This past weekend, we finally made it up to Ireland’s capital and the home of Guinness – Dublin.
As much as I love Cork’s small town charm, this city girl missed the bright lights of a big city. Dublin sure did it for me.
The first thing that struck me about the capital was just the sheer numbers of foreigners who visit or reside there! It was a massive melting pot of cultures and languages much like any other big metropolitan city. It was weird going a weekend without having to say “wait, did you understand what he just said?”, usually referring to an Irishman trying to have a conversation with us and us failing to understand him miserably in return.
Our first night there, we decided to hit up the infamous Temple Bar district. It’s supposedly THE most touristy spot in Dublin, so much so that you’ll never catch a local heading here. But we were told that you cannot visit Dublin and not visit Temple Bar, so we did as we were told. Though pricier than local pubs because of the tourist factor, if you’re in Dublin for a short time, I’d recommend a visit. The whole area was just buzzing with activity and atmosphere from christmas lights on building facades to street musicians to the cobbled streets. There’s plenty of choice and you’re sure to get the full Irish experience (sure to be more touristy but still fun nonetheless) in whatever pub you wind up in while sipping away a pint and enjoying the city’s live music scene.
With a plan and google maps in hand, we decided to hit up the main attractions in Dublin the next day, starting with the Guinness Storehouse. A bit of advice – buy your tickets online and save yourself waiting in line (in what is most likely going to be rain) for 1+ hours. Tickets were a little steep at €18 but definitely worth the experience. Tickets include the whole factory learning experience that takes you through the process, the history, advertising, tastings, and all that fun stuff. However, the best part was the Guinness Academy (because alcohol and school always seem to be related here!) where we got to learn how to pour our own pint and then enjoy it at the 7 stories high above Dublin. Personally, I never liked Guinness, but learning how to taste it properly did wonders! Though you definitely have to pay respects to the home of Guinness while in Ireland and enjoy at least one pint, do not miss out on the plethora of beer options the country has to offer. Some of the craft beers I’ve had here are way better than any cocktail I’ve had.
Also, Dublin has really good Banoffee. Be on the lookout for Banoffee pies (a scrumptiously decadent mix of bananas, toffee, and caramel on a biscuit crumb base), you’ll hate yourself for not knowing about it before. I sure do.
Personally, Dublin was a great way to immerse myself back into city life for a weekend but to me, Ireland’s charm and beauty lies in its smaller towns and the coastal regions, especially the West. I was more than happy to be back home in Cork.
Another update: trying to get my Schengen visa to travel to mainland Europe before April will be the cause of my premature greying. I was initially up in Dublin for a visa appointment, only to have my application not even be considered because of one document. But like I mentioned in my last post, patience is key and never give up. Hopefully, I will hear some good news about my visa soon.
I’m off to the West Coast tomorrow (fav part) where we’ll hit up the famous Cliffs of Moher and the city of Galway, so excited!