I’m on a blogging role this week! Woohoo! Thank you to all those who have been following along on my journey since the beginning and special shoutout to all of you who just joined me! It is so cool to see that my blog is being read around the world. I really value all of your comments and hope that my travels inspire your own! 🙂
Today we’re talking about DUBLIN! Dublin was probably one of the first trips I booked. I knew it was some place I wanted to go and I’m pretty sure I booked my flight my second week in Madrid. We journeyed to the land of the Irish the weekend after St. Patrick’s Day as we did not wish to partake in the crazy festivities. (I was also told later by an Irish man that I’m better off being in NYC for St. Patrick’s Day….well, sir, that’s a lot closer for me!)
Honestly, I didn’t fall in love with Dublin. It was a cute city, but I feel like it lacked charm. For all of you from the East Coast (of the states that is!) the best way I could describe Dublin is by comparing it to Hoboken. As soon as we got off the bus from the airport on O’Connell St. I immediately got small city vibes ( + a few hundred year of history)! ALSO, the nightlife was a bit lacking. We were told to avoid the tourist trap that is Temple Bar, so instead we headed down George St. at night. The pubs were fun, but the clientele was….old. After talking with some friends, they too said that it was very hard to find ‘young’ places to go out at night. I guess I will have to return to Dublin in 10-15yrs and have a grand old time.
Ireland was filled with a lot of eating…and drinking! We had our first lunch at a wonderful pub across the river from O’Connell St. called J.W. Sweeten, which is also the very location that I discovered my new favorite cider, Bulmers. I HIGHLY recommend this cider for those of you who enjoy a slightly dryer cider. It was wonderful! When I return stateside, I’ll be on a mission to find it!! Below are some pubs and restaurants we visited that we really enjoyed!
This is where we started our Literary Pub Crawl on our first night. What is a literary pub crawl, you ask? It is a pub crawl led by actors who bring you to bars where old writers used to hang out and reenact parts of their works. It was the perfect activity for my literature and beer loving self! Ireland has a rich history of writers and poets and this was the perfect way to have some fun while learning about these distinguished people!
We visited this bar so many times during out short weekend that the waitstaff began to recognize us…oops! This bar is HUGE and is a great hang out at night and a great spot to grab a traditional Irish lunch! It was PACKED our first evening because of a Ireland v. Wales football game (Wales seems to be following us around the UK…see my Edinburgh post) but it was great fun!
The two great landmarks of Dublin are Trinity College and The Guinness Factory, speaking to how the city values great scholars and, of course, beer. A little more about these two below.
Trinity College was beautiful. (However, after visiting Oxford last year, I dare say it dulled a bit in comparison.) The small campus is populated by students and tourists alike and has a fantastic bell tower in the center. However, the college’s real claim to fame is it’s library and the Book of Kells. Now I went to an entire exhibit on the Book of Kells and I still can’t really tell you what it is. From my understanding it is a very old, Irish, edition of the four gospels, but beyond that I was lost. So many people were gathered around the book, that when it was my turn to see it, I was a bit underwhelmed. However, my underwhelmness lasted briefly. The moment I stepped into the library I went from very underwhelmed to extremely overwhelmed! For my book loving self, this place was unforgettable. It is a narrow room with shelves upon shelves of books. I really had the urge to swing from one of the ladders like Belle does in Beauty & The Beast. It was such a hidden gem. 🙂
The Guinness Factory
No one can leave Dublin without going to the Guinness Factory. I like Guinness so I knew I’d like the factory but, I have to say, the factory was EXTREMELY well done!!! The entire exhibit was so creatively put together! I was very impressed. The best way I can describe it is like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but for all those 18+!! Everything from the explanation of the brewing process, to the tasting room were…magical. The magical tour ended with a pint of Guinness (poured by yours truly) with a great view of Dublin from the factory’s sky bar. DEFINITELY worth every penny. (Make sure to buy your tickets online to save time, and money!)
Added Bonus: SHOES. I don’t think I’ve ranted about this yet, so I will take the time to do so now. It is HARD being a big-footed woman living in Spain. In fact, it is impossible. I have scoured every shoe store up and down Gran Via and have found that the largest size carried at mostly all stores is a 41 (9.5 US). This does little for my 11 US (~42.5) sized feet. In Dublin I was FINALLY able to find a pair of new boots (shoutout to Clarks) which were very much needed as my current boots are falling apart at the seams. If I plan on living in Europe in the future, I really gotta find a way to deal with this whole shoe issue…
Next week, follow my adventures in…ITALY!!!!