“One of the greatest things about travel is you find out how many, good, kind people there are.” – Edith Wharton
Before, I jump into a recap of our recent trip to Dublin, I wanted to address the horrible tragedies that took place around the world recently. Many people have asked me about how it has or will affect our travel plans. My answer, it won’t. We are no more safe in England, Ohio, Youngstown, France or Ireland. I am truly heartbroken for the people in Beirut, Kenya, Paris, Lebanon and now Mali who lost their lives. To stop seeing the world would be letting the mission succeed. Fear will not stop us from exploring the unknown, meeting new people and learning about other cultures. Fear should and will not keep us from living our lives. This Peanuts quote says it all:
So that’s that. Now onto Dublin.
We took an early (I mean earrrrrly) flight out of Heathrow so we could get to Dublin in time for breakfast. Which meant, we had to catch a bus at the Reading station at 4 a.m. We still do not have a car, so we are completely reliant on public transportation. Which isn’t too bad, at least I can catch up on my Ken Follett reading on a train.
Since we left in the wee hours of the morn, we made it to Dublin bright and early. Having been to Ireland before in College, I recalled how windy, rainy and chilly it was even in June. Imagine November. Also, Storm Barney was making it’s way toward Ireland, which did not help the wet & windy part. After bussing into Dublin, we walked through some of the city sights and strolled along Temple Bar Street, before heading to our booked tour of the Old Jameson Distillery.
The Jameson tour, of course was on the top of Jared’s list. I am not a whiskey fan, but after the tour, I actually did the tasting and then enjoyed a Ginger & Jameson. I may be a whiskey fan after all.
After the tour we had to check-in to our Airbnb. This was our first Airbnb experience, so we did not know what to expect. We stayed in “Rathmines” which is just south of Dublin City Center. It reminded Jared and I of Ohio City back in Cleveland. It had some hip bars and restaurants, but a little off the beaten path. We met our Host, Bernard, or as he corrected us, “BernErd”, but with an “a”. He was quirky and super nice. His unit had multiple flats in it, complete with a stairwell library and an adorable garden with picnic tables, we would have used, had Barney not been raining on the party.
We were determined not to let the rain stop us, so we headed back out to explore the city center some more. We stopped by Dublin Castle. Let’s just say, it has nothing on Windsor Castle. Then we stopped by the beautiful Christ Church to hear the bells. Thankfully the rain started to let up too – Thanks, Barney.
After some more sight seeing, it started to get dark. You know winter’s on it’s way when it gets dark at 4:45. So we headed back to Temple Bar Street to get a drink at THE Temple Bar before dinner. We nabbed a few bar stools, I enjoyed some Bulmers Cider, while Jared had a Guinness (go figure) and we enjoyed some jolly irish jams and company. I also enjoyed watching Jared stand in the middle of Temple Bar Street outside of the window and do O-H-I-O to the live webcam for a friend back home watching. All were entertained.
For dinner, we totally opted out of the traditional Irish grub for some BBQ. When Jared saw “free ice cream” on the window, he was sold. Then we enjoyed a few more drinks at a few more pubs, while listening to live Irish music. It was a jolly good evening.
Day two also started bright and early. And what better way to start your day than with a pint of Guinness. I know it seems like all we did was drink while in Ireland, but we really did do more. It just so happens, most attractions in Dublin involve alcohol, so we obliged. We were advised that the Guinness Storehouse Tour can get quite busy, so the earlier the better. The tour was amazing and much more than I expected. The Guinness Storehouse is compromised of the world’s largest pint glass, which houses a 7 level museum. And at the top there is a Gravity bar which has a 360 degree view of Dublin. A great place to sit and sip.
A fun fact from the tour is that in 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 Year Lease for only 45 pounds a year. They have purchased the land now, but the story is still great. My favorite part of the tour was the floor that housed all of Guinness’ legendary advertising and Jared’s was the Guinness Experience where he learned how to pour a perfect pint of Guinness. Did you know it takes 119.5 seconds to serve a perfect Guinness Draft? Now you do. I have to admit that I had never had a sip let alone a whole pint of Guinness before entering the tour. By the time we left I had a Pint, plus a tasting and I actually enjoyed it. I blame all the coffee and espresso I’ve been drinking, it’s officially killed my tastebuds. Although my dad would be proud that I basically drink black coffee now.
After the tour we headed back out to see that the sun was shining – hallelujah! Jared and I had just had a conversation earlier in the week that we had never been on a horse-drawn carriage ride. And there just so happened to be a tourist trap right outside of the storehouse offering just that. I don’t know if it was sentiment or Jared’s 2 pints of Guinness with no breakfast kicking in, but he gave the man some money, hopped in and away we went to brunch at the Elephant and Castle. There could not be a more perfect brunch spot for us. You have to truly know me to know why.
After a wonderful brunch we headed to Trinity College, the home of the Book of Kells, where we had a delightful tour from a past student. Some people on Trinity College’s student roster include Bram Stoker, Author of Dracula, Oscar Wilde and Mr. Nicholl’s, Charlotte Bronte’s husband, who no one may care about unless they read her lost diaries, which I just finished. If you’re a hopeless romantic, I recommend it. Than we ventured into the old library to see The Book of Kells. It was more beautiful than I imagined, the pages were literally glowing from the minerals used as ink. The old library itself is a legal deposit where one of every published english book is stored. The library in its entirety holds more than 4.5 million printed volumes – WOW. My BFF, Traci, would never leave.
You’ll notice he has a mustache on. We were informed that this was a Movember Joke, but that this old provost was not very well liked and often subject to undergraduate pranks. Why? George Salmon was a leading opposition to letting women be admitted into Trinity College. He once said, “Over my dead body will women enter this college.” He eventually agreed to dropping his veto in 1901 when the Board voted in favor of allowing women to enter the university. This was one of his last acts as Provost. It was said he did so under much distress saying, “he agreed with head, but not his heart.” Symbolically in January 1904, just after he died, the first women undergraduates were admitted. Today 60% of Trinity College’s undergraduates are female. Take that George.
It’s the golden snitch! Not really, but I will pretend.
To wrap up our weekend in Dublin we took a stroll through St. Stephen’s Green before heading to Grafton Street for their Christmas lighting. No matter how many photos I tried to take, it still looked better in person.
You can see more photos from our Dublin trip on Flickr HERE.
Our next big trip is in mid-December. We are taking a 4 day trip down Germany’s River Rhine to visit some of the finest German Christmas Markets. Between now and then we plan on visiting some of England’s markets in Bath, Cardiff and of course London. Stay tuned!