After a rough plane trip from Leeds to Dublin Airport, during which Tink almost had a heart attack, we arrived in Ireland ready for a fun weekend. As soon as we stepped out of the airport we were suprised to find that it was a lot colder than it had been in Leeds. We caught an aiport coach to the hostel that we had booked over the internet. By this time we were all so hungry and cold, and just wanted to drop our bags out and head to the pub for a nice warm dinner and some beer. That was a lot easier said than done.. the hostel we arrived at was ridiculous. It had no sign to even show it was a hostel.. seemed more like a house with a lot of beds crammed into spare bedrooms. The man at the reception (if you could call it that) couldn't speak much english, and ignored us as he talked on the phone for the first 5 minutes after we arrived.
Main road in Dublin.
3 of us were then shown to a room that had no lock or key, and had a man asleep in it. Tink and I were then told that there were no beds for us, even though we had our booking confirmation with us. We were told to sit in a freezing cold room (supposedly the warm atmosphere 'common room'), while we waited for him to sort sometihng out. After half an hour, we decided to find a new hostel, as nothing seemed to be progressing with our rooms, and we were tired and hungry.
The new hostel was amazing in comparisson. It was warm, with a proper reception, information about Dublin scattered all over the place, and huge wide staircases leading up to our huge dorm room. We were warned about a strange man staying in our room, but I don't think anything could have dettered us from staying there after the last place.
Trinity College. Not a snake in sight ;)
We dropped our stuff off and quickly bustled off to the pub/restaurant nearby, had a delicious warm dinner followed by a few pints of guinness/cider/smithwick's each, and then stumbled back to the hostel for bed. When we arrived back at our room, we opened the door to find that we had startled the 'strange man' (a fat, 50 year old irish man), who had been looking out the window, and then proceeded to run the length of the room back to his bed with no pants on.
The next morning we enjoyed our complimentary continental breakfast, after being woken up by the wierd man at the end of our beds waving and saying good morning to us. Not exactly the most comforting way to wake up.. but funny nonetheless. We then made our way to the Dublin Tourist Office, where we arranged a bus tour around the city.
Guinness Storehouse tasting lab.
Once again it was freezing cold, and we were all wearing most of the clothes that we had packed for the weekend layered on top of eachother, and we still managed to not be warm. We went to the Guinness Storehouse, which helped a little bit with the cold, where we learnt all about how it is made, and stuffed ourselves at the restaurant, before enjoying our free pints of guinness at the huge circular bar on the top level, which had glass windows and offered a 360 degree view of the city. We then went to Trinity College - the oldest university in Ireland, which had huge beautiful old buildings, lush green grass, and lovely cobble-stoned paths. Jess and Ali decided to look at the Book of Kells
- a book of gospels produced in the 9th century, and kept at the Trinity College Library.
Temple Bar - part of Dublin reknowned for bars pubs and clubs.
After resting our tired bodies at the hostel, we made our way out to 'The Temple Bar', a region of Dublin reknowned for its clubs, pubs and bars. The streets were full of people, including one particularly angry and old transvestite who abused us for standing on her corner, and first, trying to take a photo of her (which we weren't), and then for not wanting to take a photo of her (which we didn't). We had been really excited to meet lots of people our age, as we'd heard that 40% of the irish population is under 25. Either it's an absolute lie, or we were in the totally wrong place, because we would have seen about 3 people under the age of 30 all night. The pubs were literally crammed full of middle-aged people. It was impossible to even move, and not exactly our idea of a good time, as the queues for the bars were huge, you coudn't hear a thing and there wasn't enough room to take off our many layers of clothing after getting inside where it was much warmer.
Jess - Brisbanian, Tink, Ruth - Canadian, and I at Cafe en seine.
We finally found a club/bar called Cafe en seine, which because it was so huge (3 levels), was not as packed as the other places. We paid 5 euros for tequila shots (almost 10 dollars!), but had a great time dancing amongst the oldies on the dancefloor. They may have been old, but they certainly weren't unenthusiastic. Jess was getting thrown around by one particularly agressive woman dancer, and a man in his 30s cleared a circle for himself and then did a strange firedance sort of thing in the middle, before stacking it, much to the amusement of us.
On our way back to the hostel we stopped in at McDonalds to go to the toilets. 2 McFlurries each, and 3 packets of large chips later, we were still in McDonald's and were laughing our heads off at silly things from the night.
Howth - a seaside town in just out of Dublin.
We were even shooshed by some other patrons because we were being too loud (or enjoying ourselves too much).
The next morning we walked through the city and to the dart station. (The Dart is what they call their train). We caught the dart to Howth, where we had heard that there was a very nice walk up a hill/mountain with a pub and a great lookout at the top. When we got off the train it was colder than ever, raining heavily and the wind was so strong. All but 1 of our umbrella's maintained the correct shape during our walk from the station to the nearest pub/restaurant/warm place. Howth is a fishing village just out of Dulbin. The water along the shore was full of all different types of fishing boats, and the houses were really nice and colourful.
Lighthouse in Howth.
While we waited for the weather to calm down, we whiled away a few hours in the cosiest little restaurant that looked right out at the exciting weather, and had a fireplace and delicious food and drinks. After a few rounds of Bailey's Hot Chocolates and Lattes (SO GOOD!), we braved the cold and tore ourselves away from the warmth of inside. We couldn't find the hill we were supposed to climb (and to be honest, didn't look to thoroughly), so took a leisurely stroll out along a pier to the lighthouse. It was very overcast and the sun was getting low in the sky, but it suited the landscape perfectly. By then it was 5 o'clock and it was time to go back to the hostel, and out to the airport to fly back to Leeds.
It was a really fun weekend. Nice to make some good new friends in the girls that we went with, and to see a little bit of Ireland.
The lighthouse and I.
I really liked Dublin, and the Irish people were all so friendly. Only downfall was that it was fairly expensive.. Anyway, I hope to be make it back to Ireland some day and get to see the rest of Ireland, outside of just Dublin. Amsterdam in 2 weeks! Yewwww. x