This week’s weekend adventure was going to the capital of Ireland, Dublin!
Heather and I took the 9:00 am Friday bus to Dublin, and arrived at around noon. After getting lost for about an hour on what should have been a 20 minute walk to our hotel, we finally settled in to the gorgeous O’Callaghan Mont Clare hotel. My roommate turned out to be in Poland and skipping this trip, so I got the room all to myself! (I indulged in this freedom by taking 5 baths in the span of 3 days, the next time I have access to a bathtub won’t be until Budapest). We headed out with the rest of the IFSA-Butler Study Abroad group to a 3 course meal and wonderful play. At first I disliked the play, because it seemed slow and heavy handed, but as I started to accept that it was meant to be a traditional Irish parable, and the bluntness and cliched nature of the plot was due to the fact that is was very old, not because it was poorly written. After the play I headed home exhausted, although I made sure to observe the local nightlife, even if I wasn’t participating.
IFSA-Butler gave each of us a free bus ticket that looped around the city, so Deanna, Heather, and I took it to the Guinness Storehouse.
The storehouse was significantly more fun than I expected, and we spent about two hours exploring the different exhibits (that were both informative and fun), as well as participating in the ‘Guinness Tasting Experience’ (where I found out it was not a drink I think I will ever partake in again).
I also learned how to pour my own pint (tilt the glass 45 degrees, aim at the harp, fill to the bottom of the words, tilt the glass up, let rest, then top it off). What I didn’t know was that in order to get the foamy top, Guinness actually loads their taps with nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
After the Guinness experience, we sought out a nice pub to relax in, and watch the rugby match of Ireland versus Italy while eating steak and guinness pie (I felt so Irish!)
After being fed and watered, we headed over to the Gaol, a historical Irish Prison that was one of the first to use the idea of ‘one man one cell’ that is so common today for reform. Before that point, prisoners were put into large rooms were they were allowed to freely mingle.
Day 3 started with a bath and a lazy brunch downstairs of irish bacon, white pudding, and delicious baked goods (I love when IFSA pays for our meals). I then set out on a 3 hour walking tour around Dublin, hitting places such as Christ Church, Stephen’s Green, and Temple Bar. Our guide was ridiculously funny and charming, and I happily soaked in all the tales he had to tell of the history of Ireland.
Since I had eaten such a late breakfast, I chose to wander the quirky Temple Bar while the rest of the group ate lunch. As stated by their website, Temple Bar is one of the oldest parts of Dublin. The city of Dublin, as we know it, was born in and around Temple Bar. Some of the earliest Temple Bar residents that we know about were Vikings and the area is rich in Viking and medieval history and culture, including early urban design and planning.
After the tour, I went straight back to the hotel and snagged the 3 pm bus with Heather back to Cork. On the way to the stop, there were a group of Irish protesters literally holding up all the traffic on that particular street, protesting the fact that the Irish now have to pay property taxes. Quite an interesting and contemporary end to my journey after spending the whole weekend in the fairytale world of tourism and history, rather than truths that face Dublin today.