Ireland rocks!

Dublin Travel Blog

 › entry 18 of 19 › view all entries
millennium spire aka "stiletto in da ghetto"
    The title is pretty self-descriptive. Four travel buddies and I decided to fly up to Ireland this past weekend, and boy was it worth it! Definitely the best weekend trip all summer. After having seen most of the British culture already (England, Wales, and Scotland), I just had to go check out the Emerald Isle to see what it was all about. After classes ended on Thursday, the five of us (me, Dustin, Joe, Lisa, and Birgitta) took a bus on over to Gatwick Airport in London to catch our flight to Dublin that night. It was Ryanair (cheap airline), so naturally it was delayed a bit, but we got into the city smoothly at around midnight and checked in to the hostel. The accomodations were decent, and we were ready to hit the sack for a full day of exploring Dublin on Friday.
Trinity's bell tower

    We woke up pretty early, had our typical hostel breakfast (toast & cereal), and headed out to explore the city. The first thing we did was go see Trinity College. The campus was very beautiful, and is the biggest college in the whole nation (about 15,000 - almost as big as Tech!). We had a nice guided tour there by an energetic grad student with a very tight fitting shirt, low cut jeans, and stylish sunglasses. Before you get your hopes up, it was a dude. But he knew a lot and it was a fun tour. We then got to go into the old library and see the Book of Kells (a famous medieval illuminated manuscript). We then ventured on over to Christ Church Cathedral, which had a cool museum in the crypts.
outside Christ Church
There was also a mummified cat and mouse that had been recoverd from inside an old organ pipe centuries ago. Gross! After that, we picked up sandwiches and had lunch in St. Stephens Park. It was very nice, and there were even some guys singing country music under a pavilion.
    That afternoon was probably my most favorite part of the whole weekend. We walked over to the old Jameson Distillery (famous Irish whiskey for those of you not so alcoholically inclined) ofor a tour. It was so much fun! Our tour guide was very funny, we got to taste free whiskey, and the gift shop was fun to look around in. I even bought and tasted some Irish whiskey fudge, much to my mouth's delight. We then grabbed a quick dinner at a kabob place so that we could make to our next destination- the musical pub crawl.
big distillation tank

    We had heard about the musical pub crawl while in the tourism office earlier in the day, and it looked like a lot of fun. We showed up at Gogartty's pub in the Temple Bar area around 7:30, where the pub crawl was to start. After a beer or so, a group of about 30 people, including us, other pub crawlers (of all ages), and our two musician leaders led us on. What a fun night! The two guys took us around to a few pubs (the ones the locals like), spending 30 minutes to an hour in each, and teaching us about traditional Irish music. One played violin, and the other played guitar and sang. They were so good! The Irish folk music is wonderful, and you can't help but "play the boot" (stomp your foot) while listening to it. It was very cool just sitting there jamming and drinking Guinness, which by the way, tastes so freakin good in Ireland! I was never a huge fan before, but the real thing in Ireland is just smooth, creamy goodness.
potato famine statue
The head (foam) sticks to the side of the glass all the way down. But I digress...later that night, we attempted to walk down the river all the way out to the harbor. After a beautiful walk of about a mile or two, we realized it was a little farther away than we thought, so we turned around and headed back home for the night.
    Saturday was our day to explore the countryside outside of the city of Dublin. We had booked one of those one-day bus tours, "Wild Wicklow" bus tours to be exact. The bus picked us up that morning, and off we were. It was a lot of fun; our driver was a funny Irish guy and the tour lasted all day from about 9:30 in the morning until about 5pm. It took us all the way down to the coast of Dunleary, into the mountains and lakes of Wicklow, small villages, and even the site of an ancient monestary.
on the coast
The countryside was gorgeous, and it was interesting to learn that many Irish farmers to this day still harvest natural fuel from the mountains. This "turf" (peat) which they harvest is cut straight out of the ground in large blocks and set out to dry. I guess they burn it fo heat. We stopped every once in a while to gaze around, and lunch was in a small village where we had great food in a pub. I had Guinness beef stew, and it was amazing. I also bought a tin whilstle from a gift shop there; definitely a good investment for my newly increasing woodwind collection. After the bus tour, we were ready for the biggest tourist attraction that Ireland has to offer.
    The Guinness Storehouse, if you guessed correctly, is indeed the Disneyland of Ireland. The building is huge, has seven floors, each with different multimedia exhibits to teach you all about Guinness.
overlooking the lake
Here, the tours weren't guided, so we just walked around at our leisure. At the very top floor is the "Gravity bar," which is enclosed by 360 degrees of glass windows so that you can see the whole sity from above. It was very cool, and sipping on our delicious free (with purchase of tour) Guinnesses above the city was awesome. The gift shop here was also pretty cool. I must say, I learned a lot this weekend about the brewing processes for both beer and whiskey. Definitely a well-rounded education if I say so myself.
    That night, we just relaxed and hit up some of the pub scene around town. After enjoying a few beers, we headed on back to the hostel for a good night's sleep. In the morning, it was off to the airport for our flight back to England. The extra hassle of traveling farther was definitely worth it, and Ireland is one of the most unique places in the world.
in the Gravity bar
A great choice for our last weekend trip! Only one more week left in this crazy summer, so stay tuned for more details...
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
millennium spire aka stiletto in …
millennium spire aka "stiletto in…
Trinitys bell tower
Trinity's bell tower
outside Christ Church
outside Christ Church
big distillation tank
big distillation tank
potato famine statue
potato famine statue
on the coast
on the coast
overlooking the lake
overlooking the lake
in the Gravity bar
in the Gravity bar
memorial garden
memorial garden
downtown
downtown
inside Christ Church
inside Christ Church
dead cat & mouse
dead cat & mouse
in the crypts
in the crypts
Jameson distillery!
Jameson distillery!
Birgitta tasting whiskey
Birgitta tasting whiskey
enjoying our Jameson
enjoying our Jameson
me & Joe on the river
me & Joe on the river
tour bus!
tour bus!
on the coast
on the coast
Dustin
Dustin
a piece of turf
a piece of "turf"
goofy pose
goofy pose
sun in the eyes!
sun in the eyes!
mountain lake
mountain lake
Irish counrtyside
Irish counrtyside
bad boy
bad boy
monastic graveyard & tower
monastic graveyard & tower
not sure what this is
not sure what this is
in the graveyard
in the graveyard
at the upper lake
at the upper lake
me & Birgitta
me & Birgitta
Darth Vader look
Darth Vader look
Guinness mustache
Guinness mustache
Dublin
photo by: fransglobal