Stepping off the ferry, I could almost smell the locals’ hatred for what the rest of the world has done to St. Patrick’s day. Not that they don’t enjoy the holiday, but it isn’t a reason just to get hammered. Even I couldn’t help but cringe at some of the tourist ensembles (most of whom I assume are college students here on break).
Dublin is arranged in a rather strange way. I’m used to going to a certain area to eat, then another to shop, and then another for a strip of bars. Here you can grab coffee, get a Thai massage, buy some high-end penny loafers, devour some fish and chips, have a pint, then get your dance on at a club all within a block.
I find people here much easier to understand. A lot of people from London are tough to decipher. Maybe it’s the British accent, maybe it’s because English isn’t the first language of a lot of them, but in Ireland people are friendlier and the accents seem much warmer.
McDonald’s – Stepping off the train at 5:55am, there wasn’t much open. But I was still able to start my trip off authentic. I’m not sure if it’s named after St. McDonald – there wasn’t a museum or anything with it, but they made a decent egg sandwich pretty cheap.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral – There was a service taking place when I walked by so I couldn’t take a tour, but I walked around and checked things out a bit.
Trinity College – It’s old looking. Oh and everywhere they advertise the book of kells (“the oldest book in the world”) in the Trinity Library, and it’s closed until April. I don’t like that.
Dublin Castle – I listened in on some walking tours, walked through everything, wandered the gardens, photobombed pictures of asian families.
Grafton Street – Filled with stores, this is an old-timey street with uneven bricks that massage your feet with every step. I wandered through it before most of it was open, not that I was in the mood to pick up the latest fashions anyways.
St. Stephen’s Green – Yes, I found another park. It has a nice lake in it, a number of gardens, and some statues to famous Irish people. A statue of James Joyce and such.
Guinness Storehouse – You probably know Guinness is made in Ireland, and just about all of it is made right here. I went through a 5-story tour of the process of making Guinness, and then drank a bunch of Guinness, thus forgetting that entire educational journey. At the end of the tour, we’re allowed to enjoy a pint in the “Gravity Bar” on the 7th floor. It was absolutely packed, but here is the picture I took:
The nice thing about having to wait in line to get in though was I met Mike and CJ. They’re from New Jersey, right where we just parked our car to go into NYC. Nice, unassuming, lower-energy guys, just here for a few days. Thus, we got along. We went through the tour together and figured on hopping around the Irish pubs afterward.
Flannery’s – Going to a few bars turned into going to one bar. After getting food (veggie burger, I forget where), we went in here. Pretty busy when we got there, and by the time we left there was a long line to get in. The three of us met a group of girls, local Dubliners, who we enjoyed some conversation and beers with. But it’s pretty similar to any Irish bar you’d go to in the US, except the music selection was odd. 80’s and 90’s US songs, like what you would hear on a soft rock station. One of the girls took Mike’s hat so they went looking for them elsewhere, but I opted to head back to the hotel.
Rody Bolands – I’d had a long day, but it was only like 11:30 so I figured I’d check out the bar that was right by my hotel. And it was awesome. It was huge inside, more upbeat traditional Irish music, busy but not packed. I sat at the bar and had a beer and couple conversations with people from Dublin. Still in bed by 12:30 or 1 so I can operate at full capacity for the parade tomorrow.