Down Deep in Dublin
While in Ireland, the one place you MUST go to is Dublin. I was there last weekend with the Americans and it was one of the best weekends I have ever had. I thought Belfast was great but I never knew what exactly I was missing. The amount of history in one city, combined with the festive night life makes it one of the best cities in the world. I wish I could have spent more than just two days there because there is so much I did not get to see.
When we first arrived in Dublin after checking into the hotel, we had a pretty early dinner scheduled at this restaurant called Le Bon Crubeen. The food was good but it took an hour or so to get everybody’s order to the tables. I was getting pretty impatient because I had just sat on a bus for two and half hours without having lunch beforehand. After dinner, we rushed a few blocks down the road to the Abbey Theatre to see a play called Sive. I will admit that I started to fall asleep at some parts… but that is not to say it is a bad play! I was just tired from the long journey down. Once we left the theatre, a couple guys and I decided to have our own little pub crawl. We went to three different pubs around the city to experience what a real Irish pub was like. “When in Ireland, do as the Irish!” We ended the night by heading back to our first pub and meeting up with some of the other Americans that came down later that evening. As exhausting as the trip down was, it was nice to relax with everybody.
Saturday was our big exploration day. We woke up early enough to catch breakfast and go about our day in due time. We first went to Trinity College to see the Old Library and the Book of Kells. I enjoyed seeing the Library because it was just row upon row of books and the fact there have been 200,000 books there for over 150 years is astonishing. When we were done going through the Library, we started walking through the city to see which churches we could find. We stumbled upon Dublin Castle, but only stayed long enough to get a few pictures. We eventually found the Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. These churches are absolutely massive and have been standing for around 1000 years. After we went to the churches, we made our way to Porterhouse Central to watch the rugby match between Ireland and Italy with some friends. It was probably one of the best moments I have had since being in Ireland. The atmosphere was unreal. Mostly everybody in there was wearing an Irish jersey and was yelling at all the different TVs that were showing the game. It reminded me of back home when everybody wears Seahawk jerseys on Sundays. We stayed for a couple hours and threw back a couple pints each to properly enjoy the match. When the match was over, we went to dinner some place around the corner with Eibhlin and some of her friends (Eibhlin is one of our Irish coordinators that help plans some of the events). We ended that night similar to how we did the night before; we went back to the hotel to change and made our way to Temple Bar. Temple Bar was quite the experience. There were tons of international people and just bar after bar on every corner. Our group ended up getting split but that did not stop us! We spent a little bit time there but called it a night relatively early. We were pretty tired from walking around the city all day.
Sunday was probably the most relaxed day we had. We were unable to go to the Guinness Storehouse the day before so we decided to go before our bus left that afternoon. The streets leading up to the Storehouse and the walls around the factory were really neat. The self-guided tour is very well laid out. You start out at the bottom where you can see the original 9,000 year lease that Arthur Guinness signed and work your way up the seven floors. At one point, we learned how to pour a perfect pint and finished it by sitting atop the Gravity Bar, located on the seventh floor, looking out over the city of Dublin. It was a pretty surreal experience to actually have a Guinness at the place it has been brewed for around 250 years. That is the definition of the Dublin experience if there ever was one! After having our drinks, we made our way back to the hotel so we could catch the bus back.
The weekend was short, but absolute class. If I had to rank it, it would probably be somewhere in my top 10 greatest weekends ever. Just the fact that I got to go to Dublin, see some of the oldest churches in the world, and enjoy Guinness with some amazing people is perfect in itself. Add in all the stories that were shared and the memories that were made and that is what places it so high up on my list. I sometimes think what my experience abroad would have been like if I chose to go to Dublin instead of Belfast. I do not regret coming here one bit, I love it. But I also would have had an awesome time if I had chosen to go to Dublin. They are very different cities and should not be compared to one another. I cannot wait to show my parents around when they come to visit next month!