First trip major trip of the European adventure was completed this past weekend. I pictured my trip to Dublin to be a like a warm up before a big game or a pregame before a big night of drinking. Dublin would be the test specimen for what to expect when I visit other major cities and countries in the next couple months. If I learned anything from Dublin it is that I’m going to break the bank very quickly. Dublin took everything I had and then went after my family and then took the clothes off my back, leaving me with nothing but cobwebs in my wallet and a pocket full of receipts. All that besides, Dublin is an awesome city! It is so much bigger than what I had expected that every part of the city blew my mind. But before I get ahead of myself let me start at the only logical point: the beginning.
Day 1: Being too lazy to get up at the crack of dawn Bobby and Hubick and I took the 9:45 direct bus from Galway to Dublin on GoBus. A bit less than 3 hours later we arrived on O’Connell Street navigating ourselves around in circles trying to decide where we would sleep that night. (tip for the future: plan ahead) After wasting an hour or so we decided to stay at the Kinley Hostel where all our friends were already staying. Should have saw that coming. We dropped off our packs and headed out immediately. Statistically, the first word American college students associate Dublin with is the word Guinness. Dont believe me? Look it up. So naturally the first stop on our list was the famous Guinness Factory. Thankfully the hostel was pretty close to the Factory and of course all our friends were already there. Naturally. The Guinness Factory is one of the coolest things I have ever experienced. If Arthur Guinness already isn’t sitting in the VIP section of heaven he should be. All 55 acres of his factory are probably considered the Irish Holy Lands, considering Ireland alone drinks about 13 million pints of Guinness every two weeks. (fun fact for you). All 7 floors of the Factory are amazing. Each floor designated to a different aspect of the Guinness foundation: G) Welcome Atrium and Ingredients 1) Brewing, Cooperage and Transport 2) Advertising 3) Brewery Life 4) Celebrating 250 years of Guinness 5) Gilroy Advertising/ Bars 6) Gravity Bar- highest tourist point in all of Dublin. Every floor= heavenly. (Excuse all the religious sentiments, it was just that awesome.) Best part of the trip was pouring my own pint o Guinness; it just doesn’t get any more cliché. Pouring my own pint of Guinness, in Dublin, in the Guinness Factory. That’s something you see in the picture books or on postcards. The Gravity Bar at the top is an amazing sight. The bar is a complete 360 degree bar with glass surrounding 90% of it showing off the entire city of Dublin and the Wicklow Mountains. It is a fantastic sight to behold on a clear day, which we had. Luck of the Irish right there. After snapping some photos we left and were on our way to the Jameson Factory. We figured we might as well keeping drinking if we already started so early. Jaymo was a bit of a let down mostly just because Guinness was so cool. But the free Jameson wasn’t a let down at all. Thank you John Jameson. That night we all went out and hit up the famous Temple Bar area, aka tourist central. I met up with Tom Culkeen, and granted him the title as Tour Guide Tom. He took us around the area and eventually we met up with more BC people and had a night for the ages.
Day 2: A lot to swallow in the first day so take a deep breathe, a drink of water, grab a power bar and when your ready continue onto day 2. After waking up to 23 other people in my hostel room and immediately feeling disgusting I eventually pulled myself together and jumped back into the thick of things for day 2 of Dublin. First stop: Kilmainham Jail, the famous jail featured in many movies like the Italian Job and Michael Collins and even a U2 music video. This is where they kept the 13 leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916. The jail was pretty unbelievable and the conditions they lived in where unimaginable. After leaving the jail we decided to go somewhere saintly, so obviously St. Patrick’s Cathedral was top of our list. The Cathedral was one of the coolest parts of the trip for me. It was gorgeous and enormous and not at all what I had expected. Inside are a lot of memorials for soldiers that died in WWI and WWII and in the Easter Rising and many of other battles. I thought that was really cool since I always felt like the Church tried to separate itself from the politics of war and the pain and sadness that surround it, so that was an interesting surprise. After the Cathedral we went to Dublin Castle, which was pretty awesome. The president of Ireland had been there a week before we were there at a meeting. The history behind the castle was really interesting and the building was beautiful inside. That night we ran all around Dublin and saw a lot of the city which was a lot of fun. Hubick and I met up with Tom again and we ended up sleeping on his wood floor in his single at UCD to save a buck on the hostel. Thanks Tommyboy.
Day 3: Hubick and I woke up 2 hours later than planned, thanks a lot Jagermeister. After realizing we were 20 minutes outside the city we struggled to find a bus. Finally got on one and felt like Harry Potter on the Knight Bus, so naturally it was totally worth it. Eventually we got back to Dublin and went up and down O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main street. After that we trekked over to Trinity College. The campus is remarkable. It is massive and reminded me (and I hate to say it) of Notre Dame with the open quads and untouchable grass. After snapping a few shots of the Trinity Arch we went to the Book of Kells. The coolest part of my trip by far. It blew everything else we did out of the water. Unfortunately pictures are not allowed inside it so I cant show you any pics but that might be a bit of the reason it is so amazing. We spent probably 2 hours in a tour that you can walk through in under 90 seconds. Everything about it was just extraordinary. It’s hard to put into words what being so close to something so profound was like so I wont try. Bottom line it was the coolest part of the trip. If you go to Dublin this is a required stop. The library that follows the Book of Kells can only be compared to the library in the Beauty and the Beast. Absolutely magnificent. Rows upon rows, shelves upon shelves, floors above floors of books. It was unbelievable. After leaving Trinity College Hubick and I walked around St. Stephen’s Green and saw the largest indoor clock in Europe and basically called it a weekend. We jumped on a bus back to Galway, pockets a little lighter but memories packed to the point of explosion.