Welcome back blog fans. We’ve remained pretty local for the past few weeks because we had to send our passports away to get our driving learners permits. Don’t get me started on that. Yes, I’ve been a licensed US driver for 11 years. Yes, I’ve been driving in the UK for 8 months. None of that matters to the queen however. Tara and I are now downgraded to learners.
Anyhow, this weekend we gave our passports a small workout and made our way across the Irish sea to visit Dublin. It was only a 40 minute flight and the tickets were crazy cheap. Thank you discount airlines.
We arrived late Friday evening and didn’t do much the first night. On Saturday we got some great weather and didn’t let it go to waste. Directly after breakfast, we headed straight for the ultimate symbol of Ireland: Guinness!
I was never a huge fan of Guinness before I came to the UK. I never really drank it in America so I never had an opinion of it. I started drinking it over here because there are a lot of occasions when you are faced with the following options: warm/flat English real ales, cider, crazy expensive whisky, Carlsberg (UK version of Bud Light), or Guinness. I have found the Guinness over here to be cold, delicious, and smooth. And I’ve heard that you will never have a better tasting pint of Guinness than the one at the Gravity Bar on top of the Guinness Factory in Dublin. That is one theory worth testing in my book.
We took the factory tour and learned how Guinness was made. We learned how to pour the perfect pint and finally made it to the top for our reward.
The beer tasted delicious and the view of Dublin was also pretty amazing. You got a really good panorama view of the whole city and the view was further enhanced by the beer.
After chatting with some fellow tourists and finishing our beers, we made our way to some more signature Dublin landmarks. Here we are at St. Patricks Cathedral. Saint Patrick is recognized as the patron saint of Ireland for which everyone’s favorite March holiday is named after.
Next up was the famous Kilmainham Gaol, or Jail. This old jail was built in 1796 but got most of its fame for its role as the detention center for the men fighting for a free Irish state in the early 1900s. Throughout the tour, the cells of Irish freedom fighters were pointed out to us. Most of the men involved in Easter Rising were jailed/executed here. Easter Rising was a Irish Rebellion that occurred during Easter week of 1916. It was one of the rebellions that led up to the formation of the Republic of Ireland in 1922.
The U2 music video for “A Celebration” was also filmed here. Enjoy.
Next up was yet another famous Dublin landmark, Temple Bar. Temple Bar is a region of the city known for it’s huge number of bars and pubs. There is also a bar named “Temple Bar” so we had to check it out.
The next day we made our way up and down the famous Grafton Street and poked our head in some shops. The prices on that street were completely ridiculous. In one store, the average price for a coat was 1500 Euros. Not even joking. Good thing Tara is not a big spender.
We made our way through St. Stephen’s Green, which is a nice park in the middle of Dublin.
After the park, we headed over to Trinity College to check out the Book of Kells at Trinity College (no pictures allowed). Maybe I’m missing the point, but I didn’t really see the appeal. The Book of Kells is a book containing the 4 gospels of the new testament written down by monks around 800 A.D. From our various jaunts around Europe so far, it seems like monks transcribe a lot of stuff. That was their job. Not sure why this book is so special and why it merited a 9 Euro entry fee. I digress…
One cool thing about the college was that it had a similar ball looking sculpture to what we saw in Rome. As it turns out, Arnaldo Pomodoro made 13 of these sculptures symbolizing the new modern world breaking through the old world. They are scattered about the Earth in places such as New York, Des Moines Iowa, Tel Aviv, Tehran Iran, Indianapolis, Rome, and Columbus Ohio to name a few. Ironically, I haven’t seen the one in Indianapolis, but I’ve seen the spheres in Rome and Dublin.
After Trinity, we checked out some more signature Dublin locations.
After all that exploring, we made our way into a local Irish pub to get some food and try out some Irish Whiskey. After all the attention I gave Scottish Whisky in our trip to Scotland, I figured I had to give it’s Irish counterpart a whirl. We played it safe with Jameson, but I enjoyed it.
After some time well spent in the cozy Irish pub, we headed back to our hotel to pick up our bags and head back to England. Another great weekend trip.
So long Ireland! Until next time.