Dublin - The City of Surprises
July 14th, 2009 - July 17th, 2009
I decided to make Dublin my first trip because I worked at the Casino in Canada and knew some people from there.
They'd been living in Ireland the past two years and this was the first opportunity I had to visit with them. I stayed in a hostel in Temple Bar which is right on the River Liffey. It was incredible to see the fine Georgian architecture that engulfs the city from Trinity College to the tourist information center. Visitors from North America can truly appreciate the coble streets and the stone buildings from Ireland. It sure is more refreshing then pavement and concrete. It was very exciting to see a local friend play in a traditional Irish band, including some old Celtic songs. To make the most of my day I got a stop and go bus pass which proved to come in handy. I visited the magnificent Christ Church Cathedral and, my personal favorite.
Dublinia where I learned about the Viking influence on the country. I even met a Viking silversmith who used real Viking tools and techniques to craft Viking coins and jewelry. I negotiated a trade to buy a silver bracelet he had just finished creating, Viking style. After that I was off to the famous Guinness Factory to see how Guinness is brewed from hops and barley and learn of the clever business genius Arthur Guinness. He signed a contract with the city of Dublin to lease land for 9000 years paying only L45 a year including the high quality Dublin water supply. The next place I visited on this trip was Old Jameson Distillery on the other side of the Liffey to see how Irish Whiskey is created. They roast the barley by using layered heat room stoves, using one room to layout all the barley and below they use coal to cook the barley, without giving it a smoky taste, like Scottish Whiskey has. Of course after we see how its made they offer us a taste test between American Whiskey (Jack Daniel's), Scottish Whiskey (Johnnie Walker-Black Label) and Irish Whiskey (Jameson).
Clearly, Jameson's won hands down. That evening I went out with a few people I met in the hostel from Sweden and Denmark for dinner and afterwards to the famous "Temple Bar" pub in Temple Bar with great live music. Of course my trip to Ireland would not have been complete without a day tour through the beautiful Wicklow Mountains. The tour guide we had was very knowledgeable about the history of Ireland and how the land was formed by glaciers, many years ago. We also stopped at the magnificent Lough Tay (Lake Tay), one of the most scenic views I've ever seen. From there we went through the rigid hills to a waterfall and then to a picturesque village of Glendalough where Kyle the Teacher lived in a cave and built a cathedral in town to teach the young children.
After that we walked through the forest and passed the two Lakes in Glendalough where I met Roxy. She was a New York University student traveling Europe on scholarship as part of her arts degree. After that I went back to Dublin where I met my friends again for one last goodbye before leaving the next morning.