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Entries in Dublin (5)

Friday
May142010

A Long Day of Rest Before St. Patrick's Day

Even though we went home early, we were dead this morning. Absolutely dead. To avoid paying €25/day to park near the hostel, we had driven the car down near the hospital and parked in a neighborhood, about a 30 minute walk away from our hostel.  Brian and I walked this morning to get the car to come back and pick up Diana with all the bags.  Problem is, traffic was terrible. And on top of that, what I remember to be a 30 minute walk, was actually a little over an hour. So when we left our hostel at 8 to be back by 9:30 and at the airport by 10 to pick Emily up, we were WAY off. Fortunately, I got a message from Em saying that her plane was delayed and that she wouldn’t be in until closer to noon.  Since we actually left the hostel at 8:30, didn’t get to the car until 9:45 and then took an entire hour plus to get back to pick up the luggage (not leaving the hostel until 11:15) it was a damn good thing.

Regardless, we walked into the airport RIGHT when Emily was coming out of the gate and she was none the wiser (until I told her – which I should have lied and said we were waiting for hours).

Back in the car. We’re off to Galway.

The drive was fun and uneventful.  The middle of Ireland isn’t exactly the most amazingly beautiful, and in addition we were on a four lane motorway (which I hadn’t seen until then) so there wasn’t much to see.  We pulled off the main road for about an hour to grab some food in Raheen at the Mill and so Emmy could have her first Guinness in Ireland.  We also tried to do some castle chasing, but by the time we got to the castles, Diana and Emily were both asleep. Sad day.

We rolled into Salthill about 5 PM and got ready to go out before taking the car back to the rental hut when it was due at 6 PM.  When I tell you that the doors to the Budget office were locked and I literally had to knock the door to get the guys attention so I could give him the keys and NOT incur another day’s worth of charges – WHEW!

From here, we walked down to the Spanish Arch to grab a pre-diner pint and say hello to my good friend Aidan.  We had dinner at the Front Door and then went pub hopping in hope of finding some good trad session music.  We went to Neachtains, Massimos, Taaffes and finally ended up at Kelly’s for lack of other options.  Naturally, when we left Kelly’s around 3:30, we headed to get late night Cheese and Bacon Fries and home to rest up for the amazingly GIGANTIC St. Patrick’s Day festival we have planned for tomorrow. 

WOO ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!!!!

Thursday
May132010

What happened to that bottle of Jameson?

After the disaster that was yesterday, I felt I should be classy and take it easy today. So we didn’t start drinking until about 2.

After all, today was a day dedicated to drinking. We had prepaid for a tour of the Old Jameson Distillery as well as the Guinness Storehouse. After a hungover meal at McDonalds (and getting hit on by the embarrassingly attractive Scandanavian McDonalds counter boy) we stumbled our way to the Jameson Distillery for our Whiskey tour! Now, I had actually been on this tour already, but only part of it, and only on accident. When I came here by myself a long time ago, I wandered into the Jameson distillery and started following this group of people not knowing that they were there on a paid tour. Next thing I know, I’m being selected as a whiskey taster and being offered drink after drink by the bartender at the lobby bar. I honestly didn’t know that I had been on a tour I should have paid for, but this time, after about 10 minutes and realizing I’d already done this before, I felt a bit bad.

Regardless, the tour was amazing, even for a second time, and I paid a lot more attention this time. Diana was chosen to be one of the whiskey tasters so at the end of the tour, she got to do a blind taste test of Jameson, Johnny Walker and Jack Daniels. I don’t think she was too fond of the whiskeys, so she let Brian on the Trout finish them off and I think he was quite grateful. We met some really nice people from Canada and sat and chatted with them for a good hour sipping our free whiskey drinks (I picked Jameson and Cranberry juice. YUM!) before departing and making the walk to Guinness.

I knew this would be the highlight of Brian’s day, but I wasn’t sure he knew what to expect. I can’t speak for the kid, but I do think he had a good time, and judging by the amount of money he spent in the gift shop afterwards (including buying a Guinness tin whistle. Legend.) I think he was satisfied. We had our free pint of Guinness up at the bar on the very top floor which has amazing views of the city (and where Diana and I found quite a few nice things to look at inside as well). From here, we did even more walking, down to the Dublin Castle, to the old Viking Memorial which I still can’t figure out what it’s for, to Christchurch Cathedral and to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and park (my favorite in the city!) before heading to a Spar and back to the hostel to make some grub and get some work done.

One amazing thing about traveling with another travel blogger is that they understand (truly understand) when you have to sit down and write something. For me, it was putting the final touches on an article for Boots N All on the Irish language for St. Patrick’s Day. However, as expected, while I sat and wrote, Diana and Brian on the Trout drank an entire bottle of Jameson between the two of them and were, for lack of a better word, absolutely tanked.

I got jealous and needed to join, so we headed back to Temple Bar for some more Irish McLovin. We headed to a bar called Fitzsimmon's on the opposite end of Temple Bar which had a good live band going when we got there and we felt it a good place to sit for a bit. Only. Yet again. We never left. Diana (bless her) got us some friends by asking some random solo (gorgeous) boy at the bar if he would come sit with us because he looked lonely. He did (duh) and then his friends showed up (awesome) and they were amazing company. A French guy, a Spanish guy and a Hungarian girl – perfect. We had such an amazing time and the succession of musical acts playing were really great. I had a run-in with a drive by snogger on the dance floor and after about 5 or 6 tequila shots with Romaine for his birthday, we decided to head home around 3 or 4. Naturally, on the way, we made more friends. A bunch of Irish boys walking down the street heading back to a house party. Brian was riding the trout by this point (aka he had forgotten his own name he was so wasted) and I was thinking of poor Emily who we had to pick up at the airport the next day, so we politely declined and headed back to the hostel – but not before starting a fight in the street (some drunk man came up and started grabbing me and Knight Brian and my new troop of Irish man friends had their way with him – good job boys!).

This is going to be a long week.

Wednesday
May122010

How to go to Dublin and never leave the pub.

I’m starting to get super excited at this point. I have acquired Brian. And now we were on our way to Dublin to pick up Diana of D Travels Round. In two days, we’d be picking up one of my besties from college, Emily and we would be spending the week driving around Ireland partying our little heads off.

We left Belfast early because we needed to be in Dublin before noon to pick up Diana from the airport. Now, this was my first tweet-up, and I maybe didn’t tell Brian that I hadn’t ever, exactly, SEEN, Diana, before this day. So when I had to awkwardly admit at the airport, that I wasn’t 100% sure what she looked like, but that I had facebook stalked her before we left Belfast, so I should have a pretty good idea, I was expecting Brian to turn and run for the hills. But in perfect B Lee fashion, he shrugged his shoulders and said “I looked at her pics on facey too, I’ll help you find her.” Love this kid.

I think excitement is an understatement. When I saw Diana, it was like seeing a long-lost friend. I was dumb founded by how quickly we got along. It’s amazing what twitter can do. This is what the internet is all about. Embrace it. Oh and follow Diana if you’re not already @dtravelsround. Eh and while you’re at it, follow Brian too, because he’s funny (no pressure B Lee) and has great #songoftheday’s @brianonthebass. Plus, if you know his twitter name, later, when Emily and I start calling him Brian on the Bass, then Brian on the Trout, then Brian Rides a Trout, you’ll understand why.

Anyway. Dublin.

Mr G. has spent a lot of time convincing me that the only reason I am so obsessed with Dublin is that it was my first city in Ireland and rather than being obsessed with the city, I’m just obsessed with the country. He was wrong (Sorry, sir). I effing LOVE this city. We pulled in and wandered around looking for our hostel, which turned out to be right on the banks of the Liffey about a 3 step walk to the Temple Bar area. It was super cheap, really nice and just in the most perfect location. I was sad after not being able to book my favorite hostel, the Kinlay house, but I instantly felt relived that the Abbey Court Hostel was a good choice.

It was too early to check into the hostel so we decided to grab a bite to eat next door. We dropped our bags and Brian and I tipped our hats to Diana as she consumed her first (and I think, possibly, last) Guinness in Ireland and as she downed the Jameson shot like a champ with Brian on the Bass. We ate a bit, drank more, and then walked back next door to check into the hostel around 3 PM.

Time for a walk. Let’s go explore this amazing city.

My initial idea was to walk my little Irish virgins around the parts of Dublin we wouldn’t naturally cross when doing our beer/whiskey tour on Monday, so we walked up to the Spire, and then down towards the Temple Bar area. I suggested we have a beer at a pub in Temple Bar before we walk down to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We stopped at the Auld Dubliner, so named because when you come here, you will not leave… ever… and eventually you will become and Auld Dubliner – or at least that’s what I think.

We arrived at the Auld Dubliner at about 3:30 PM. After about 3 hours, we just gave in that we weren’t going to leave and the following is what I recall happening next (the order, may or may not be chronological):

  • Welsh boys in Dub for the rugby match buying us beer
  • Showing every human who would listen how to stick a coin to the Budweiser beer tap
  • Irish boys buying us beer
  • Brian hitting on some German girl and her mom
  • Walking up to a table of strangers and asking them if I could sit with them
  • Diana finding a pilot boyfriend from Ohio (I think?)
  • Waking up in the shower, fully clothed, soaking wet
  • Mullets. Lots of mullets
  • Singing very loudly in the streets

Anyway, word on the street is that I was in bed before 10 PM. Sounds like a productive day.

Thursday
Dec202007

Turn her down the Rocky Road

map dublinLocation: Killiney, Republic of Ireland

Ireland is literally my favorite place on earth. The cafe I'm in right now doesn't allow USB access so I can't upload my pictures, but when I do, you'll see what I mean.

Dublin is such a great city. There was so much character and so much to see. I went to a couple different churches, my favorite being St. Patrick's Cathedral. Even though it was under construction, it was absolutely breathtaking. It had this great little park behind the church with some great fountains and a wall devoted to famous Irish literaries. I sat there for quite a while and managed to get some great pictures of the fountain with the sunrise in the background as well as the cathedral which was very medieval. After this, I walked to the Guinness brewery which I didn't have time to go into, but I did down a Guinness real quick and move on. I went to another great church in the middle of nowhere called St. Augustine & St. John's. It was a Catholic church and it was HUGE. Right in the middle of this little residential neighborhood.

After that, I went by the Jamison Whiskey distillery (thanks fo rthat newspaper article about that dad) and then to what I thought was the Dublin Castle. I'm not exactly sure what it was but, it wasn't the Dublin Castle. It was still beautiful though and had a nice park as well that a bunch of people were sitting in reading the newspaper and what not.

After this, I went down to Mary Street where the main shopping area is. It's kind of like a 6th street of shopping. They have the street blocked off for most of the day so people can walk accross it while they're shopping. There are vendors in the streets with their little booths selling fruits and sweaters and blankets and homemade toys. Anything you can think of. All I bought was a sandwich (a sweet corn, chicken and cheddar cheese toastie :) cute name... I thought it sounded interesting so I tried it, it was wonderful!!) Right in the middle of the center is this HUGE spear thing. It looks like a 50 story flag pole. I can't even begin to guess how tall it is, but it is literally the tallest thing in the entire city. I believe it's called the Spire. The base of it is about as big as a car and it just gets smaller and smaller until it goes to a point at the top. Not really sure what the purpose is, but it sure does look cool!! :)

After this, as advice from the the hostel owner. I got on a train to go to Bray. It's this small coastal town south of dublin and I really wanted to get out of the city and see some country side. He had told me it was about a 30 minute train ride, and I had mapped out my timing based on this so when I had been on the train for 40 minutes, I started to get worried. Suddenly, we rounded a corner and there was the beautiful beach. I didn't know where I was, but I just got off. Turns out I was in this tiny little town called Killiney. I went through the town a little and then went down to the beach. The weather was fantastic (it was 10 degrees C which I'm not sure exactly what that translates to, but I do know that it was -3 in Liverpool yesterday, so this feels like summertime). The beach was all polished pebbles and the sun was setting over the mountains. I sat there for a good 30 minutes watching the locals walking down the beach and playing with a couple of dogs that were running with their owners.

After this, I went back to Dublin, visited Trinity college and then picked up my bag at the hostel and headed to the airport. My plane was delayed slightly, but I got in just in time to run into Kimmie and Mike heading to my hostel to meet me. I dropped off my bag and then we went and had a beer and watched the first half of the Liverpool vs. Chelsea football game which was really fun. It felt so good to have some meaningful conversation. Afterwards we went to this cute little Chinese restaurant that Mike really loved from when he was a kid and it was so much different from what I was used to. We had fried duck which was AMAZING. They were so great to take me out and I was so glad to see them.

After that we just walked home (since all the bars were closed at 11... so interesting... and people were okay with it?). The hostel I stayed at last night was wonderful. The rooms were much smaller, I just shared with three other girls and we had our own bathroom. The girls were all asleep by the time I got home and had left when I woke up so I never got to chat with them. But I'm not sure either, that they spoke any English. They were all from China (atleast that's what the cute guy at the front desk told me :)

Alright, it's off for another day in Liverpool. The family comes in tonight!! I'm so excited and I'm sure I'll have much to update about tonight.

XOXO

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Now playing: Michael Bublé - How Sweet It Is
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday
Dec192007

Sweet Emerald Isle that I love so well

map dublinLocation: Dublin, Republic of Ireland

The flight to Dublin was lovely. I flew on this airline called RyanAir (the ticket cost me $35 round trip from Liverpool to Dublin). If you had taken a plane out of the 1970's and replaced the one I rode on today (crew and all), I may have not noticed. The plane was neon yellow inside with bright blue plastic seats. There were no tray tables, no reclining seats, no seat back pockets... they were just chairs bolted into a plane. The flight attendants had on these lime green jumper things. There were also advertisements all over everything. Vodka ads on the overhead bins, hertz ads on the backs of every seat. It was a really interesting experience.

The flight itself was great. Ireland is literally, the most beautiful place I have ever seen. The countryside is this color of green that I would have claimed was fake if I had not seen it myself. The hills rolled forever, it seemed and every once and a while, we'd fly over a farm with a HUGE cottage house and dairy cows or sheep dotting the pasture. Amazing. Once I got into town, it was almost dark. The traffic was out of control (trying to navigate downtown Dublin in 5 o'clock traffic was not fun). I'm going to just call it a night for now. Take a much needed shower (I've never wanted one so bad) and get up early to go look at the stuff around here. We're literally within 100 yards of the Dublin Castle, some huge church and the Guinness museum and brew house. Yum :)

XOXO

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Now playing: Foo Fighters - Learn To Fly
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