Emily and I departed from London early on Thursday morning. We landed in Dublin and met our friend Erica at the airport (she had been in Paris with some of our other friends and decided to meet us in Dublin for the remainder of the week).
I immediately found the Irish to be very nice people. Our cab driver from the airport was nice, the man and woman working the desk at our hostel were nice… They were just all-around nice people. It was English-speaking country number two of our break, and we were enjoying being able to (generally) understand everyone (through their thick accents..).
We started by taking a walk around for a bit until we were able to check into our hostel (check-in time was 2:00 P.M.). We walked down O’Connell St. and around to the shopping district, stopping in a used book store on our way. Then we headed back to our hostel and checked in.
After checking our email briefly, we decided to go and find St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Since Dublin is not very large, we were able to find it relatively quickly. Emily went in, while Erica and I decided to walk around the park next to the church for a bit. I felt that I had seen my fair share of cathedrals in Europe and I didn’t really feel like paying €8 to get a look at the inside of this one.
Afterward, we warmed up in a cafe before going to adventure some more. Our next destination was Dublin Castle.
That photo shows only part of Dublin Castle. Most of it burned down in the 1700’s and have rebuilt it many times since. We were more interested in the gardens next to the castle:
It was starting to get dark, so we got some dinner and I turned in for the night.
The next day was a rainy one, which is why I decided against bringing my camera. There wasn’t really much to photograph anyway. Though we checked the weather before we left Rome, and even checked the night before at our hostel, the weatherman was proved wrong yet again.
I started my day with a hot towel shave. It was probably one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done. Basically, they massage shaving cream onto your face, then put a hot, wet towel on your face to open your pores, pass over your skin with a razor once, put another hot towel on, then pass over with a razor again, then a last hot towel. Then they put a cold towel, aftershave, talcum powder… And you’re done! It was kind of scary, but I think it helped my skin, especially since it’s so sensitive.
After that, we started the day off with some Starbucks and then decided to make our way to Trinity College, Dublin’s most famous university. It has a huge history and it was cool to think about that. I was most excited about the used book sale that was going on in one of the auditoriums. We didn’t really see much else of the university but the library where the Book of Kells is kept. They charged admission, and since Erica and I didn’t really mind not seeing it, we waited for Emily while she went to see it.
Afterward, we went to a wool shop. They had pretty much anything wool that you could ever want. My mom would have been in heaven. After that, Emily, Erica and I split ways. We decided that some time to ourselves would be best since we all wanted to do different things. Erica and I shopped for a while and just walked around before heading back to our hostel.
We met up with Emily a few hours later and got dinner at a pub. Emily and I got Shepherd’s pie and Erica got the Irish stew (stew with lamb), all of which were served with Irish Soda Bread. The Shepherd’s pie was delicious and is definitely something I’d eat again.
Saturday morning, we got up early to take a tour of the Irish countryside. The tour was around €20 and lasted pretty much all day. Our tour was also conducted on a large van, rather than a charter bus, so we were able to access parts of the countryside that buses simply were not able to reach. Our tour guide was an older Irishman that was hilarious. His voice commanded our attention and he was very knowledgeable about many thing on our tour.
Unfortunately for us, it rained on and off throughout out entire tour. But apparently this was to be expected.
We would periodically stop and everyone would pile out of the van and follow our tour guide. For being older, he was very sure of his feet, while I slipped quite a few times to Erica’s delight.
Around lunch time, we stopped at a pub in a small town in the countryside for lunch. I had some great vegetable soup and a dessert called “Death by Chocolate.” It was really, really good. After an hour’s time, we were back on the road.
The last stop on our tour included a walk around two beautiful lakes and a brief tour of the ruins of one of the first Christian churches and cemeteries.
The upper lake was much larger than the lower lake. We didn’t have enough time to walk all the way around it, unfortunately.
When we got back, we each split ways again. Emily and I decided to go souvenir shopping while Erica searched for an adequate sushi place. We met up later at our hostel to discuss plans for our departure back to Rome.
In the morning, we all got up and got ready for the day. We had a few hours before we had to catch a cab to get to the airport, so we decided to walk to a park that Erica and I had found on Friday. The park was called St. Stephen’s Green. It had a few ponds, tons of birds and greenery and a play area for children. We just walked around and took our time to enjoy it, as it was a nice, sunny day.
After hanging out in the park for a few hours, we grabbed lunch and then started our journey back to Rome.
In all, I really enjoyed Dublin. The people were nice, they used a currency we were familiar with (the Euro) and the countryside was beautiful. I would definitely visit again.
Let me just end this by apologizing (again) for my lack of updates. I plan to update tomorrow or Sunday about the trip that I took last weekend to Helsinki, so keep a look out!