The second half of our time in Dublin began with latte’s and a walk across the River Liffey to St. Stephen’s Green. Once the site of public hangings and Easter Rising activities, the area now is a centrally located park with plenty of benches and some little lake features. Because music, dancing and loud people go late into the night, waking up early can only reap rewards – and we did! A nearly empty park with only the dog-walking locals around. It was lovely in the sunshine and I was grateful for the peaceful start. The day before, Spence and I had noticed posters around Dublin with advertising for a local theatre festival so we walked to the famous Smock Alley Theatre to try and score tickets for the evening. 8€ each for an hour long production? At a theatre from 1662? Why not. Tickets in hand we began a walk toward St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but more importantly, toward a fish and chips shop. We had to pay to get into St Patrick’s and were a bit disappointed by that and although it was a nice church, it truly wasn’t worth the cost. Restoration was happening all around us and it was one of the first cathedrals I’ve ever been in where visitors weren’t quiet: it was as if the acoustics were encouraging people to talk louder and be more rambunctious.
The nearby Marsh’s library came highly recommended to us, plus there was a chance of seeing Mr. Marsh’s ghost, so we stopped in. Yet again there was a cost, and with the 2€ fee per person compounded with the cathedral fee… we were getting a bit annoyed. Thankfully, there was hardly anyone in the library and the people who were working were knowledgeable and gave us a mini tour of the library. There were bullet holes left in books from unlucky shots during the Easter Rising, we learned about restoration necessities for the ancient books, saw books that are the sole copy in the entire world and we even may have had a run in with the ghost of Mr. Marsh. Nobody was around, nor was there wind, when a heavy metal pole fell. If you can explain it, go right ahead, but I’m satisfied with brushing elbows with a ghost!
The Fish and Chips were very welcome after all of this and we sat in the Christ Church Cathedral courtyard to enjoy them. Spencer and I had some alone time after this: me to work on a scholarship application and Spencer to visit the Natural History museum. I think it’s important to remember that just because you’re traveling with someone else doesn’t mean that everything must be done with that other person and to be honest, it was nice to have a couple of alone hours before meeting up again for the nightly festivities.
An evening at the theatre meant that we should probably go out for a good dinner and some vegetables rather than another evening of SPAR pasta… As we were wandering around Grafton Street we passed Wagamama, an Asian food restaurant that I’ve been enjoying in the UK since I was a little kid. My little squeal of joy at discovering it in Dublin didn’t go unheard and Spencer suggested we eat there for dinner. Wagamama and some fresh new theatre productions led to a very fun night. Each theatre show was half an hour long and graded by the audience to see if it is good enough to be created into a full new production. They were funny and really well done! It was a lovely evening walk along the river as we headed back to the apartment for the night.
Our final day in Dublin and the day that we felt the most assimilated into Dublin life – consistent j-walking included. Another coffee to start off our morning before being tourists at The Whiskey Museum with a very fun and knowledgeable tour guide. Highly recommend, we honestly learned so much. We walked along the River liffey to Phoenix Park for a relaxing stroll before our final tourist activity at the Kilmainham Gaol. Once the site of murders, overcrowding and political schemes, it is now an interesting tour experience of incredible architecture. Want to feel how we did? Watch this 1982 music video from none other than Ireland’s own U2.
The tour was great and finished at happy hour so we popped back into the Temple Bar district for our last night on the town. We each enjoyed a Hairy Lemon lager at the Hairy Lemon Pub before popping over to O’Neills for some Guinness and a steak & ale pie. Delicious! And the cherry on top? Spencer was invited to dance with the Irish Dancers during the Celtic evening that O’Neill’s put on. Amazing! And a great finale to Dublin.
Overall thoughts? Dublin was great and seeing Ireland from a Dubliner perspective was interesting… next time though, I want to go out into the countryside, seeing the land and the people and spending more time in nature. Cliffs of Moher, I’m still coming for you.