P.S. Ireland, I love you
This past weekend, I grabbed my rain boots and rain jacket and headed to one of the rainiest parts of the world (no, not Forks you Twihards). I took my second trip to Dublin, Ireland. After the whole Brussels fiasco, I was praying that we did everything right this time and can apply the lessons that we learned. We had a 10:00 am flight on Friday morning. We slept through most of the plane ride…until our pilot informed us of extreme winds and to expect a bumpy landing. At first, I thought nothing of this because I could handle a little bumpy ride. Boy, I was wrong. I have never experienced a flight that rowdy before! Once we landed, I thought the worst part was over. Again, I was wrong. Before I could even step foot in Dublin, I almost blew away. I never experienced winds like that before! We all found it very comical as we basically flew inside Dublin’s airport. Welcome to Dublin!
At the airport, we hopped on a bus that took us to downtown Dublin. Once we got off the bus, it was so refreshing to see our hostel across the bridge. From that point on, I knew the trip was going to be smooth sailing and not to worry about a 240 euro cab ride again. This was my first hostel experience and I was looked forward to seeing the 10 other “roommates”. When we entered our room, we were surprised to see an older woman sleeping the afternoon away. We quietly dropped our stuff and went to explore the city!
While walking the streets of Dublin, it was very refreshing to be in a city! Although Rome has an urban atmosphere, it has so much culture and history. Dublin was a really modern city and it reminded me of being in New York or Chicago. Shops, restaurants and pubs filled the streets of Dublin. Based on the amount of pubs everywhere, I knew that we were going to have a fun night. After exploring a little bit, we decided to go back to our hostel and ask the receptionist for a traditional Irish meal. It was so refreshing to speak English! I forgot how easy it was to ask for directions and I was relieved to know that people actually understood what I was saying. The receptionist directed us to this restaurant called The Lotts and I was excited to order my first Irish meal.
I have not heard the best things about Irish food, but I am here to put that rumor to rest. Maybe I have reached my pasta limit, but Irish food is amazing! I ordered a sandwich and had the most amazing roasted vegetable soup ever! I know it may not be the most traditional, but after eating nothing but Italian food for a month it was exactly what I wanted. With our meal, I ordered my very first Guinness! As most of you know, it is a very dark beer and a little bitter, but very, very smooth!
After dinner, we decided to take place in a pub crawl. It was a good idea because we were there for such a short time and we wanted to explore, as much the city has to offer! For our benefit, we arrived at the starting point late and avoided paying the fee. It was great way to meet people! Throughout the different bars, we made friends with other study abroad students and locals. Each bar looked similar on the outside, but they had their own theme on the inside. A couple even played live music! At one of the stops, I found my new favorite beer ever. It was a strawberry beer and it blew OGBH’s Raspberry Wiess away (shout out to all my Milwaukeers!). As soon as the barcrawl was over, we decided to call it a night and mentally prepare ourselves for a full day of sightseeing.
Like Brussels, we purchased another bus tour to guide us through the city. Since I was not feeling too good this morning, sightseeing from the bus sounded perfect. It was another hop on and hop off tour, so we decided to ride it once through, then get off at the stops we wanted to spend more time at. Another good reason about being on the bus was that it rained the entire time! The rain did not stop from Friday night and continued till Sunday when we left! Due to the rain, our pictures did not turn out as good as I would of liked, but oh well!
The first stop we jumped off at was the Kimainham Jail. I have never been in a jail before, but I was excited to see what this was like. Our tour guide was a traditional Irishman with a thick Gallic accent. It was very hard to understand him, but I live in Italy and not understanding people is something that I have acquired to. Even though the jail was really creepy, I am glad that we stopped there. It was so cool to hear all of the different stories about all of the sacrifices individuals made for their family. However, listening to the tour made me miss being a tour guide!
The next stop we made was the Jameson Distillery. On this tour, we learned what it takes to make whisky and even a brief history lesson about the Jameson family. I learned that Jameson was not made in Dublin anymore. It recently moved to Northern Ireland, but it used to be made at that same location! At the end of the tour, we sampled our very own glass of Jameson. Each person had the choice to have Jameson and Cranberry (traditional way to drink it in Ireland), Jameson and Gingerale (London’s favorite), or Jameson and Coke (many different countries). Each one of us picked a different flavor and the Jameson and gingerale turned out to be my favorite!
Once we left the distillery, we stopped to take pictures at many of the famous sights including; The Temple Bar, Trinity College, Dublin’s castle (if you can call it that), Guinness Factory and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Despite the non-stop rain, everything Win Dublin was gorgeous! It was a very clean city filled with the nicest people.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
The group inside the Guinness Factory
After we were done on the bus tour, we did a little souvenir shopping. My favorite purchase was my gold Claddagh ring. It is absolutely beautiful and I am so happy that I purchased it. I am sure most of you know the significance behind it, but it is cool to own something that is so traditional and classic. Now that everyone was wearing their new jewelry, we were ready to eat our last Irish meal. We walked around for what it seemed like forever and finally decided on a place that was right next to our hostel. Based on the outer appearance of the restaurant, I was pleasantly surprised to find out how cute it was! What looked like a little hole in the wall pub was a traditionally decorated Irish restaurant. I ordered the classic fish and chips and it was seriously amazing! I could eat that every day for the rest of my life! After we were done eating, I said goodbye to Dublin and was ready for a goodnights sleep.
Overall, I really liked Dublin. It is very similar to America, which is so comforting. It is amazing that most of the stereotypes I had about the Irish were actually true. Most people do have red hair, talk in a Gallic accent and are ALWAYS drinking beer. Let it be known that the people in Ireland do like to have a good time and if you leave this country unsatisfied with the nightlife, it is your own fault. I wish that I could of seen more of the greenery and especially where p.s. I love you was filmed. But I know that I will make sure I come back to see more of Northern Ireland at some point. For now, the taste of Dublin was just as satisfying (if not more) then as my Guinness.
P.s. (Ireland), I love you.