When a few girls in my house approached me with a chance to fly to Ireland for a measly 8 pounds each way, there was no question. “In!” A perfect weekend trip from Thursday to Sunday soon turned into an Irish-themed extravaganza -- 12 of us booked the trip! So our obnoxious group of 12 Americans packed our bags, grabbed our passports, and jumped on the tube-train-airport-bus combo to Dublin. We arrived at night, traded our pounds for Euros, checked in to our 12-bunk hostel room, and celebrated with none other than a traditional Irish pub! The 3-story bar turned out to be less-than-traditional, but I was satisfied with the foam-topped Guinness. (It is true what they say - it tastes completely different and much better in Ireland). A few beers turned into afterhours at a wine bar with new Irish friends. The people here were immediately welcoming, charming, and full of life. (Much more friendly than the city-going Londoners) I couldn't get enough of that Irish accent!
There was no time to rest as we had a lot of city to see the next day. We all shared a quaint breakfast at a little nook downtown, and bought tickets to a bus tour which would take us to the coast on the Southern and Northern tips. Our guide Damien entertained us with his charisma and knowledge, teaching us all about the history of the city. The change from the bustling city to rural coast was gorgeous. Beach after beach, rolling hilltops in the background, and the greenest grass I have ever seen. We stopped at Malahide Castle where we did a tour_ personally I preferred running and cart-wheeling on the endless green grass. I snapped tons of photos, breathed in the fresh sea air, and sadly bid adieu to our tour after a couple of hours. I could already smell the Guinness calling my name…
I had heard good things and couldn’t wait to taste the Irish cuisine, so we settled in an adorable Irish restaurant where we listened to live Irish folk music and filled our bellies with delicious corned beef and cabbage. It was great to satisfy my taste buds after weeks of bland food in London. We washed it down with some brewskies on our night two out on the town. That night turned out insane! It must be all the Irish surrounding us, but our second wind kept us up until the wee hours of the night. Bar hopping on the main street, we danced the night away, and closed down pub after pub. We topped it off by bargaining our way onto a horse-driven carriage ride through the city! Cat, Pearson, Will and I waved at the crowds of people and pretended to be important. As if that wasn’t enough, we found some after-hours club and Pearson, Brock, Xanthy and I were the last ones standing…
The next day a few of us bought hop-on hop-off bus passes to explore the city on our own command. That we did… After stopping at Trinity College and Dublin Castle, we visited the oldest pub in Dublin called Ryan’s of Park Gate, where Bill Clinton and Julia Roberts once sat. It was a short walk down the street to the highly-anticipated Guinness Factory! Walking through the tour showing the details of how Guinness is brewed, from the beginning barley and grains all the way to the heavy machinery, was quite a sight. I snagged a few extra portions in the Tasting Lab – and was happiest at the end where we were served freshly-brewed Guinness atop the factory in a chic bar boasting a 360 degree clear view of Dublin. They even poured my glass in the shape of a shamrock, and the foam came up in perfect shamrock form… What an experience!
After eating more delicious Irish cuisine – bangers ‘n’ mash, I’d say we saved the best night for last. A few of us decided to do a self-made pub crawl. We had one Guinness at each pub, then would move on. The rain was no testament to our abilities: we saw so many pubs, listened to great live music, and had a blast. I think I had 6 Guinness – don’t ask me how. We topped off the crawl with folk dancing, or at least me pretending to folk dance with the others that participated. Getting back to the hostel at 5am was a struggle being we had to be up at 6 for our flight home. My drunkenness was at a high as we waited in line at the airport . I was cracking everyone up with my shenanigans, or maybe they were laughing at me. Alas, I will miss the taste of fresh Irish Guinness… until next time, Dublin.