My name is Erin. That’s what the title of this post means in the Irish Gaelic language. And that is just one of many things I learned while on my adventurous trip around Ireland last week.
I was so fortunate to see and do pretty much everything I wanted to while in Ireland. I have visited Dublin once before to see two of my friends there, so I wanted to be sure and see other areas of the country as well. Since I have so much to write about, I am going to split my posts up, otherwise, I think it might be too long!
Day 1: Arriving in Dublin
After a bumpy red eye to Ireland, we arrived at the Dublin airport. It was so nice setting down and taking a 30 minute Air Coach into the heart of Dublin before arriving at our hotel. We stayed in a really nice hotel (we got an amazing package deal only a few weeks before actually arriving in Ireland) called the Intercontinental Hotel. I can’t emphasize enough how incredibly helpful and friendly their staff were. They enhanced an already spectacularly beautiful trip. After settling in to our room and taking a quick cat nap, we were off! Into the heart of Dublin we went.
Our first stop was FOOD. We were starving by this point. So we found (through some local advice) a place called M.J. O’Neill’s. As soon as I walked in, I realized my friend from Dublin took me here when I visited her back in 2011. Nothing had changed! O’Neill’s is a big place with multiple levels and lots of different food to offer. We decided to order from the carvery, which is a staple in Dublin.
Portions were HUGE, so we shared one plate and it was enough. We ordered corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, it was totally what you would expect to eat in Ireland. And it was really good!
We then walked the streets of Dublin. We walked around the Temple Bar area and Grafton Street. Grafton is known for having all the main shops, it’s almost like the 5th Avenue of New York, but much smaller. Musicians lined the streets, and people were bustling about. The street had lots of cute alleys and cobblestone paths to explore.
After we were tired of walking we popped into a few pubs to hear some live music. If you don’t already know, Dublin has live music at every pub, every night. It’s really something. We headed into a place called The Auld Dubliner and watched a guy with a guitar sing for hours. He was really good! And, of course, we met some crazy characters along the way. Irish people are hysterical, and so friendly. This was something we found to be consistent in every part of Ireland we traveled to. It made the trip really fun. It is always nice visiting a new place where the people take an interest in talking to you or helping you get around. Ireland is definitely one of those places.
After the pub, we walked the streets a little longer, taking in the debauchery, passing the infamous “Temple Bar”, before grabbing some snacks at Tesco and heading back to our hotel.
Day 2: Exploring Dublin
After a solid night of sleep we were up and ready to take on the day and see as much of Dublin as we could. Our first order of business was taking the bus into the center of Dublin and getting a light breakfast.
We (of course) went straight to Costa! When I was living in London, I loved going to Costa. Their coffee, drinks and pastries are so fresh and better than most places I have been in the States. When my family came to visit me over there, they got hooked as well. It was so nice being there again, it brought back lots of memories.
As we enjoyed our breakfast, we took advantage of the free wifi. We decided to do a hop-on hop-off bus to see the whole city in a cheap and efficient way. We plotted out which stops we wanted to take and then we were off.
After coffee, we walked over the River Liffey across adorable bridges and headed to the area with all the bus tours. We went through the City Sightseeing Dublin bus tour, and it was wonderful. They have these tours in almost ever city around the world and a quick tip here is if you keep your bus ticket, you can get 10% off every tour you take in any city.
Bus tours are fun because you really get to learn all about the city you are exploring. One of my favorite facts I learned about Dublin had to do with their doors. Something you’ll notice, if you ever visit, is that Dublin has very colorful and beautifully painted doors. This includes mostly their houses, but also pubs, shops, everything. Our driver explained that while Ireland was still under British rule, Queen Victoria died. As a sign of mourning, Britain ordered that all doors in the Kingdom be painted black out of respect. Well, the Irish don’t like being told what to do. So naturally, they painted their doors the colors of the rainbow. And to this day they are still like that.
Our first hop-off was at Trinity College. We walked along the main part of campus and saw the pretty buildings. It was pretty rainy at this point, and I didn’t really care to go in any buildings, so it was a quick stop off.
We went back to the bus stop to get on the next bus we saw, and walked on to one. Little did we know it was just a promotional bus (not in service) but there was a guy on the bus and he told us to stay inside until the next one came. We spent about ten minutes with this guy, but I will never forget it. He was the friendliest man, telling us stories, about him, about Dublin, his family, he taught me Gaeilic and recommended a day tour that we weren’t originally planning to do but ended up doing on our last day. He just represented everything I experienced in Ireland.
Next stop was Dublin Castle. It is nestled right in the heart of the city, and is almost easy to miss since it is kind of hidden away. We explored beautiful rooms and took a picture at the throne of course.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral was up next and we spent some time in here, looking at the expansive ceilings and we each lit a candle. It was nice to get out of the bustling city and enter a really quiet place. And they actually had a really great gift shop! I bought a few souvenirs for friends and family here. We found my Grandmother’s family crest and I picked that up for my Dad.
After the bus tour was over we headed to The Brazen Head. The oldest pub in Dublin. It was absolutely adorable. We ordered Bangers and Mash and Fish and Chips. It was all really good, and was so nice to take a break and spend time in an old pub. The doorways were small, they had a fire going. It reminded me of when I went to one of the oldest pubs in London.