My Goodness My Guinness! My trip to Dublin, in short, consisted of a lot of food, a lot of Guinness, a lot of walking and a lack of sleep. Now, does that count as an epic weekend?
Jack, Garrett, Christina and I somehow managed to leave at 2 a.m. to catch the night bus, N74, to catch the Easybus to Stansted Airport and finally to catch our flight to Dublin. So we started our first day in Dublin with a short nap at our hostel, Harrington House. I actually recommend this hostel to anyone who is visiting Dublin in the future. Even though it’s about 20 minutes of a walking distance from the center of the city, it is quite cozy, has en suite bathrooms and best of all, has the nicest reception lady ever. During the 20 minute walk to downtown, you’ll walk on Camden Street, which is one of main streets with many pubs and restaurants, so the walk really isn’t a big problem at all.
We started our Dublin excursion with a 3-hour walking tour of the city, led by a local Dubliner. (Thanks Garrett for finding out about this!) While 3 hours may sound daunting at first, the tour actually went by quickly, and by the end, we had walked around the entire city, seen all the major tourist attraction and learned a whole lot about the Irish history. I must say, the Irish struggle for independence was a long and gruesome one. But hooray! The Republic of Ireland stands today as an independent country – albeit a couple ongoing issues.
http://www.neweuropetours.eu/ That is the website for the tour company. They offer FREE tours for major cities in Europe. I definitely plan on going on these in Paris and Berlin.
So here are some highlights of food, places and drinks we absolutely loved:
Full Irish Breakfast at Copper Alley Bistro: It is very similar to the full English breakfast, except you get blood puddings, on top of the beans, the eggs, the sausages and the bacon. Not many people are familiar with blood puddings, and nor was I until I tried it (quite bravely) and enquired about the ingredients AFTERWARD. My conclusion on blood puddings – interesting texture, glad I tried it, probably won’t eat it daily in the future.
Dublin Castle, Trinity College, the Parliament, St. Stephen’s Green, the Ha’Penny Bridge: Those are some of the major sights we visited on our walking tour. Each place has a story about their independence movement or the Catholics vs. Protestants struggle.
Jameson Distillery: Now, who doesn’t love whiskey? A bit out of the way (so is the Guinness Storehouse), but absolutely worth the 15 minute walk. The guided tour lasts for about an hour, and it teaches you what kind of mixers go well with Jameson. Though I felt like the whole thing was a big, fat ad for John Jameson – the intro video is all about him and his fancy buckled shoes…, I enjoyed learning all about why Jameson is so special.
Fish & Chips at Leo Burdock: As you can see, it is the oldest Chipper in Dublin. For about €9, you can satisfy your hunger with the biggest cod and the thickest chips (fries). They don’t have any seating area, so during the day, you’ll see people lined up against the fence across the street, devouring their fish and chips. That’s exactly why we decided to try this place out and loved it. Also, the pub next door with an outdoor seating has a sign that says “DO NOT eat your fish and chips here.” That alone is a convincing evidence.
Temple Bar: Unfortunately, or fortunately?, there are no pictures from our pub crawl adventure. I can tell you, however, Temple Bar is a FUN area with many bars, coffee shops and so much Irish Spirit. Many pubs have live music, which makes it even more entertaining. Some we visited during our stay are Turkshead, the Purty Kitchen, Pravda and Czech Inn.
Guinness Storehouse: Man, oh man. Dublin is home to Guinness at its finest. All the pubs will serve the best Guinness you’ve ever had. One even lets you pour your own Guinness at your table! A must-see is the Guinness Storehouse, where you can easily spend three hours admiring the brewing process, the history and the Gravity Bar overlooking the city. While it is a self-guided tour, the exhibitions are very easy to follow, and the cafe on the 1st floor serves Guinness and Bailey’s cupcakes that makes a perfect mid-tour break. The tour eventually ends at the “sky” bar on the 7th floor and makes it the perfect ending to the 3 hour journey through the history of Guinness with a refreshing pint and a gorgeous view.
Clearly I absolutely enjoyed this fun weekend getaway to Ireland. Even though early morning flights doubled our exhaustion, being surrounded by loads of Irish spirit and Guinness definitely woke us up instantly. On the other hand, the steep price of EVERYTHING caught us by surprise. After all, it is considered one of the most expensive places in Europe.
But come on, how can you not love this?