Dublin – Return to the Homeland

Check out this latest post by two more of our students currently studying abroad!  You can read their full blog here!

Dublin, Ireland – October 17-20, 2014. 

Anna swears she is Irish. Visiting Ireland was therefor a must on our itinerary. As I see it, everyone is convinced they are Irish. Regardless, Anna’s birthday is March 17th so I gave her the benefit of the doubt and we punched our tickets to The Fair City.

The two of us took a (don’t laugh) 30-minute plane ride across the Irish Sea to the half million populated city. It was a lengthy 30-minutes. Almost everyone, including the pilot but excluding us, was playing the part of a true Irishman – a tad bit tipsy. The landing replicated one from back home – landing gear skipping up and off a quickly shortening landing strip, the exterior of the cabin whistling, bolts jiggling and a likely white knuckled captain strained in the cockpit trying to play it cool. We survived. Possibly at the expense of the plane’s brake pads, but we made it.

It was nearing midnight. We found a bus into Dublin, wandered the empty city in search of our hostel, located said hostel and hit the twin long bed. (It’ll be one of those stories we tell our children on how we shared such a tiny bed the first year of our marriage – one of those stories that is only funny 15 years down the road.)

Saturday offered us a pleasant, but windy day for site seeing. We joined up with a handful of buddies we had met at our hostel and headed for Trinity college. The celebrated Book of Kells resides in the school’s prominent library. The line to view it zig zaged around tight ropes so we opted to come back later. We headed to St Stephen’s Green (a large, lush park that is apparently make out central for anyone and everyone), Dublin Castle (which consists only of one tower and a surrounding building), Christ Church Cathedral (which was closed due to a wedding) and the parliament buildings (which were closing due to a wedding). The crowd at Trinity college had died down so we finally gained viewing privilege of the Book of Kells. It’s always incredible seeing and sharing the same space with such a neat piece of history. The library was next. A long, magical (Harry Potter filmed here) hall filled top to bottom with books. No wonder George Lucas stole the idea for Star Wars, the place is gorgeous.

Dublin was lively and proved to have some serious music talent on the streets. Guitar players, accordion players, flute players, drummers, you name it, Dublin has it. Anna and I enjoyed the constant stream of live music, bouncing from one corner to the next all the way down to the river.

We exhausted the remainder of the night taking photos, shooting video and dodging drunks. The next morning would begin sometime around 5 am so we made our way back to our cozy twin long bed.

The sun had yet to peak over the horizon, let alone over the lofty buildings of the city. We waited outside the town center for our tour guide to come deliver us from the wintry temperatures and take us to the Cliffs of Moher. Our full day adventure would take us to Ireland’s coast to view the renowned cliffs, a 300 year old family farm (that had baby sheep that Anna was dying to smother with her hugs) and countless coast towns. Apparently every guided tour meets at the town center because we boarded every bus headed to the cliffs other than ours. We waited patiently. All other buses left. Anna and I, and eight other folks, waited for two hours. Our tour guide never showed up.

We did the next best thing – Dublin Zoo. I’m not used to zoos. I’m used to waiting until you wake up to the mountain lion on your front porch.   We came face to face with lions, tigers, penguins, crocodiles, elephants, giraffes, red pandas and hippos. We loved it. So did the kids who we shared the zoo with.

Monday morning. One last day in Dublin. TripAdvisor advised us to take the tour of the world famous Guinness factory. Though the museum/tour is recently new, Guinness seems to have been in Dublin forever. The five-story building houses everything from history to ingredients to advertising tactics (and explains a lot of the vomit one has to avoid while walking through Dublin.)

Travel Tip: The cheapest tour company is not always the best tour company – and a wife who hasn’t seen baby sheep is not always the happiest wife.


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