.#57. Travel to Ireland

Dublin has been an interesting adventure, where, much like Budapest, we spent enough time in the city where we didn’t feel rushed and could relax a bit more each day. If we weren’t able to visit a museum for example, we could go the next day, so by the end of our four days, it felt as if we were able to spend a little time actually living in Dublin.

We had hoped to get breakfast at a lounge in Lisbon, but the terminal was extremely small and without a lounge so we shared some trail mix and a cliff bar instead. It didn’t hold us over very well and by the time we arrived in Dublin we were extremely hungry. The plan was to buy more groceries and try to not spend too much money in Dublin, but the hunger spoke for us instead and we wound up eating burgers in a pub. I mean, they were delicious and the Guinness we enjoyed as well was a delight, but our wallets weren’t too pleased. Yet, we were so inspired by our beers that our only goal for the day became visiting the Guinness storehouse factory. Ordering tickets online in Dublin saves money by around 10-15% so we bought our tour and slowly meandered our way to the factory. It was pretty fun and of course a bit corny, although it finished off with a pint of Guinness at the top of the factory in a 360 degree glass bar above the city…pretty neat. The moment as the sun was beginning to set, sitting there at the top of Dublin, Irish beer in our hands was a great welcome to the city. We followed through with our food goals for dinner and picked up some pasta materials at a nearby Spar. We tried to assimilate into the culture and watched some lovely British game shows and reality TV while planning the next day. In Lisbon, our free walking tour had gone so well that we wanted to do it again with the same company in Dublin – plus we noticed a ghost tour offered (we were very excited about this) and with two little clicks we planned for a minimum of 6 hours of walking around Dublin the next day.

Day 2 began with a 10am general history tour of Dublin. We saw Dublin Castle and a bit of the Temple Bar area and although I did my best to not be cynical, after 1.5 hours of our guide changing fictional stories into Irish history (the fact that Plato was talking about Ireland as the lost city of Atlantis put me over the edge), I couldn’t do it any longer and Spencer and I willingly left the tour (Thank you Spence for being so accommodating). Thankfully, we left about 2/3rds of the way through, during a break, and conveniently next to a bar called Bad Bobs with great Irish coffees. We decided to try them (yes, they were great!) and to be honest, our conversation was flowing and it was hard to want to go back to a shotty tour. Hey, you win some, you lose some.

Anyways, the Irish Coffee’s helped us out and we moved along to Queen of Tarts for a cheap and delicious sweet treat of scones, tea and fresh orange juice. We walked off the scones and worked our way to O’Neill’s pub, a place that Spencer had been for lunch before and a place with a set soup and sandwich deal that fit our budgets. Cool! (To make things cheaper in Dublin, we learned to go out for lunch deals and make dinner at home). O’Neill’s is also one of the older pubs – operating since 1713. Double Cool! We wandered to Christ Church Cathedral where we saw a sweet crypt, then over to Trinity College for the famous library. The historic Book of Kells is part of the pricey library ticket, but with both the library and book being such a strong (and particularly sacred) part of Dublin history, we decided it was worth it. And let me tell you! It is hard to imagine the extraordinary and painstaking detailing that went into the artwork that is in the Book of Kells, and being able to see multiple pages up close without many people was definitely something special.

Nearby, the shopping street of Grafton Street, was a nice stroll before we met up with the same tour company for the Dublin Ghost Tour. This time our tour guide was awesome and we thoroughly enjoyed everything. He told creepy stories well, taught us some history, and took us on a long spooky walk around the city and through some graveyards.

As the tour finished, we found ourselves near the Brazen Head Pub (one of the pubs up for oldest in Dublin). It had been recommended to us by multiple people, including my cousins Shelby and Neal who are relocating to Dublin soon (read about it here), and it was a nice and cozy start to our very own pub crawl.

Now, I know it sounds a lot like our Dublin adventure was focused around alcohol and to be honest, about a third of the adventure was. Pub culture is Irish culture and it was when we found ourselves feeling the most connected to the Dubliners. After a beer at the Brazen Head we wandered to Fishamble Street, where the famous milk maid Molly Malone used to stroll. On Fishamble Street is a pub called Darkey Kelly’s that used to be a brothel back in the day. Darkey Kelly, the owner, died and six bodies of men were later found in her basement… it’s now a famous pub and creepy enough that we wanted to check it out. Plus… there was live music. We were greeted to a boisterous band as we yet again had Guinness and split a chocolate dessert before turning in for the night.

Unfortunately, no ghosts were seen.

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