Finally in Ireland! It has been a dream of mine to visit here for quite some time. Rob has visited before and his former roommate lives there so we knew a few people going into town. We spent our first few hours wandering the streets looking for a place to stay and finally found a few hostels that had openings but none had all the days we were supposed to stay which meant changing hostels each day of our trip. We met Rob’s friends out for drinks our first night and they took us to Temple Bar which is an area bustling with bars. We ended up back here later in the weekend.
Rob knew which places to take me sightseeing so it made planning our days really easy. We took a tour of Trinity College, saw the Trinity Library and Book of Kells, something I have wanted to do since college. They had a beautiful campus with a lot of interesting history and seeing the Trinity Library was amazing. I felt like I was in Beauty and the Beast with the incredibly tall shelves and the countless sliding ladders to reach the books you need. It was interesting to learn the history of the Book of Kells and to see such an ancient book up close (~1,200 years old). We also did a tour of the Guinness Brewery. Amazing! It is 7 stories of how they make beer – very interesting and it is completed with a lesson on the proper way to drink a Guinness and the skybar on the top floor where you receive your complimentary pint. I am generally not a fan of Guinness beer but I swear it tasted better in Ireland – that may be all in my head, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. To top it off, the entire building actually has glass panes which make for a larger than life pint glass shape in the middle of the facility. It was estimated that this “glass” could hold 14 million pints of delicious beer. Following our Guinness tour we decided to go on a pub crawl – a real one, not one that we orchestrated ourselves. There were probably about 60 people on the crawl with us. We showed up a little late but wasted no time in catching up, making new friends and having a couple extra drinks to make up for lost time. Bar 1 was pretty chill, mostly just the 60 of us, but the night quickly got more rowdy and the bars got much busier. We met a really cool guy from Australia who became our new drinking buddy for the night. One of the bars we went to had great live Irish music which resulted in a circle of river dancing which we didn’t hesitate to jump in on, although I’m sure our attempts were a disgrace! The night ended at a dance club but we were pretty shot by that time so we didn’t stay long, plus we had an early day ahead of us.
We had booked a couple day trips to the countryside for Saturday and Sunday both of which started at 6/7 AM. Not the best idea if you go out drinking until 3AM the night before. We managed to wake up just in time to make it to the bus for our trip on Saturday morning to the Cliffs of Moher. A 4 hour bus ride that we slept almost entirely through when we weren’t being woken up from the obnoxious group of young Italian guys behind us. They were so unnecessarily loud, it was awful. Our first stop being the city (more of a town) of Gallway. A quite humorous tour guide took us around the city giving us tons of historical facts that happened around town. We were able to do a small amount of roaming free and could tell that this would be a fun town to spend a whole day in sometime when we make it back to Ireland. We made a second stop in a much smaller town for lunch, which was a pretty quick process, but the scenery was already starting to show its face. We then headed towards our final destination – the Cliffs! Wow is all I can say. It was just as beautiful as I had pictured Ireland. The photos do not do it justice…the green, the vast landscape, the steep cliffs, the blue waters below. Truly breathtaking. The bus ride home seemed to be longer than the one going in – likely because of the lack of stops and the emptiness of the bus as many people (including our annoying bunch of boys) had gotten off in Gallway to stay the night. We did end up with some good entertainment from the couple behind us however. Fate had arrived as these two met and we just listened their love blossomed. And put bets on how it would end. Neither of us were correct as the girl’s friend sitting about 10 rows up put a kibosh on anything happening when she dragged her friend off the bus to go to their place about an hour outside of Dublin. We felt so bad for the poor guy, he tried so hard and just couldn’t seal the deal.
It was Saturday night and we knew we couldn’t pass up on going out in the city even though we were beat from our long day in the country so we called up Conor and the gang (Mark, Aiden) and went out for the night. We went to a place called Copper face Jack’s – Coppers for short. For those of our friends familiar with the dive bar scene in ATL, it is like Pool Hall on crack. Multiple stories, jam packed, killer 90’s music… essentially just a shit show. A little liquid courage before you step through the door helps ease the shock of how out of control the place is. Rob and I decided to get drinks for the group even though they advised us if we split from them, we would never find them again. In doubt of their warning, we went and bought 6 drinks. We went to find them and they were gone. We texted, no answer. In all likelihood a massive throng of drunk hooligans had carried them away and either stolen or tried to drink their phones. We searched the place high and low, no sign of them. Now we had all these drinks and no one to drink them… no sense in letting them go to waste so… bottoms up! We danced and drank the night away until we got hungry around 2/3 AM so we grabbed a burger on the way home and crashed. Our alarm was already set for our second early morning tour and 6AM rolled around very quickly…. As did 7AM, then 8AM, then all of a sudden 10AM in a panic I woke up to realize we had overslept and missed the bus for our tour. We made the best of it and decided to walk around Dublin with Conor (Rob’s former roommie). We went to Dublin Castle and a few other sites that we hadn’t seen yet. It rained on and off so we finished up our last night with some relaxation back at Conor’s with fish and chips for dinner.