I’ve had some of the best of times and the worst of times when it comes to Dublin but even the worst of times couldn’t make me fall out of love with this city. This is one city I cannot say no to. If any of my friends or family are planning a trip I cannot help myself and automatically invite myself whether they want me or not I am going.
The best of times:
Our first trip to Dublin was also our first trip to Ireland. You have never seen so many shades of Green until you go to Ireland, to this day Ireland is one of my favorite countries. But upon arriving to the Airport in Dublin for our first visit we were exhausted, this was the last stop of a 3+ week backpacking adventure throughout Europe. So we immediately needed to stop at the airport and get a coffee, but since this was also our first trip to Ireland we decided to make it an Irish Coffee (coffee with Irish whisky sugar and cream) but with a little luck of the Irish they were out of cream so we enjoyed our Irish Coffees, for free. Dublin was already off to a great start. We caught a bus from the Airport to our hostel which was located in the Temple bar district called barnacles (Highly recommend) but due to the time that we arrived our rooms were not ready yet so they offered to store our bags and off we went exploring the city. We started to explore the temple bar district and we were not dissapointed. Yes this area is very touristy but in all honestly it was still a great time. The area is lined with stores, restaurants and bars that all gave that very authentic feeling. One thing that I wasn’t expecting of Ireland is just how good the food was. Every meal we ate there was delicious, our first trip there was before we became vegetarians so we indulged in the bangers and mash, the Guinness pies and everything else we could get our filthy paws on. Follow our feast we went back to our hostel to try to fit in a desperately needed nap before we continued exploring this city since we have just come from London and if you don’t know why we needed a nap they go read our London post and you will understand how sleep deprived we were. Upon getting back to Barnicles we checked into our room which was shared with about 8 other people and honestly it would have been a great time and we wouldn’t have minded sharing this room if it wasn’t for just coming from hellish London. Since our trip was over in a few days and we came in under budget we decided to upgrade to a private room. Money well spent, we slept like babies and were ready to conqour the world the next day.
Kingdoms, Pubs and Buds:
Dublin is full of castles, pubs and some of the friendliness people you will ever meet. We ventured to a number of different pubs that had authontic live music, people singing along, Guinness flowing (not to much for the locals) and just an overall great amount of fun and entertainment in every pub we went to. From our experience, people in Dublin are some of the nicest humans you will ever meet (and this is coming from a guy that lives in the south now)
Castles are everywhere and each one is unique and worth the time to explore. Unfortunately most of the castles we went to see was when it was raining out but every single castle has a unique story to it. I know there are some people that say once you’ve seen one castle you’ve seen them all, but that is a complete lie, go and see every single one. Better yet turn it into a pub crawl. Get a beer, see a castle and repeat. Beer Castles & Friends are all worth it in Dublin
The Cliffs of Moher.
When we signed up for a tour to the cliffs of moher I immediately thought this is going to suck, were going to be stuck on a bus all day and waste all of our time driving around instead of seeing & doing things. I was dead wrong and once again Wifey was right. The bus picked us up right at Barnicles and we started our tour very early, we had a few stops at some castles which were once again all amazing (not sure Christine was as much into them as I was) but by far the main attraction was the Cliffs of Moher, the only thing I can describe this to is the Grand Canyon. Pictures do not do it justice, this is truly one of those see it to believe it places. You are surrounded by the greenest green grass you have ever seen and immediately below you are cliffs that drop hundreds of feet into the water. It really is amazing to see. Of course I had to climb to the edge of the cliffs and Christine had to do a handstand picture near the edge, because lets face it if you don’t almost die were you really there?
If I was forced to give one thing I’d recommend in Ireland it would be to go see the Cliffs of Moher. I know I probably did a bad job selling you on it but don’t screw up your trip and find the time to go there.
After the Cliffs of Moher, our bus stopped for dinner at a small restaurant in Galloway we had some delishish Gunissiess pot pies and bangers and mash and continued on our way. Once again the food in Ireland is highly underrated. It was all great.
The Guinness tour:
I knew I loved beer, I never knew I loved brewery tours, Especially after our complete debacle in Amsterdam at the Heineken tour I was determined not to make that mistake again….or was I? 🙂
I never really cared too much for Guinness when I would drink it in the States, it was always too heavy and tasted very bland to me. I would only drink it when doing Irish car bombs or possibly on St Patrick’s day. Come to find out Guinness tastes way better in Ireland. Upon getting to the Guinness tour I immediately thought it was over priced (turns out I was wrong again, completely worth it) but since we were in Dublin I figured we had to do it at least one time. So we continued. Not to ruin any surprises on the tour but it was a lot more interactive and had a WOW factor to it that I did not anticipate. The tour was very educational and just the history associated with the brand had a respect factor that made me think twice about drinking my weights worth of it and destroying everything in sight. As we continued the tour we learned how to properly pour a Guinness and became “Certified” to pour Guinness as cheesy as it sounds I enjoyed it. At the end of the tour (Much like the Heineken tour) you get a free Guinness at the sky bar which is pretty much a Circle bar that overlooks all of Dublin, nothing feels more Irish then siting in a bar, drinking a Guinness while looking out a Window seeing the whole city. Fortunately for me Christine isn’t a Guinness fan so I drank hers to and in old Amsterdam’s fashion I proceeded to go to the bar to request another one but apparently Heiniken called the Guinness factory and they weren’t having it so I ponyied up paid the money had one more beer and we left. Probably a good thing.
The Worst of times:
Most of my bad experiences from Dublin came the second time we visited, It was a last minute decision to go, we came in by train coming from Belfast. Our original plan for this series of trips was to go to Belfast then fly to Barcelona to catch a cruise, but since we are cheap and irresponsible we booked a flight from Belfast that arrived only about an hour before our cruise ship was scheduled to leave, we figured we wouldn’t have enough time to get through security find a taxi and make it on time for our ship. Plus Christine’s family was going on the cruise and I wasn’t about to be the son in las that ruined the trip. So we decided to make an adult decision and leave Belfast a day early, catch a train to Dublin and be on a flight to Barcelona that arrived much earlier in the day. Seeing how much of a great time we had in Dublin last time we thought this was a no brainer (other then the money we lost on the original flights)
So like any bright idea we have we usually find a way to severely screw it up. We arrived by train to Dublin tired a little hung over and cold. Our plan was to explore the city all day, stay up all night, go to a few bars and go to the airport around 3am to catch our 6am flight to Barcelona since we were not planning on going to Dublin we had no hostel or place to stay lined up. This all seemed like a great idea until we realized how old and lame we were. We immediately regretted this decision when we arrived sowe went to Barnicles to see if we could get a room and they were all booked. So we decided to have them hold our bags and continue on with our plan.
We went to a museum which kept our child sized minds entertained for a good 30 mins, found the kids section and like Godzilla we toppled over on kid sized bean bags and took a nap while getting some very concerning looks from people passing by. After feeling somewhat refreshed we thought it was time we left this museum before security was called on the two grown hungover adults sleeping in the kids section so we ventured out in the pouring rain went to a restaurant (I’ll say it again food in Ireland is great, and we were vegetarians by the time we were here this time) After stalling as much as we could in the restaurant we decided we needed to come up with a plan. The weather was miserable we couldn’t possibly eat any more food, and all public spaces were closed by now. So we thought were young, were cool lets go to some bars and stay up till 3 am like we used to do….
Two drinks in we realized the combination of sleeping on kid sized bean bags and the amount of food we consumed was not a winning combination. If I could have caught a leprechaun my one wish would have been give me a bed and Netflix. Christine and I looked at the clock realized it was only 9pm and just right then and there we realized how screwed we were. We were tired, hungover, wet and cold with no place to go. So we figured why not continue with our awesome trend of making great decisions we decided lets just go to the airport now, we can find a comfy set of chairs and take a nice nap and be all ready to go by the time our flight left at 6am. So we left the bar caught a bus and went to the airport.
Fun fact, you can’t get through security if your there to early before you flight leaves. We instantly knew this was going to be a bad night so we went to the cafe (the one that gave us free Irish coffees our first trip) and got a beer and some snacks and once again tried to waste time. It was now around 10 or 11 and they were closing and once again we had nowhere to go, so we went up to the food court portion of the airport thinking we would find a nice booth at McDonald’s to sleep in. Apparently we weren’t the only idiots with this idea. It was packed. So we wondered further and found a nice strategic spot on the hard cold floor to setup camp for the night. I strapped my book bag to my arm, tucked Christine in a corner put a coat over my head and proceed to try to sleep. Other then every the sub zero temperatures of this floor and every part of my body going numb from the hard floor things were going great I got about an hour of sleep
Next thing I know some drunken asshole decided to come through my clearly outlined border that I made on my corner of the airport floor and setup camp next to me. Being the good neighbor that I am I let it slide while keeping one eye open watching every move this invader was making. After a few drunken stumbles and him accidentally kicking my foot one to many times I decided to keep both eyes open and prepare for battle. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who had my eye on this guy, he kept leaving all of his bags and going on strolls throughout the airport, and if anyone has ever been to an airport before, leaving unintended bags in an airport is a No No. So holding a grudge from kicking my foot, a police officer came over and asked if they were my bags. I said no and the police continued to wait until he got back. They gave him a warning and carried on. Then he did it again, he walked away and the police came back. This time there was two of them and like the Grinch I must have had the biggest smile on my face they were now asking him for his ticket and where he was going in a very Irish accent. He did not have a ticket and was two drunk to speak in complete sentences. Finally the police officer yelled to him “Your telling me riddles” and he stopped talking they gave him one last warning walked away and my drunken neighbor decided it was time he left on his own freewill while he still could.
Then on and off again sleep proceeded until around 3am when we decided to try to go through security again, Having different rules on how much liquids you can bring on the plane I ended up having to throw every liquid i had out so I could put some of Christine’s more expensive products in my bag (God bless that poor security officer that tried telling a tired angry Christine she couldn’t bring all her makeup on a plane after the night we had) We finally made it past security found a restaurant that was closed immediately went in a booth which seemed like a brand new pillow top bed at the time and instantly fell asleep for a good 30 mins until someone came over and slammed on the table and yelled this is a place for eating not napping. We had a few choice words and we carried on to our gate. We finally got on the plan and carried on to Barcelona.
Even after this I still love you Dublin.