Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Luck of the Irish

I fell in love with Ireland as I flew into Dublin. I had gotten up early for my flight from London to Dublin and so fell asleep right away once the plane took off. The flight was quick (about an hour and a half maybe?) and just as I was waking up we were flying over Dublin and about to land. The view outside my window was incredible! It was such a beautiful sight and I desperately want to return and spend more time exploring the area (maybe just not in the wintertime though).

The tourist office in Dublin was very helpful (not something I can say about all the cities I have visited). Unfortunately the directions I had received from my hostel told me that the bus would drop me off on the same street. So, I rode the bus about 20 minutes longer than I should have because I was waiting for the bus to turn and go down the street. I ended up getting off the bus and catching another in the opposite direction getting off on a street adjacent to the one my hostel was on.

Unfortunately the house numbers in Dublin are not as orderly as they are in the states (or other countries) so as I walked past 20, 83, 72, and 38 (not necessarily those numbers, but in a similar sporadic order) I was beyond frustrated that I couldn’t find 90-92. I ended up asking another hostel for directions (classy I know) and found it around 12:30 (about two hours after my flight had landed). I dropped off my bag and headed out for the New Europe Free Walking Tour.

I have really enjoyed going on these walking tours around Europe. I have done them in Berlin, Munich, Prague, Paris, London, and Dublin. They have all be extremely informative and because the work on a tips only basis it is very affordable and you can give based on how well you think the tour went. I definitely recommend that you check it out if you are in a major European city, especially if you don’t know a lot about the history already and want a good overview as well as some random and quirky tidbits and facts.

My tour ended at Trinity College where I went to see the Book of Kells. I could have spent hours looking at the two pages that were on display (but I didn’t want to annoy the other viewers). It was incredible to see something so old and authentic and beautiful. I also was able to view the Long Room Library (where the book is kept). They have the Dublin harp on display (I’m not sure if that’s the official name, but basically it is THE Dublin harp – it is also the logo for Guinness beer). I went to a pub that night and had a Guinness and listened to some live Irish Folk music (they even played Jingle Bells). I met two girls from Ohio at the pub and we chatted it up for a bit. They were very nice girls and I enjoyed my time with them. I went to a different restaurant for dinner, which was fun, but always strange to sit and eat a meal by oneself, and then headed back to the hostel and went to bed early.

My last full day in Dublin I visited a local coffee shop, that had been recommended to me, where I bought a Chai Latte (better than Starbucks). I then headed toward Stephen’s Green and then on to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I took my time and didn’t rush, which was nice for a change. My next stop for the day was at the Guinness Brewery where I went on a tour of how the beer is made and got to see various historical advertising displays. I enjoyed the tour (though it was self guided) but I think I’d recommend the Red Hook one over it (it’s a much better value for your money). You do get a free pint at the end of the tour and I opted to have my pint along the tour where I was able to pour my own pint, which was fun. The top of the brewery gives panoramic views of the city which was also fun.

The last stop was the Old Jameson Distillery. I arrived about 30 minutes before the next tour started, so I had some tomato soup (that I ate rather fast and burned the roof of my mouth). It was tasty (but I still prefer the Safeway brand deliciousness) and good to have something in my stomach after drinking a pint and before having my whiskey sample! The distillery tour was brief, and somewhat informative, but not the best “alcohol making tour” I have been on. There were some obnoxious Scotsmen on the tour who were giving the guide a hard time about the difference between Irish and Scottish Whiskey. The tour ended and I had my whiskey and coke before I bought a few souvenirs and headed back to my hostel for my last night in Europe! After three months of traveling, it’s quite weird to think that it’s almost all over!


Elizabeth Joy said...

I'm gonna need the name of that coffee shop...

and what hostel did you stay in? We are look at abbey something...

Jenell said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Dublin... I think our problem was that we had fallen in love with Scotland and we couldn't stop comparing everything after that to Scotland. We also had set our expectations of Ireland really high for some reason.

free counter