weird because they made beer production into this huge dramatic show, but it was pretty cool regardless. It was also kinda weird because they treated Arthur Guinness like a god, but I guess it makes sense because he founded Ireland’s primary beer provider. It felt more like an art museum than a beer factory – they had displays and lights, and it was overall pretty cool. A little expensive, but pretty cool.
Anyways, at the top, we were all treated to a free pint, of either draught or lager, and I got the draught. It was in a Sky Bar thing that overlooked all of Dublin, which was pretty cool. I think the only reason I liked it is because there was a tasting room in which they told us how to “drink beer properly,” with a “smell, drink, exhale” thing, and despite what I expected, it actually did taste kinda like chocolate or coffee! Anyways, up at the top, we saw a guy wearing a “Rip City” sweatshirt (a nickname for Portland) – turns out he was just travelling around, but he was from Portland. And funny enough, he had just met another group from Portland, one of whom was teaching in Ireland for a few months and had her family visiting. Three groups of Portland people met, not knowing any of us would be there prior. It was a pretty funny coincidence!
After the Guinness tour, Kylie had some friends from Seattle that were visiting Dublin, so she went out to go meet up with them, while Lizette, Joslin, Joy, and I went out to adventure around the city. One of us needed to use the restroom, but we couldn’t find anywhere but a little church. The people were so accommodating and they let her in to use their restroom, and they were setting up for some Christmas gift drive or something, and the boxes were fairly big, so I offered to help carry boxes in and help them out for a little bit – a lot of them were senior citizens so I felt like they shouldn’t have to carry the heavier boxes. They were very grateful and I got more “God bless you”s than I think I’ll ever receive at once. They were so sweet and everyone wished me a “Happy Christmas” for helping them out. It was really nice helping them out because I got to talk to them for a short while and, going back to the “nice Irish people adventures,” they were SO welcoming and friendly.
From there, we headed more downtown, to go check out Trinity College and the Book of Kells, which we’d learned about in Fine Arts. Unfortunately though, Siri gave us the wrong directions, so we wandered around for about 30 minutes trying to find the entrance (there was construction going on too), and by the time we finally got in, the Book of Kells exhibit was closed. From there, we decided to go get some dinner, but all of the pubs (especially O’Neills, which we tried) were packed, because there was a soccer game going on. So after looking around for a long while, we ended up meeting up with Kylie and her friends, Margot and Emma, and we all decided to search. We ended up at a Moroccan restaurant, and it was really good, but also pretty expensive. I mentioned it earlier, but pretty much all food in Dublin is, at least that I could find. The starters at this Moroccan restaurant were 8 Euros, so I ended up taking a small chicken kebab with some spicy sauce and eating the complimentary bread given to our table. It was pretty good, and it was a really fun night spent with good people. Meeting Kylie’s friends was really cool – they’re very friendly and a lot of fun to hang out with! After that, we headed to a pub that one of Emma’s friends had recommended. We got totally lost and ended up wandering around a little sketchy suburban area, but once we found it it was smooth sailing! There were some old guys head bobbing downstairs so we all went to watch them, and I met a cool guy named Tom who talked to me about what I thought of Ireland. Really friendly guy, and we had a nice conversation. The pub was full of nice people and it had a really good environment – I normally don’t like pubs or bars or whatnot because they get kinda crazy, but the pubs in Ireland were all very “jolly” for a lack of a better word. Everyone was very friendly and kind, and no one felt creepy or malicious. It was a really good time!
After that, we headed to go get some milkshakes and fries and we hung out some more, then we headed back to the Airbnb for the night, while Margot and Emma headed back to theirs.
In the morning, Kylie went out to meet up with Margot and Emma, while the rest of us just went out to adventure around the city. We headed back to Trinity College and finally got to see the Book of Kells, which was really cool. The Book of Kells is a 9th Century collection of the Gospels that draws from an early version of the Bible – in short, it’s a very important historical artifact in regards to art history and theological history. It was really cool to see it in person, and it’s considered “Ireland’s greatest treasure,” as well as the “pinnacle” of book illuminations. The Trinity College Library was also really cool – absolutely gorgeous, and there was an exhibition on letters from WWI soldiers. Also, they have first copies of many books, including the first Harry Potter books! There was also “Ireland’s national symbol” of the harp, which was interesting because it was seen as an Irish cultural symbol and a threat to the British during the 18th Century, so many harpists were executed and harps destroyed. The harp displayed is the oldest, from the 10th Century, and it was given to a king, whose name I forget. Anyways, because of its cultural significance and its symbol as resistance to the British, it is seen as the symbol of the spirit of Ireland.
After the Book of Kells exhibit, we went to get food. We ended up at this underground pub thing, and I got a spiced chicken and potato salad. I don’t know what was in it, but it was delicious – it was sweet but spicy at the same time, but unfortunately it was also expensive. But it was still pretty good.
From there, we wandered around a park for awhile. To continue the nice Irish people adventures, a bunch of dog owners saw us fawning over their dogs and started talking with us, while their dogs would play with us. The people were all so friendly – I can’t stress it enough just how genuinely nice everyone there was. I was talking to the others about it, and we got into this mindset that everyone hated Americans, but the Irish surely didn’t, which was very refreshing.
From there, we wandered around some more to find Dublin Castle, which ended up being their City Council, but we passed some cool little things on the way, so I ended up taking quite a few pictures.
The castle wasn’t very special. We didn’t stay for long, because it didn’t seem very worth it to spend time there, and we were told by another group who went to Dublin earlier that it wasn’t a “must-see,” so we kept adventuring around the city. Total sidenote to mention: the streets in Dublin are incredibly photogenic, so are the buildings, as well as the doors.
We headed next to the Kilmainham Jail. We got there right as the last tour group was leaving and they were closing up, but the guy working there snuck us in with the last group leaving, which we all appreciated greatly. Fun fact, almost every man that worked there was named Dave – just going through the entrance, there were 4 Daves, and one guy who didn’t have a nametag, so I’m just gonna assume his name was Dave too. I have a feeling it was a joke that they’re all a part of, but who knows, they could all be named Dave.
Anyways, the Kilmainham Jail was really interesting! They had an exhibit on Nelson Mandela, because they partnered with the South African government because there was also a prisoner-turned-president in Kilmainham. Kilmainham was used to hold beggars for months on end during the Great Famine – over 9000 people would come in monthly, often literally just for asking for food. Many people even TRIED to get into jail because they were fed there, albeit meager, but the conditions inside the prison were dangerously unsanitary. The youngest prisoner was 5 years old, and he was held for 2 months because he stole a piece of metal to barter it in exchange for food. It was really interesting to hear just the impact that the Famine had on Ireland – normally in the US, it doesn’t seem like as big of a deal as it was, but over 1 million people died and 1.5 million left Ireland, and the population has never gotten back up to what it was prior to the Famine. In fact, it’s just above half of what it was in 1841 – the population was around 8 million, whereas today it’s around 4.5 million.
Kilmainham Jail was also used to imprison “rebels” during the first Troubles, or the Easter Uprising of 1916, where Irish Republicans tried to force out British rule. One of the prisoners, as mentioned earlier, ended up becoming president in the 1960s, and he opened the jail as a national monument to commemorate those rebels who died and were executed for their roles.
On a side note, it was also used in the films “The Italian Job,” “In the Name of the Father,” and U2’s music video for “A Celebration” was also filmed there.
Unfortunately, it was really low-lit, so the pictures didn’t come out too well. Oh well.
From there, we headed back to meet up with Kylie, Margot, and Emma. We headed to a pub, and the guy working there was absolutely hilarious. He was cracking jokes the entire time, making fun of us all in good humor. It was a really enjoyable night, and the food was delicious. From there, we wandered around and took a group picture, which I’ll include if/when I get it. Though here are some pictures I took while we walked around:
The next morning, Lizette and I headed to the airport (everyone was splitting up and flying to different destinations). I got there really early (like 5 hours early), but the taxi driver was such a nice guy and very friendly. I know I’ve mentioned it a lot, but the Irish are SO FRIENDLY. Like the taxi driver hopped out of his car when he picked us up and had this big ol’ smile on his face and he was super excited because his favorite soccer team just won a game. He was super talkative and he talked about his visits to the US and asked us how we liked Dublin, and more. Anyways, I then spent around 12 hours either in the airport, travelling, or in train stations, and by 11:30 pm I was back in Salzburg.
Dublin was by far the most expensive trip, but so far one of the best, if for nothing else because of the people. It was such a fun city – it’s hard to explain, but it feels like London, except grungier. More pubs, more nightlife, more “letting loose,” I guess? London felt somewhat rigid to me, but Dublin felt very relaxed and enjoyable. Just all around joyous – maybe it was the Christmas season, maybe it’s just the welcoming attitude of the poeple, maybe it’s the city itself, or maybe it’s a combination of all of those. Whatever it was, it was a fantastic trip and I’m really glad I got to hang out with the group I did, as well as getting to meet Margot and Emma.
So what’s next? Well, my family is coming out to Salzburg TODAY (19 December 2018) so I’m excited to show them around, then we head to Hallstatt, Austria, then to Switzerland, southern Germany (including Nürnberg!), Vienna, then Budapest. I’m really excited to see them all and to show them around.
Well, that’s all for now, I guess.
Le grá ó Bhaile Átha Cliath/Mit Liebe aus Dublin/With love from Dublin,
Sláinte mhaith! = Zum Wohl/Prost! = Cheers/To good health!
“Local Boy in the Photograph” by Stereophonics. A great song from when I was younger, and I listened to it a lot on this trip!
No photo dump for this one, since most of the pictures I took that turned out somewhat alright are already in here!