Thursday, April 11, 2013

Luck o' the Irish

Last month I undertook yet another travel adventure, this time in the British Isles. Accompanying me were my friends Jenny and Erika. In the next few posts I will attempt to capture the beauty and excitement that is traveling with friends in a few enchanting places, namely Dublin, Edinburgh, London and Bristol.

Herein lies the tale of my exploits in DUBLIN

Day 1

My first exposure to Ireland I feel I can only describe as a sort of baptism. Almost immediately after stepping off the bus from the Airport I was greeted by a gust of wind and pelting rain. Fortunately my umbrella survived just long enough for me to walk to my hostel (the Four Courts, which I highly suggest) and check in. I was not so lucky on my expedition to get some lunch as I was soaking wet and had to wait for about an hour while a tour group left the Brazenhead Inn, one of the oldest pubs in Ireland.
A traditional Irish Beef & Guinness stew!

The wait was well worth it though for a cozy and charming place to warm up and get some traditional Irish food. After lunch I hurried back to hostel, deciding that staying inside and dry was better than tromping around Dublin trying to do touristy things alone. Luckily, while chilling and reading I started a conversation with a semi-local Irishman named Tyrone, who just happens to be a cast member in HBO's Game of Thrones and History's Vikings. He was kind enough to keep me company with movies and conversation for the rest of the afternoon and evening until Erika and Jenny arrived.

Day 2
The rain had stopped during the night so the girls and I decided that a walking tour of Dublin was in order. I've found that doing such a tour is a great introduction to any city as it usually gives you a decent overview of the city's history and some historical trivia gems. For example, the denial of
George Lucas's request to film the Jedi Library scenes in the Long Room at Trinity College led to his using an almost exact digital recreation in Episode II.

 Our guide borrowed my friends camera and took this pic

We then made our way to the Guinness Storehouse to learn about how the famous brew is made. Its an interesting place with cool interactive displays on the brewing process. Despite the crowd you should definitely go up to the Gravity Bar to enjoy your free Guinness and the amazing view of the city. 

Day 3
We started out the day pretty late by having brunch in a charming cafe while waiting for our tour. At our scheduled time we made our way to Kilmainham Gaol, one the most famous prisons in Dublin. During our tour we learned that it was open from the late 1700s till 1924 and housed leaders in the Easter uprising and other revolutionary Irishmen. What I found intriguing was the fact that years after it closed some of the former inmates returned to clean the place up and turn it into a museum.
 We then meandered a bit around central Dublin and met up with Erika's friend who was studying there.
After dinner we had to hurry and catch our group for a pub crawl. We went to 5 different places. The 2nd and 3rd were my favorite as they had live music and the sort of fun atmosphere you'd expect from a traditional Irish pub. We also made some friends over good drinks and singing along to the music.

The Old Storehouse was our 2nd stop of the night, I HIGHLY suggest you go there if you're ever in Dublin

Day 4
We started the day of with a visit to the Jameson brewery. After an informative tour we were given a free taste of the famous whiskey which was delicious, mine was mixed with ginger soda and lime. Erika and Jenny became certified whiskey tasters by trying scotch, Jameson whiskey and Jack Daniels bourbon. We then wandered to a museum on Dublin's history, starting from the time of the Vikings.
It was a fantastic little interactive place with exhibits about almost every aspect of life in Dublin as it developed into the beautiful city it is today. It also included a section on current excavations and how Dubliners are preserving their history.

For now I wish you happy days and will have the next stage of the journey up soon! Cheers

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