Remember that time I went to Ireland on holidays and then never blogged about it? As we all know, if you don't blog about it then it never happened. Right?
Truth is, I have stared and deleted this post at least once a week since I've been back. Talking about Ireland is something that comes very naturally to me - in fact, I usually have a problem shutting up about it - but I spoke extensively about Ireland on an old blog (found here) after my trip there in 2011 and writing about Ireland this time just felt really repetitive.
Still, I do have stories I want to share so I'm going to suck it up and just be repetitive.
We flew to Dublin via London's Heathrow and I was reminded why I disliked Heathrow. The airport is in a perpetual state of 'upgrading'. If it ever finishes, I fully expect a minotaur to live in the middle of that maze. Still, punchy and sleep deprived, the signs looked an awful lot like a moose.
|I'm sure our continually shouts of "follow the moose!"|
really endeared us to the other travellers.
We arrived in Dublin and made our way to Ballsbridge in south Dublin to stay with my cousin, Conor.
|Patriotic reminder at the Dublin Airport to drive on the left.|
I had never stayed with Conor before and I have to say that Ballsbridge was a great location. We were close enough to walk into town if we were feeling up to but there was also a direct bus just on the main road and the Landsdowne DART station just a 5 min walk away along the river. If you're going to Dublin but aren't really jazzed on the idea of staying downtown amidst the noise, there were a fair number of hotels in the Ballsbridge area.
We took our first day in Dublin easy, heading into town around lunch time to do a little casual sight-seeing before attending the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. If there is one thing I insist you do if you ever go to Dublin, the Literary Pub Crawl is it. One thing I recommend, however, is keep your drinks at the pubs to a half pint or a glass of wine. Other than the first and last pub, you usually only have about 20 mins to get your order and drink up before you're off again. At the first pub, The Duke, they have a longer set in a private room. But once you leave the Duke, the educational parts of the pub crawl come between the pubs. You don't need to know anything about Irish literature to enjoy the pub crawl (but you'll definitely know something when you finish the crawl). I have no pictures of that night that didn't end up horribly blurry, otherwise I would post them right here.
We headed out to Kilmainham Gaol early the next morning. You can't make reservations and I really wanted to make sure we got to the jail as Katie said she wanted to know more about Irish history.
|The Victoria Wing. If it looks familiar, it's been used in a few movies.|
The opening and closing of the jail pretty much bookend the Irish struggle for independence. The tours are about an hour long and worth every penny. The museum attached to the jail is fantastic with a plethora of artifacts from former inmates.
"Beware of the Risen People that have harried and held, Ye that have bullied and bribed."
Paraphrased from the poem The Rebel by Patrick Pearse. The term 'risen people' stems from the Jim Larkin quote "The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise." It was a call to the working class to rise up in protest. If you read Irish literature, especially Fenian or Republican literature, from the early 20th century, the idea of risen people is a common theme.
This is the cell where Patrick Pearse was held after the Easter Rising of 1916. Patrick was one of the instigators of the uprising and read the Proclamation of the Republic out loud from the steps of the G.P.O. Patrick and his brother, Willie, would both be found guilty of treason and sentenced to execution by firing squad.
The plaque on the wall of the area where the executions took place listing those leaders who were executed for the Easter Rising.
After Kilmainham, we made our way to Dublin Castle and its adorable little chapel.
Apparently, you're supposed to pay to go into the chapel. I always enjoy visiting it so much that I would totally pay for it... if I had seen the sign "please pay for your chapel visit in the castle" before I left the chapel. Whoops! Next time.
On our way to grab a bite to eat, I took Katie past this fine establishment.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the first bar I ever got right and truly shitfaced in. My cousins, scared of getting their 16 year old cousin drunk and then returning her to her father would only buy me half pints. Nine half pints later, I needed help walking down the stairs. (Whose bright idea was it to sit upstairs?)
After that stumble through memory lane, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse was in order.
|The lease that started it all!|
I've been to the Guinness Storehouse enough times to last me until the end of days. That would be three times if anyone is wondering. One of the things I did finally try on this trip was pulling my own pint.
|They look so pretty! I want to drink them all!|
You get a group lesson and take turns pulling your own pint. When it's done, you get a certificate with your name and get to take your pint up to the Gravity Bar at the top of the Storehouse to drink it. While I was worried about mucking up my pint to the point of not being able to drink it, it turned out to be a really fun and educational option. Also, my pint tasted damn fine. The only downside was that we starting judging every Guinness pint poured for us for the rest of our trip. It was kind of annoying but we couldn't stop. doing. it!
|You can hire us for all Guinness pint-pulling needs.|
After a quick bite in town (and another pint) we headed home for an early night. We had a day tour to Glendalough set for the next day and we did not want to be sleeping for the drive through the Wicklow Mountains!
|After dinner wander across the O'Connell St bridge|
Until next time!