Before studying abroad, there were a few cities I had on my “Must Visit” list; Dublin being near the top. With Ireland’s sprawling green stretches of land, quaint cities, and the chance of running into wild sheep, I was inspired to consistently monitor airfare from London to Dublin.
I finally found a cheap flight, a good weekend, and an amazing travel buddy (my pal Megan), so we jetted off to Dublin for the weekend. With a midnight arrival, I was not amused by the insanely long line waiting for me at customs, but was pleasantly greeted by many workers profusely apologizing for the inconvenience. After a cool 45 minutes, I rushed out to reunite with Meg and we hopped in a taxi with a driver who gave us recommendations the entire way.
Look how happy she was to see me!!!!!!
If you are headed to this city anytime soon, stay at the Generator Hostel. I had previously stayed at a Generator in Stockholm and was blown away by how ~hip and funky~ it was, so I decided it would be fun to try the Irish version. Try to book in advance because prices will go up exponentially the closer it gets to your stay. Meg and I quickly marveled at the chandelier made entirely of Jameson whiskey bottles, a tribute to the Jameson Whiskey distillery directly next door, and caught up before getting some rest.
We figured out that you would have to drink at least 26 bottles of Jameson per chandelier. There were 2 of them.
The next morning we woke up ready to go (mostly because all of our hostel roommates were gone so we could play music loudly) and narrowed down our itinerary for the day. We walked over to the Lemon Jelly Cafe for breakfast and enjoyed omelettes, lattes, and a casual side of pancakes, with Christmas tunes as our background music.
Sufficiently stuffed, we spent our day doing the most cliche Dublin tourist things we could think of including the Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and St. Stephen’s Green. All in all, these sites were a bit underwhelming and we had trouble finding the castle until we realized we had actually already been standing in the middle of it for the past five minutes.
Oh, there it is.
After bypassing all of the touristy things that did not involve drinking, we dove right into the boozier side of Dublin by touring the Guinness Storehouse. The tour allowed us to stroll through the factory without being slowed down by unnecessary tour guides and admire every facet of the brewing process at our own pace. We stopped at each level and eventually reached the tasting floor in which we were taught how to properly taste a Guinness beer in order to appreciate all of the flavors put into it. I nodded along when the instructor asked if I tasted the bitter flavors on a certain part of my tongue, but really I was just thinking about how adorable the miniature sized pints they gave us were.
Finally, we were able to try out pouring our own “perfect pint.” As an expert in all things beer, having tasted the finest Corona and Bud Light money can buy, I was confident and methodical in my pour and received a “Perfect Pint” certificate upon completion. Oddly enough every single person who tried to pour received a certificate as well so I guess we just had a really amazing group…
We then headed up to the Sky Bar at the top of the brewery and soaked in the Dublin skyline as the sun went down.
Megan was then crowned “Queen of Guinness”
To keep the good times rolling, we got ready for a night out and checked out Temple Bar. I assumed Temple Bar was just a single bar, which it is, but it also describes the entire area around it. Decorated with twinkling lights and garland, it was quite beautiful, but this beauty was a little bit diminished by the various piles of vomit and drunken men trying to get into fights. I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people that were obliterated by 9 PM, but we just went with it and navigated through without notice most of the time. We finally decided to camp out at a place called “Fitzsimons,” which was fabulous. There was live music, an area to sit, and lots of people dancing so this was our home for the night and I would highly recommend it.
Our next day was catered a little more to my style AKA spending 3 hours at the Dublin Zoo. It has an abundant amount of animals, including elephants and chimpanzees which are typically super rare at zoos. For the remainder of the day, we wandered through the rest of Dublin, taking in the sites and taking cover in a Mexican restaurant when it started to rain.
Nothing better than some elephant smiles.
Not quite the wild sheep I was expecting to find in Ireland, but I do love goats.
Being the savvy savers we are, but mainly just because we had already spent most of our money throughout abroad, Meg and I decided to pull an all-nighter and not book anything for our last night there. Megan is probably the best sleeper I know, so this little adventure was difficult to say the least, however we pulled through stronger in the end. Our strategy was to find the latest movie possible so we could relax in the theatre two hours, then find our way to the Dublin Airport for our 7 AM flights. It seems like a lot of people had a similar strategy because every booth in the airport McDonald’s was full of weary travelers looking to stake claim on an area near an electrical outlet.
There were some highs and lows throughout our trip to Dublin, but it was well worth the visit.