Leaving England and entering Dublin...the Irish adventure begins!

Dublin Travel Blog

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My hostel Barnacles

The first time that I heard of Ireland was when my mum visited Ireland in 1993. That was the same time that I heard my first Enya record, and was absolutely impressed with her. I'd also heard abou the Blarney Stone. Since then, I always found them a very interesting breed. I'd met many Irish through the years (inc. my dad's boss in Zambia and my 2nd grade teacher Ms.Reade) but had never had an opportunity to visit Ireland.

Cut across to September 2004, I was on a plane headed to Alaska and met these two ladies who'd just returned from Ireland, and couldn't stop raving about it. They spoke about the Ireland green, and said that I'm young, I MUSt go there. So, funny then that I'd originally began planning my August trip as an entire month in Ireland.

entrance to Temple Bar
 That gradually became a fortnight each in Ireland and the UK, and finally Ireland got relegated to one week, and bunged on at the end of the trip. Looking back, I don't know if it was a mistake as I'd think I had the best time of my life these seven days. The crowd I met was very cool, and we bonded so well and I had the best drinks EVER!

Anyways, cut to today - we got up early in the morning, around 4am in London and had to head to Heathrow as my parents' flight back to India was at 7am, and mine at 8am. The Aer Lingus flight was peaceful. I sat next to a bunch of noisy Irishmen who were trying to hit on everyone from the flight attendent to a plastic cup, desparate! But I managed to sleep my way through the one hour flight. The landing was decent, nowhere as dramatic as a Gatwick landing.

Grafton Street
The Dublin airport is rather tiny, but immigration and baggage check was done in a jiffy and I was headed to the bus that would take me to the city (Temple Bar).

I don't know what to make of Dublin so far.... it's kind of different. It doesn't look as active or buzzy as Edinburgh or London. It looked cold and desolate, or perhaps it was a Saturday morning and everyone was still in bed. ;-) The bus stopped off as Temple Bar, but I had such a hard time finding my way into Temple Bar, let alone my hostel Barnacles. Getting lost that early in the morning, and with that stupid duffelbag (with a broken wheel) wasn't the nicest thing for me having had only 3 hrs of sleep the previous night, but this was a nice insight into what Irish people are like.

St.Stephen Greens Shopping Centre
I found myself at the Temple Bar, lost and looking for directions and asked a boy at a store on how to get to my hostel. He wasn't sure, he checked with his manager and they both helped me. So as I walk down the road, this old Irish couple accost me and ask - "did that boy give you the right directions? Maybe we can help you". I was so touched, so amazed and surprised. It's nice that in today's world, you've actually got people that go out of their way to make a connection with other people.

I finally, finally landed at Barnacles, it is very non descript in appearence which you wouldn't think reading its good reviews. Read my review below this entry. It's right next to the legendary pub in Ireland called The Temple Bar.

O'Connell Street
I was welcomed by a rude host who wouldn't give me any information on Dublin, she had a stoic "look at the brochure" answer for everything. Oh well, went to my room (had to carry the bloody thing through the staircase as they have no lifts) but the room as such was grand! A six bunkerbed room, when I walked in, the beds were cluttered with lots of girlie clothes. Lo and behold, LUCKY me - got two really cute Swedish girls as my roomies! <g>  They were both extremely friendly, 16 year olds and just out of high school (and no, I'm not Michael Jackson). Having said that, I must say all you need to give a girl is a bathroom and she fills it with cosmetics. On one hand they had the moisturiser, the lipstick, the nail polish, etc and on the other side you had the nail polish remover, false nail remover, etc.
Panoramic view of River Liffey
My point was "why wear them just to remove them all over again??!". Sheesh!

I dropped my stuff, and went to supposedly the city's hippest street - Grafton Street.

Again, another diasppointment to me. Perhaps I was just tired, I don't know but the street isn't really all that. I window shopped at River Island, and went to St.Stephen Greens Shopping Centre. Nothing fancy here, I've either lost interest in shopping or I'm just bored. Anyway, the nice part about this complex was that it had a Wagamama! I'd always wanted to go to Wagamama based on so much I'd read at TALF, but was unable to in London. So I was glad I could finally go. The place is different, I love how they scribble stuff on your table (your order) and transmit the the order electronically. The food was also good, I just had some noodles.

Got done with lunch, went for another stroll down the street parallel to Grafton, went back to the hostel and actually slept. It was the first time I slept in the noon in so long, guess I really was tired!

Got up in about an hour, and went to O'Connell Street which is on the other side of the Liffey, and as someone described to me, the "poorer cousin of Grafton Street". This was a nice place. Nothing posh, but the same airy feeling I always get whilst at Covent Garden, London. I had an ice cream, went to a mall (Topman) and generally had a good time. The weather was sunny but pleasant.

Got out of the mall and actually got lost (I know, I know, embarassing) and needed to ask someone the way to the Liffey. I met this gentleman of Greek descent, asked him where the Liffey is, and the next thing I know, he and his family (who were also headed that way) actually walked me to the Temple Bar. I love this city! Everyone is so friendly! They were telling me about their life and I was telling them about mine. I stopped by at a souvenir store to buy lots of stuff - magnets, the shamrock, figurines, the works.

Got back to the hostel by around 8pm. Dinner was had in Temple Bar, at a local Indian resnt (run by Pakistanis, LOL) which was really, really good. I went to bed that night really early, by 10pm. For a hostel so centrally located, one would've thought it would've been a nightmare trying to get sleep on Saturday nights with sleepless drunks below, but surprisingly not. The hostel was pin drop silent, I was very impressed.

My only concern was.... what do I do t'row? I was not impressed so far with Dublin. I had to reach for my DK book to find things to do for Sunday. Precious little even there...

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My hostel Barnacles
My hostel Barnacles
entrance to Temple Bar
entrance to Temple Bar
Grafton Street
Grafton Street
St.Stephen Greens Shopping Centre
St.Stephen Greens Shopping Centre
OConnell Street
O'Connell Street
Panoramic view of River Liffey
Panoramic view of River Liffey
Dublin Hostels review
I spent 3 nights in total in the Barnacles. Everything was excellent - the location was easy to find, very clean facilities, en suite bathrooms, comfo… read entire review
Dublin
photo by: fransglobal