Ireland Part 1: Dublin
Well, I went all the way to Ireland and all I got was… drunk. Yep, pretty much, just drunk, hahahahaha. No, no, no, I jest. In all seriousness, this is what I did: I drank a lot of beer, and ate a lot of potatoes, and walked the entire city of Dublin like 3 times over (it’s not really that big of a city, haha), and came away with a lot of great memories (and photos, obvi!).
I know that me recapping my adventures abroad is probably fairly boring to some of you, so I’ll try to keep the monologue short and just get straight into the good stuff — pretty, pretty pictures.
And away we go!
Welcome to Dublin! Sean and I flew in on a redeye, leaving at 10:45 PM our time and getting to Ireland at around 10:00 AM their time. It was only a 6.5-ish hour flight, but that time difference — whew! We got seriously messed up because of it. Worst thing was that our hotel room wasn’t ready when we got there to check-in, so we had to go kill some hours in a zombie-like state before we could nap ourselves into the right timezone, hahaha.
We took it pretty easy that first day (since we were also one of the only couples who had arrived). We were actually in Ireland with a bunch of Sean’s friends — his ZBT fraternity brothers — as we were all attending a wedding at the end of our trip!
Bros at Trinity College in Dublin.
Trinity College is where the Book of Kells is kept — one of Ireland’s most famous artifacts. Unfortunately, by the time we made it over to the college on the first day we were out and about, the line was ridonkulously long. So we just snapped some pics and would be returning the next morning. In the meantime, we knew exactly what we could go do…
Dublin is the location of The Old Jameson Distillery, where the original stuff was manufactured. Since then, the actual factory has relocated to Cork, in Southern Ireland, where I hear there is a similar museum tour/walkthrough you can do. It was really cool, and very informative! I know now more about distilling whiskey than I ever thought possible.
It’s just too bad that the only way I can drink it is with lots of gingerale, hahaha. You got a free drink with your admission, and could opt for drinking it neat or as a cocktail. Clearly, I chose the latter because I am a wimp.
As mentioned, we went back to Trinity College the next day to see the Book of Kells.
I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the book itself, but believe me when I say that it is pretty freaking cool to see how well-preserved this 1,000-year-old book is.
Possibly even cooler than the book itself, however, was the Long Library, which is part of Trinity College (I think they have a program that specializes in book restoration or something?). Anyway, it was a VERY awesome (and legitimately long) space with tons and tons of ancient texts lining the walls.
As someone with a healthy respect for books (hmm, I wonder why? Hahaha) I found this to be a particularly impressive part.
Some of the other places we visited on that day were Christ Church, which is a beautiful Anglican/Episcopalian cathedral with really awesome catacombs underneath (and is still in use for church services today!).
And we also got to pay a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which was even more impressive.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is where Jonathan Swift (the author of Gulliver’s Travels, amongst other things) served as Dean. He actually wrote all of his works while living and working at the cathedral, and is buried there. More writer’s history!
The last big thing we did on our second “real” day in Dublin was… well, you know.
The Guinness Storehouse is a very impressive self-guided museum tour, that comes with free a free pint of beer at the end, of course! In comparison to the Jameson Experience, the Guinness Storehouse is definitely much grander, more modern, and I think targeted to the younger crowd. The museum itself reminded me a lot of DC’s Newseum, with lots of cool interactive displays and whatnot. It’s also HUGE — it was like 7 stories high!
My absolute favorite part of the entire Storehouse was the “Guinness Academy” experience, where you are taught to pour your own “perfect pint” of Guinness. It turns out the pouring process for Guinness is a little different than your average
You are supposed to pour the beer in at an angle by pulling the handle towards you, but only ’til it’s about 3/4 of the way full. Then, you let it sit for a little bit…
…until the stuff (I don’t know what it’s called, haha) settles and you’ve got that classic dark brown/black Guinness color. Then you PUSH the tap handle forward to fill up the rest of the glass until the head is perfectly at the top. Ta-da!
I got a certificate for my sweeeet pouring skills, lol, and got to use up my free drink ticket on my own perfectly poured pint. Which I then proceeded to only be able to finish half of because DAMN, Guinness is a HEARTY beer!
We then headed up to the Gravity Bar on top of the Storehouse to enjoy the absolutely breathtaking views and finish off our pints.
If you hadn’t used your ticket in the Guinness Academy, you could also get your free pint up there. The bartenders up there were putting DESIGNS IN THE HEAD OF THE BEER. It was nuts.
Freakin’ beer artists, they are!
So that wrapped up that day in Dublin quite well. We grabbed some grub at a local pub, went out for a bit that night, but all the walking and being in the sun (Ireland was having a heatwave the entire time we were there — it was nuts! It didn’t rain once, and I actually got SUNBURNT. Like, pretty bad. Ridonk.) made me pretty exhausted so we ended up turning in relatively early.
The following day was spent drinking in more of Ireland’s history at the National Museum of Archeology, as well as spending some time in St. Stephen’s Green, which is a giant park that they said Central Park in NYC is actually modeled after!
Sean and I ended up splitting from the rest of the group that afternoon because I really wanted to check out the Dublin Writer’s Museum.
Ireland has such a rich history of Nobel Prize-winning writers — W.B. Yates, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney are all Irish!
All in all, I’m pretty sure we covered everything there really was to see in Dublin in our few days there. I will admit, as a whole I wasn’t incredibly impressed with Dublin as a city. I hope that doesn’t offend anybody, but for the most part it just seemed very much like an average city. It obviously has a much richer history than anywhere in the States, but it was hot, dirty, and there were a lot of depressing signs of the economic downturn all over the place (shuttered up shops, etc.)
Luckily, Dublin only marked the beginning of our trip to the Emerald Isle, and I can promise you that things are about to get very, very beautiful.
For now, though, I’ll let you go. I’m heading off to Houston tonight with my brother and sister-in-law to see my grandmother (so they can perform the traditional tea ceremony for us, since she couldn’t travel to attend their wedding). This short trip is to be followed with me heading to Oregon for a GIGANTIC Powell Family Reunion on the Oregon Coast!
Whew, the ride never stops… but I wouldn’t have it any other way. See you on the flip!