No so surprising, I love traveling. Before Patrick got laid off, he was at a company that shut down between Christmas and New Year’s. We decided it was the perfect time to take our first big trip together and went to Dublin, Ireland for 4 days. It was a short trip but absolutely amazing!
We arrived early on the morning of the 28th and were luckily able to check into our hotel early. Our flight from Boston was on Aer Lingus and I highly recommend them for international flights. There were TVs in the back to seats with a great movie selection. I was able to watch Inside Out on my way back! Everyone that worked with them was very nice and we didn’t have any problems on either flight with them.
The first day we were there, we slept until noon (jetlag is AWFUL!) but were able to see a lot of city. Dublin isn’t a huge city size wise; I’d estimate it’s close in size to Indianapolis. Let’s be real, I have no idea how big it is but it didn’t feel huge. Our first big stop was the Dublin Castle.
The castle is absolutely gorgeous! It was opened in the 1200s and is still actually used today. The inside is exactly how you would picture a castle, ornate and regal. I walked the same hallway as dignitaries, saw the throne of real kings, and went to the hall where the Order of St. Patrick were knighted.
After the Dublin Castle, we went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Originally, we wanted to attend mass there but I really don’t think we could have understood what was going on. Instead, we decided to just visit. I didn’t take any pictures of St. Patrick’s inside, though a lot of people did. I learned so much being there. The inside isn’t really a church anymore but is a museum of sorts with plaques and places for prayer and meditation.
We attempted to visit Book of Kells while we were there but because the college was closed, we weren’t able to see it. Instead, we wandered the campus of Trinity College, which is gorgeous on its own. Our favorite place to go back to every night was the Temple Bar area. The Temple Bar is the classic Irish pub, exactly what you would think of when picturing an Irish pub. It gets crazy busy every single night. We only went to the actual Temple Bar once because I cannot handle packed pubs. Instead, we pub hopped around a little and eventually found our favorite pub, The Norseman. It’s a good size pub with great drinks and amazingly nice bartenders. We ate their twice while we were there and they had fantastic fish and chips (I hate fish so they were obviously incredible!) While we were there the second time, there were lots of tourists that came in so we were lucky enough to talk to people from places like Sweden and Spain. Seriously, I highly, highly recommend The Norseman!
Obviously, the biggest attractions of Dublin are the Irish whiskey (yes whiskey, not whisky) distilleries. We went to two distilleries while we were in Dublin, Jameson and Teeling.
Jameson is such a historic place and you have to take it for the history it has. It’s no longer a working distillery and they now distill near Cork, Ireland instead. However, their location in Dublin still has the original layouts and items from when they started in the 1800s.
Jameson was beautiful and the tour wasn’t really long. I kind of wish they still distilled in Dublin but they laid out reasons they moved well.
Our second distillery stop was Teeling Whiskey. (an absolutely MUST see if you go to Dublin). The Teelings have been in the whiskey business since the 1700s and recently became the only operating distillery in Dublin. During our visit, we were joined by John Teeling, the father of modern whiskey. He used to run the Cooley Distillery and sold it to start Teeling. He was so, so nice.
The best part of the visit was easily the whiskey. Now, I’m not a huge whiskey person but Irish whiskey is always a winner for me. Jameson successfully killed my sore throat the day before and I had high hopes for Teeling. Oh my gosh, it was easily the best whiskey I have ever had. It was the only whiskey we brought home and I might cry when we run out. It’s so smooth and after the initial whiskey burn, it’s perfection in a bottle!
Of course, we had to visit Guinness Storehouse while we were there. It’s a little off in the distance but so worth the trip. We spent at least 3 hours walking around this place.
The Storehouse is 7 stories tall and filled with anything and everything Guinness. I’m not sure if we were lucky it was still Christmas-time or if it’s like this all the time but the building is circular and had white lights around the ceiling of all the levels so it looked like a Guinness. Each floor was something different from the different ingredients to pouring the perfect Guinness, tasting rooms, and different ads from around the world.
The absolute COOLEST part of Guiness was called the Gravity Bar. It’s the 7th floor of Guinness and is one of the two places you can get your free pint. It’s a circular room with a circle bar inside and it’s all glass. You get a 360 view of Dublin. It was clear enough on the day we were there so we could see clear to the country. It was beautiful!
There are some things to know about Dublin if you’re planning to go:
-Everyone speaks English but there are some language barriers. Undoubtedly, for Americans the Irish accent can be difficult to understand. Patrick and I were able to adjust to 99% of words in a day or so, so it isn’t impossible. We did have difficulty with some words, like honey, but it was easy after a while.
-Oh my gosh look both ways a million times before you cross a street. The Irish drive on the opposite side of the street from us and it’s a hard habit to break. I refused to cross without an obviously clear street or a crosswalk sign. It’s REALLY difficult to get used to looking the opposite way!
-You will eat very very well. I’ve come to the conclusion that American food is crap and if I could eat Irish food every day I would.
No matter what, if you ever get the chance, Dublin is a great place to visit. I really wish we had been able to stay for longer than 4 days, but 4 days was all I needed to fall in love with the city.