Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nil aon tinteán mar do thinteán feín

Nil aon tinteán mar do thinteán feín... a Gaelic saying for, "there's no fireplace like your own fireplace." 

After traveling so much in the past month, I've come to agree wholeheartedly..even if I have a mostly dead orchid instead of a fireplace. 

As I mentioned in my last post about Scotland, I had the whole week off, so after my two days of alone time I flew into Dublin to meet my trusty travel companion Emily and new friend Ellea who both studied during the semester in Amsterdam. My first thought on the bus ride through the city en route to my hostel wasn't that nice. Dublin was sadly disappointing compared to the striking beauty of Edinburgh. However, I was determined not to judge too quickly or too harshly, as I'd be spending 4 days there, and visiting Ireland was not only on my travel checklist, but on my LIFE bucket list. That's a big deal, since my life bucket list really only consisted of:

1.Visit Ireland. 

Ha. Jokes! 

Anyway, we pretty much wasted the entire first day failing at stuff. After finding Steak and Guinness pie, we found out the tour of the jail we wanted to do was already all booked, and then got directions from a local to hike the "short distance" (it felt like 2 miles) to try unsuccessfully to find the entrance to the Guinness Brewery before it closed for the day. So my first day in Ireland, what did we do? SHOPPING. When all else fails, spend money! Yeah! We found the Dublin edition of Primark, called Penney's and (to my complete surprise and utter delight) a FOREVER21 that was as big as a department store. It had three floors. Seriously. The problem with shopping on trips, is that although you packed your Ryanair bag to it's full 10kg limit, you still have to fit all the new stuff into the bag to go home. If I was smart, I wouldn't make these kinds of decisions, but there you go. 

The second day, we tried to make up for missing out on everything. We crossed the famous "gaol" (jail) off our list, it just wasn't going to happen, and took a 3 hour walking tour, along with a tour of the Guinness Brewery. The tour was enlightening, and we saw all of Dublin's major attractions, like these: 

The Liffey

Some statue of a famous dude.. I was bored of the tour at this point, sorry. 

Outside Dublin Castle


Oh, there it is...well THAT's disappointing. Dublin ain't got nuttin on Germany. 

An old Viking church. There used to be a whiskey distillery in the basement. Multi-tasking at its finest. 

Trinity College

The Guinness Brewery was disappointing. It was poorly designed, the arrows on the floor were confusing, they had all the descriptions of exhibits written in WHITE letters on plexiGLASS signs...How can ANYONE read that? 

The coolest part was that I did, however, get to learn to pour my own Guinness out of the tap, which was pretty cool. There's a specific method for the best taste that usually takes ~2.5 minutes, so don't get impatient when it feels like your bartender has gone on a smoke-break! I even got a shiny certificate to make my fantabulous Guinness pouring official. And the Guinness building is the tallest in Dublin, so we did get a nice view at the top! 
Us girls and our expertly pulled Guinness
The cool thing about the walking tours that I always seem to go on is that they also run a pub crawl at night exploring a variety of the local (usually touristy) places. But we did make our way through the famous Temple Bar District, which was probably the most atmospheric place in Dublin. We visited a microbrewery there, and had a sampler of different beers. It was quite fun. ;) 

Rainy as always

The next day, we took a day-trip to the little coastal village of Howth. It was stinkin cute. We ate fish and chips, walked around the pier, did NOT see seals like we were supposed to, I creeped on an adorable little girl and her dad, and hiked down to the cliffs to see the lighthouse. It was breathtaking. I know, I know, I'm using lots of the same adjectives as Scotland, but seriously, the Thesaurus only has so many to choose from! 

This is me being a huge creepster.^

I'm going to do Ireland in two parts, so you don't get burnt out! :) Don't worry, the next part will come soon... 

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