It’s time to say goodbye to Dublin and off to our next major destination: London, England.
Dublin is a phenomenal city. Although it does have some terribly bipolar weather, its friendly locals and interesting sights cancel it out. The locals describe Dublin weather as, “You always have your sunglasses and umbrella on you.”
Day 1: After following my father’s wonderful instruction of a glass of wine and Advil PM, I landed in Dublin not only fully rested, but ready to attack the day. We were in the airport for twenty minutes waiting on some people in the group then we were on the bus heading to city center for some much anticipated exploring. Even though it was only 10:30 am, our first desire for Ireland was food and a beer. So we headed to O’Neil’s, which was found on a side street on Grafton Street. Mary and I split a full breakfast, and I of course to go along with the Ireland theme ordered a Guinness beer. It was the perfect start to our Dublin adventure. After eating we decide to visit a few landmarks like the spire and harp bridge.
You begin to notice that tagging (spray painting) is an issue in Dublin. Also “to let” is to lease. AND lawyers are called solicitors!
Once finished exploring we head to Molly Malone statue to meet the rest of the group to head to the hotel, where I finally see Maggie! Back at the hotel we receive our rooms, and I am rooming with Maggie Sara and Brianne. We decided we are going to head to the pub at 645 which is enough time for a quick run.
I wanted to run to the pub area, which is about two miles away, so thinking that I knew where I was going, I just chose one direction. I run a little under a mile and still couldn’t see any water. I ask a random boy walking “where is the sea”. He points in the opposite direction of where I was running “damn, I’m going the wrong way” I say and start running the other way.
Dressed and ready for a good night out the LA girls, Matt, Craig, Meridith, and the Miami boys head for the pub. I saw signs for Monticello on my run, and I figured that would be great, but Sara said a number of websites said Harbour pub was best. So we head there.
The beach was amazing beautiful rocks and scenery. There was a hiking trail up to the top of a mountain and I decide I will climb this before I leave..
The Harbour is the epitome of a pub. Old men drinking waiting for the game (France v. Spain) to start. Men with their wonderful accents bar tending. It was straight scene out of Hollywood. We get hungry and most of the girls split a delivered pizza. After hanging and talking and SPAIN WINS, we head to a secluded room with more space. After about an hour we decide to call it a night, because we knew the following night would be long since we were hanging in Dublin after the welcome dinner.
Instead of cabbing back to the hotel and since it was still light outside, (Ireland sun sets past 11 o’clock), Matt, Meredith and I take the 20 minute walk home. We stop inside the Monticello and it’s hopping with locals. We stayed for a beer had a few conversations then headed home for bed.
Day 2: The morning breakfast was delicious and completely unexpected! We assumed that the meal would consist of only cereal and coffee, but it was a full spread.
They had these sausage-looking cakes called black pudding that I had eaten at O’Neil’s the day before, and I had found them quite tasty. Fortunately I took one bite and it wasn’t as delectable as the morning before so I didn’t finish it. Well then Jeanne decides to point out that its blood. In disbelief I ask our United Kingdom native tour guide, Emmeline, and she confirms. Needless to say, I won’t be eating one of those again.
We had a full day of sightseeing and adventure ahead of us so the full breakfast was much appreciated. Also, being the college penny-pencher and only wanted to spend money on important things, I suggested that we take some of the breakfast to go for lunch. We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, boiled eggs, fruit, scones, and granola bars.
Our touring of Dublin began with a local guided bus tour. Our local tour guides name was Martin O’Reily (What a non-Irish last name). He was very interesting and knowledgeable, and he stopped at many of the main sights so that we could take photographs. We saw sights like:
– Oscar Wilde’s house
– Molly Malone (who was celibate because she sells-a-bit). Molly Malone was a woman who was thought to be a prostitute, but she would use her income to feed people on the streets.
– The interesting theme in architecture when it comes to the doors of homes in Dublin. They are very colorful and eccentric. They had shops that were purely dedicated to doorknobs and mailbox holes. ADD MORE INFO FROM INTERNET
– St. Patrick’s Cathedral is Dublin’s most well known church. It is built on the actual ground where he had baptized many Irish in Ireland’s conversion from pagan to Christianity. Because the pagans had idolized sun, St. Patrick had tied this into Christianity and created the Keltic Cross. As we were leaving, their choir was preparing for the 11:15 am mass, and their voices were amazing.
– One of the last landmarks we saw was the Remembrance Garden. It was elegant and beautiful. Martin had told us that when Queen Elizabeth visited about three years ago she had climbed the 82 stairs to pay tribute.
The local tour was better than I had expected. Although I would much rather walk and visit all these stops to take photos and explore, it was quite enjoyable to find more background information on the history and interesting anecdotes.
The next scheduled activity was Trinity College and seeing the Book of Kelts. I have to say this was the first uninteresting thing we had seen so far. I understand that the Book of Kelts are some of the oldest preserved manuscripts with very intricate details and paintings, and maybe one day I will be able to say I saw those, but for 9 euros, I believe they would have been much more well spent on Kilhemain Goal than that.
During the local tour, I had circled areas on the map that the LA girls and myself wanted to return and see. We jokingly called me the tour guide. Thank you parents for my wonderful sense of directions. I don’t get lost. We headed back to Oscar Wilde’s statue to take pictures, and they had two columns with some of his infamous quotes like “The is no sin except stupidity.”
The weather this day was beautiful it was sunny and hot. We walked in a corner store for some water and all of the sudden a storm sweeps in forcing us to take shelter in a near by pub, O’Donahough’s. Once the rain had ceased, and the sun was back, we continued our walk past the park where like the French Quarter in New Orleans, artists were selling photos on the iron fences surrounding the parks. They were so talented, and if I didn’t have to worry about packing them I probably would have bought some.
One of the LA girls, Katie, is understatedly obsessed with Diet Coke, and while passing on of the main shopping malls, they were handing out free samples. Obviously she was very excited and it was enjoyable to watch her freaking out reactions.
One of the landmarks that I was told by the “Let Go: Europe 2012” book and also confirmed by Brooke, who had spent last summer here, was a must see was Kilhemain Goal. It was the old jail that was well-known for their ill treatment of prisoners. It was interesting to hear facts about England punishment for the leaders of the rebels in the Easter Revolt in 1900s and the extreme sentencing of petty theft crimes. One 7 year old was whipped in the jail for 7 days and then put in what we would see as a juvenile detention for 6 months just for stealing a loaf of bread. One of the leaders who were sentenced to death by firing squad after the rebellion was allowed to marry his girlfriend the day of his execution. We got to experience a Dublin bus to and from the jail. It was definitely difficult understanding their bus maps, but again the people were so friendly asking a stranger was never a problem.
Thunderroad Café was the place where EF Collegebreak scheduled our welcome dinner. Unfortunately it was a preordered meal that no one had voted for, and it was quite unappetizing. Being that I didn’t want to have any bad reaction from lactose while away, I have decided to stay away from any cream, so I got a different meal from everyone else. It was French fries and a large sausage, which was basically inedible, but knowing I was going on a pub crawl and in need of some substance in my stomach and unwilling to purchase food elsewhere. I forced myself to eat it.
Emmeline, our tour guide, kind of took it upon herself to find a pub-crawl for some of us to experience. For 12 euros we had entrance to 5 bars with 1 half-pint Guinness and 1 shot at the entrance of each bar. Again being lactose, I got special different shots because they were handing out Bailey’s. My first tasted exactly like a yellow snowball. It made me miss Louisiana but just a little. Emmeline was amazing though she stayed till the last of us were leaving, making sure that we were all safely returning home. I’ve decided she was like a mother goose. Like every night out there are a ton of stories, but here are the highlights.
– Met some fellow Americans from New York, some Brazilians, an Australian and New Zealand girl, and some Irish folks
– The fourth bar we attended was the bar where some scenes from P.S. I Love You was filmed.
– We met the guitar player who holds the longest record for playing the guitar. Can you guess how long? 5 days and 18 minutes
We all made it safely home that night and slept amazing.
Day 3: This was a very laid back day. Getting in the last things we want to do before we leave the following morning.
Emmeline set up a short day trip to Glendalough, which was some Monastery ruins 30 minutes away from Bray. They dated back to the 1400s. Seeing the more nature side of Ireland was beautiful. It greatly reminded me of New Zealand, but Ireland doesn’t come close to its beauty.
We ate dinner at White Elephant, which was American cuisine, and I got a burger and it was to die for delicious. Honestly, one of the best burgers I have ever eaten. We called it an early night in preparation of our 6 am bus ride to the ferry to start our way to London.
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P.S. Craic in the title is pronounced as Crack, and it means having a bombing time! Irish talk