After driving in Ireland for the past five days Angie and I were ready to be stationary for the next two days before flying home. Driving in Ireland can be very stressful and being stuck in a car day after day can make you stir crazy even though the views are fabulous. I am hyper; I can’t sit still for long! So I was ready for Dublin!
But before we could get to our hotel, we had to drop off our rental car. That was a fiasco as the traffic to Dublin on the M50 was a mess.
I realize most cities at rush hour are bad, but the M50 was under construction in parts and everything was at a crawl. I had been warned that would happen, but I had my doubts. I live in NYC, now that is traffic. I was wrong! Dublin isn’t the largest city, but it has the traffic of one.
The Dublin Spire
We ended up getting lost 5 times trying to find the Atlas Car Rental drop off site and were happy to find it after looking for an hour. It was finally time to ditch the vehicle. So with suitcases in had we headed onto bus 41 to O’Connell Street.
As we got off of the bus we were happy to see that the sun was burning brightly and that we were right next to the Information Center.
From there, we grabbed a map and headed to Bloom’s Hotel in the Temple Bar District.
As we were crossing the Liffey, I was excited to see that Dublin was a very attractive city, though a lot smaller than I had expected. From what I could see this wasn’t a city of skyscrapers and gaudy neon signs, in fact many of Europe’s major cities don’t appear to be into skyscrapers as they have so many historical buildings they don’t need anything like that.
After about a 7 minute jaunt, we were at Temple Bar and I have to say it was pretty sweet. It reminded me a lot of the Village in NYC with a lot of young hip types hanging out in coffee bars and cafes, with lots of interesting restaurants and shops here and there. From what I understand Temple Bar District is the medieval section of Dublin and has the cobblestone to prove it! I love cobblestone, but with suitcases and narrow sidewalks, it was an adventure.
Still I was happy that we had chosen this locale.
While researching our trip Angie and I had decided that we didn’t really care about being in a great hotel as we knew we would hardly even be there. So online we spotted a good deal at Bloom’s Hotel. Bloom’s Hotel wasn’t bad as it was clean, though the room was a little dark as there wasn’t a lot of lighting and one of the light bulbs had burned out. The shower was a decent size which is hard to find in Ireland, so it was all good.
After checking in, we grabbed some much needed coffee and were ready to check out Dublin. I know it is touristy but we decided to try out the Hop and Stop. The reason was, it wasn’t badly priced and you could stop at all the main attractions in Dublin and get a history lesson to boot.
I have never done this before, but I was strangely looking forward to it as they have them in NYC and I always find myself waving at the people on top of the buses from the street.
Way to Go Ireland! Hoping This Comes to the US Soon!
The barker saw us reading the sign and cut us a deal if we got on at that time. An even better price! So we agreed and hopped on. A side note. Half of the tours are going to audio tours and they suck. Half the time the sound doesn’t even work. My advice is wait until there is a live tour guide as they have better information and add a lot of humor; Irish style. The guy we had originally was named Edward and he was joking around the whole time. I didn’t learn as much as I did the next day with the women tour guide, but he made me laugh. I really hope Dublin doesn’t end up getting rid of all the live tour guides as that is what makes the trip.
A Lovely Street Scene in Dublin
Angie was really excited about seeing the Guinness Store. I don’t drink beer myself and am more of a fan of the historical sites and parks, but I am a team player, so I figured, why not? So we hopped off at the lucky number thirteen stop (along with half the bus) and we were off. The line getting in was crazy! I can’t believe this many people were interested in the history of Guinness. Also, I was surprised to see that the price was pretty high to get in and even worse if you are on the US Dollar. I ended up paying $21.00 for the tour. Again, I hate beer! Yikes!
After we purchased our tickets, we were greeted by a tour guide who gave us the general information about Guinness and how he built the company and what we would find within the building.
After that introduction, he disappeared, it turned out that there are no tour guides at Guinness and you are on your own.
I don’t really recall much that grabbed me about the Guinness Tour, except that the beer waterfall was pretty cool and served as a wishing well of sorts. I am always up for a good wish, but realized the lowest coin I had was a 1 Euro piece. That puppy wasn’t going anywhere, so Angie and I pulled out one American penny apiece and made a wish and flipped it into the waterfall. A wish is a wish no matter what currency you use, but I know someone would be hating on us later when they were collecting the money.
In fact I think Guinness was hating us now, because every floor we were on we would run in to the is group of older women who were just mean vile people. They would bump into people, sneer, get in the way of people’s photos and glare at the person taking the photo as if it was there fault and just acted plain rude.
They were acting as if they were royalty and the rest if us mere peons. Try as we might to avoid these women we couldn’t!
We got to the 3rd or 4th floor and I was happy to see they had shot glasses full of Guinness beer to tide you over until the Gravity Bar. I had never had Guinness before, as again, I hate beer! Why? I had a bad experience once that even 20 years of counseling could never erase. Most people have a tequila story they tell you to explain why they can’t ever drink it again. Mine is a beer story and just as tragic. But after spotting the vile women again (who again were causing a scene), I decided I needed some liquor; stat.
So up to the counter I went to sample my first Guinness.
Angie will drink beer and she downed it. I stared at the head of foam and thick black beer in horror for a few moments. This wasn’t a drink; this was a meal, one that I don’t think I wanted to sample. Finally I took the plunge! Okay, it wasn’t as bad as I had expected, but it was still yucky for a non beer drinker. The foam was thick like whipped cream, but not as happy. Angie laughed as I grimaced to get it down. I quickly grabbed a stick of gum to clean my palette and we were on our way. But not before we ran into the women again! How was this possible, they had 5 minutes on us!
We finally found some solace in the interactive room, which wasn’t that great anyway as it tells you the effect that liquor has on all of your major organs, what a deal breaker! Yes, I know liquor isn’t good for you, but I don’t need to hear and see in detail that it can kill every organ in your body in a horrific way! What a buzz kill this was as we hadn’t even hit the Gravity Bar yet.
But that would soon change as we decided that Gravity Bar would be our next stop. Angie turned in her ticket to get her “free” Guinness. I on the other hand passed as my first experience was less than stellar. I wanted a juice, but the closest thing they have is an Orange Fanta. I don’t really drink soda, especially anything orange flavor, but ended up with a coke anyway as they didn’t have anything else but beer and soda.
The Gravity bar is pretty cool as it is an all glass observation deck that gives you a nice view of Dublin. There isn’t a lot of seating, so we stood by the window and took a few cheesy photos. We were laughing and having a great time until we turned and were face to face with the vile women.
They were shoving people to get into seats and forcing people out. VILE! Many people turned to look over at them in disgust, we weren’t the only ones, trust me. After spending 30 minutes in the Gravity Bar, we knew this was an omen and we needed to leave.
But first it was time to hit the Ladies Room before we continued exploring Dublin. We both exited our stall only to find the Vile Women had come in and taken over the whole sink counter with their makeup and hairspray and were screeching at each other. Both Angie and I stared at each other in disbelief, no way! They wouldn’t move their stuff and were piling on the make up. I was not leaving without washing my hands and forced my way in. After we were done, Angie and I ran to the stairwell and booked down the stairs as fast as we could laughing the whole way, the experience was so wrong that it was right! I think I might have broken the world record for sprinting!
As we hit the back door we took a deep breath and began the journey back to the Temple Bar District.
It was a beautiful day, just perfect for exploring and the best part was we were free from the Vile Women!
After checking out some various sites such at the Dublina, Angie and I headed out to find somewhere to eat that was relatively cheap but not scary. We settled on an India restaurant that had a fixed meal. The food was really great! The only thing was that it was extremely hot! I would take a few bites and then down water. At least I hit my 8 glass water quota for the day…
After dinner, I realized that I was coming down with something as my throat was sore and I had a slight stomach problem (this was prior to the Indian meal mind you). We had a free entrance to Club M as it is attached to the Bloom’s Hotel and all guests of the hotel get free admission.
Angie was concerned that I should stay in for the night as it would probably be dead since it was a Sunday night. But I told her that drinking would probably kick it right out, if it didn’t explode my heart first (thanks, Guinness tour)!
The Best Exit Signs, Ever!
So after getting dressed up, Angie and I threw on an overcoat and were on our way to experience Dublin night life. Temple Bar District is known for it partying, but we had decided to only stay out until 2AM. When we left it was 11PM and pretty quiet. There were some street performers and tourists taking their photos, a nice scene. But when we turned the corner the next thing I knew, it was pure chaos! We heard yelling and people slamming their fists on the glass of the pub above us. We looked up to see two guys with beers pretending to lick the glass and were motioning for us to come up.
I Love This Building, Except That it Has a Friday's Attached...
We hurried off only to be accosted by a man who may have been homeless. He started hooting and hollering and trying to hit on us. It didn’t stop there, we walked back into our hotel to get away from him and he came in and tried to follow us back into the lobby, screaming that he loved the ladies. Uh, okay…maybe I should be flattered, but I was a little confused as these incidents had happened within the span of 60 seconds. One of the guys at the hotel had to throw the guy out into the street. I want to clarify that both Angie and I were completely covered, there was no skin showing as it was very chilly!
We sat down for a moment and looked at each other and laughed. I have lived in NYC for a few years and I have never seen anything like this happen; ever.
Yes, you get weirdos, please it is New York City, it breeds them, but they don’t normally swarm in the span of one minute. So we waited for five minutes before we ventured back out to head to Club M.
Pretty Darn Cool
Club M looked like a standard club, it was a decent set up and there was a decent amount of people there for a Sunday night. We were pretty stoked to find a table near the dance floor and were even more stoked to know that the drinks were 3.00 Euro all night! It pays to drink on Sunday!
The music was not really my type. Techno is pretty popular in Europe and so I wasn’t shocked to hear it being played. I have to say I have never been a huge fan of techno music as it doesn’t have enough substance for me.
But apparently it wasn’t just us as, nobody was dancing at all, except for a guy and girl that were trying to “pop” to the music. For those who don’t know, popping is a form of street dance that began in California. Street dance is popular in NYC and you can see it at the 42nd Street stop day and night and in the summer street performers are performing it everywhere so I am use to seeing a lot of levels of street dance. Many of them are amazing and fun to watch as you pass by.
Angie Looks Real Excited at Club M
Well, when these two hit the floor people seemed confused and kept staring at them. I kept staring because they were executing the moves incorrectly as they were very sloppy. I will give them kudos for being confident and performing by themselves as nobody else would dance, but their moves needed serious work.
After an hour and three vodkas Angie and I scoped the room again, it was really filling up, but hardly anybody was dancing.
I think it was because the music was so bad! I told Angie after number five I was hitting the floor no matter what was playing as I had to dance the liquor off. She agreed. But before we met that goal, we met a local from Dublin. From what I could tell he wasn’t much of a dancer though he liked to drink. I think he was a bit tipsy but very funny. He tried to convince is he was older and played for the Saints, an American Football team, yet 20 minutes later he admitted he had never been to America. Also, some of his facts on Football were off. I think he figured as a woman I wouldn’t know much about football, he was wrong.
Way Too Much Craic in Dublin!
He also discussed American stereotypes and how many were true. It was interesting as many of them are not true or are by region, but he had a bit too much to drink and wasn’t really getting what I was saying.
Still he was a very funny nice guy so we enjoyed talking to him. Finally Angie and I were getting ready to dance but as soon as we stood up, the lights went on. Apparently the club closes early on Sunday so after another half an hour we were forced out and hit the street. By the time we got to bed it was around 4:30AM, so much for an early night.
The Entrance to the Kilmainham Gaol
We decided before we went to bed that we would get up around 11AM to go sightseeing. That dream was dashed as were greeted with the sound of construction from the room under us. Yep, full on demolition at 9AM after drinking the night before. Beautiful! Well, at least we would be getting an early start to seeing Dublin.
Our main goal for the day was to see the Kilmainham Gaol a prison located in Inchicore, Dublin.
This is a very historic jail as it housed many leaders of Irish rebellions and many were executed here, including the leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916. Kilmainham Gaol was built in 1796 to replace the old jail. Men, women and children were all put into cells together as there was no segregation within the jail. During the Potato Famine, many people committed petty crimes so that they could get in to the Gaol as they would be guaranteed at least a little to eat rather than starve.
The Catholic Church at Kilmainham Gaol
You only get to see a little bit of the Gaol as it is very old and some areas are not in the best of shape. Also, it does get very chilly so unless it is summer, you may want to bring a sweater or coat.
This was defiantly one of my favorite spots in Dublin. The history and structure of the Gaol is amazing and worth seeing for sure.
Also, it is pretty cheap (5 Euros) and very informative. I would recommend Kilmainham to anyone who enjoys history and the culture of Dublin.
The Victorian Section of the Kilmainham Gaol
After the Gaol, we were happy to see that the weather was still fantastic and decided to take in more of Dublin by foot. Angie wanted to stop by Jameson as her father is into it, so she wanted gifts for him. Luckily we weren’t going to tour it, I like whiskey; I like it a lot, but not enough to take a tour. I was ready to hit a few parks and churches because the weather was so amazing, but first we needed to grab a bite to eat.
I know it is wrong, but while in Dublin we opted to eat fresh while we were there.
That could only mean one thing; Subway. Now, I know it’s wrong to eat at an American franchise while overseas, but after renting a car, getting fuel and eating every meal out the exchange rate was killing us slowly and Subway was reasonable and everywhere.
The Cell Block at the Kilmainham
While in Subway we learned three things, in Ireland it is SOOB-wey not Sub-wey. Also, wearing a t-shirt with a certain four letter word that starts with an F in large letters is more than acceptable and loved by many. Lastly, everything is the same as it is in America except that that they don’t use deli mustard. In fact, they don’t really use mustard at all! I am a huge fan of mustard as I am not a fan of mayo. The first Subway we ate at had honey mustard that was more honey than anything and was way too sweet for a sandwich.
The second Subway actually had French’s Mustard which is big in the US. I was shocked! When I asked for it the women making my sandwich she looked confused. Apparently, nobody asks for it, but let me tell you I was thrilled!
The Irish Flag at the Gaol
Another interesting side not: The Irish love “garlic” on their fries or sandwiches in Dublin. This confused me at first as I would never think of garlic as a condiment, but I would be wrong. It turns out garlic is a sauce consisting of mayo with garlic and possibly salt. By the end of the trip, I did try it on fries just to see what the hype was. It wasn’t really for me, but at least I tried it.
After lunch, we decided to check out the Trinity College and its ground.
It was very pretty, though the brick area gave me flashbacks to Madrid, but on a smaller less crowded scale. It really looked like the Plaza Mayor, though the rest of the structure was completely different. Also, the grounds were beautiful! Near the library was an emerald green lawn that had a maze pattern in it. That kept me amused for a good ten minutes! Surrounding the lawns are large buildings painted bright primary colors. This place was amazing!
The Site of Executions at the Gaol
After about an hour exploring this area, Angie and I headed to some stores to buy a few trinkets. When we got to the shopping area, we were surprised to see that everything was starting to close and it was only 6PM! That is crazy talk! So unfortunately, I was disappointed not to get anything from this trip.
I usually like to get a ring, necklace or piece of clothing, but the only clothing shops that were open didn’t have what I was looking for. Still the main shopping area had a cool vibe to it and I enjoyed my time there regardless
Plaza Mayor? Nope!
It was starting to get late, but we both wanted to see St. Stephen’s Green, before we left as we had been told it was the most beautiful park in the city. You know, it really was! Because it was spring, there were bright flowers everywhere! The weekend before I came to Ireland I had visited Central Park in NYC to get some nature and let me tell you, there was no comparison. St. Stephen’s is so clean it is unreal. What I like about Dublin is that people respect their parks and don’t litter and destroy it. There were people of all ages and types partaking in the great weather and sitting on benches and lawns reading or talking to friends.
The Guard Needed the Restroom So I Helped Him Out!
Angie and I ended up next to an older Irish gentleman. What I love about the Irish, especially the older generation is that they love to get to know people. At first our accents got in the way, but we both slowed down and it was smooth sailing from there. He was very curious about America and how the different regions varied from each other. He then mentioned how he wanted to visit Texas. I found that odd as most people would rather visit New York, Florida or California, though I encourage people to see the other areas as well. He asked me if I had ever been there and I told him that I hadn’t but it was on my list. The reason he waned to know was because he had recently bought the Dallas DVD set.
I was confused at first.
Primary Colors Rule!
“Dallas the city?”
“No, the one with J.R. Ewing.”
“Oh, the show from the 80’s?” I asked confused
“Yes, do you like it?”
I had to be honest with the guy I had never seen it before, though it is on Soap Network late at night, I think.
“No, but I think someone shot J.R. Right?" I really don't know anything about this show, so I couldn't help him out. At least I wouldn't be spoiling anything for him.
St. Stephen's Green
The gentleman was very excited because both of the actors, J.R and his TV wife would be visiting Dublin in a couple weeks and tickets were very hard to get but he had friends who might be able to get some. I loved this guy; I was smiling the whole time I was talking to him. I asked if he had ever been to the US and he told me he hadn’t. In fact, he had lived in Dublin his whole life and had only left twice, the first time when he was 45 to visit Paris. I asked if he had liked it and he told me he did, but after two days he couldn’t wait to get back to Dublin.
Spring Has Sprung at St. Stphen's Green
He had also been to England as well, but the longer he was away from it the more he wanted to come back to Dublin.
“Dublin is like that you know, you can’t leave for long.”
Very true, as we said our goodbyes and we headed back to the hotel I was already planning my next trip to Ireland in depth. I had been there a week, but I still felt as if I hadn’t seen anything! But until my return, I had great memories, tons of photos and an Irish cold that would follow me back to NYC and last for five full days! Thanks, Dublin!