I hope everyone got my Guns N Roses reference up there. It was the most clever thing I could think of, and now I’ve got “Paradise City” stuck in my head. Anyways, if you couldn’t tell, Sarah and I went to Ireland! We’re now wrapping up our very last school vacation in France, which is a bit surreal, but we wanted to make sure to go somewhere high on our lists, and luckily (pun intended) Ireland was a priority for both of us.
A little less luckily, however, was that Dublin turned out to be a bit disappointing. I was imagining lush green countryside, sheep roaming free, pretty much the entirety of the film P.S. I Love You. And while that does actually exist in Ireland, it doesn’t exist in Dublin. While I’m very glad I was able to see a new city, I definitely want to go back and focus on the countryside.
Sarah and I arrived in Dublin insanely early – we took a bus at 3:20AM from Lille to the airport in Brussels, and made it to our hostel in Dublin by 9:00AM. We had plans to nap like no one had ever napped before until a free tour at 1:00PM, but we forgot to take into account check-in times, so although we were exhausted at our hostel, we couldn’t actually access our room until 2:00PM, so we opted to take the 11:00AM tour instead. It was three hours long, heavy on the talking, and a little too light on the walking. We ended up walking around Dublin again ourselves to find things we had hoped to see on the tour, like the statues of Molly Malone and James Joyce and the Trinity College campus*. We did, however, get to go on a pub crawl through the historic Temple Bar district, which was quite an experience. Dublin is known for its live music, and one of the pubs we stopped at was featuring a very well-known Irish band that was, in one word, amazing. I’d go back to Dublin just to see them!
We spent our second day in Dublin touring the Guinness Factory, which was an interesting visit, even for a beer amateur like myself. One of my favorite parts was at the beginning of the tour, when we got to see Arthur Guinness’s signature on the nine-thousand year lease for the brewery. We also learned how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, which apparently is quite the process, involving sitting, waiting, and watching and altogether takes around 2 minutes. Who knew pouring beer could be so intense?! I survived, however, and now have a certificate proclaiming that I can officially pour the “perfect pint” of Guinness. Ask me about it, and maybe I’ll share my talents with you if I’m feeling nice. And we of course sampled our work afterwards, but I must admit that a pint of Guinness before noon can be a bit of a struggle. We wrapped up the day at another pub (of course), the Brazen Head, the oldest bar in Ireland dating back to 1198. I have a friend, Sophie, from my internship back in the day, who is now studying in Dublin. It was so much fun to see her again and catch up on what we’ve been missing in each other’s lives!
On our third day, we felt like we had seen everything we wanted to see in Dublin, so we took a 2.5 hour bus ride across the Irish countryside to the East coast to see the city of Galway. We had heard about the city and thought there might be a lot to see, but like Dublin we were a little disappointed. We checked out the cathedral and the River Corrib, but that was about as much as we could find to do in the city. Galway is known for its street music scene; however, it was an overcast and cold day so not many people were out playing. We did accomplish a major thing on our list though, which was to purchase a Claddagh ring from Galway, where Claddagh rings originated. We had planned to spend the entire day in Galway, but after a couple hours we were ready to come back to Dublin.
Upon our return, we decided that since it was our last night we were going to go out the traditional Dublin way, which obviously involves Guinness and live music. We chose to enjoy these at a well-known pub in the Temple Bar district, the Auld Dubliner before our early flight the next day.
All in all, a fairly uneventful trip. I’m bummed that Dublin was not all I’d hoped it would be, but I’m very glad I went. I know I would have always regretted it had I not gone. I do want to go back, though, and see as much of the countryside as I can!
Now we’re back in Lille, and although we’re entering May we seem to still be stuck in the April showers phase…fingers crossed for some good weather soon!
*The actor who plays the young king on the television show Game of Thrones (which I do not watch, but apparently absolutely must according to everyone around me) attends Trinity College and is apparently quite the smarty-pants.