I’m not sure if it is the lack of a language barrier or just Meryl and I’s irresistible charm, but everyone loved us in Ireland. Dublin was so amazing and I definitely am planning on going back to Ireland to really explore the countryside because everything is beautiful and the people are so friendly and fun. It was exactly like I expected it to be in terms of the dynamic of the people. As soon as we walked into the bars, people were just drinking pints and singing songs at the top of their lungs, even at 3 in the afternoon. Once we even walked into a bar and a guy gave us kisses immediately and when we left, another guy stuck his tongue out at us, presumably for being party poopers.
So I guess I should start at the beginning. Friday morning, we woke up to get ready for the airport and surprise, surprise, Harris had not come home. We got a message at 6 from our friend Megan telling us that Harris had been sick in the morning, but he was on his way. Keep in mind that we had to leave at 6:45 and it takes about 45 min to an hour to get home. Miraculously though, Harris knocked on our door at 6am, but he definitely looked one of the worst I’d ever seen him. On our ride to the airport, Harris kept looking as if he was going to puke and sure enough at the end of the metro ride, he grabbed a bag and started puking.
After we got off the flight, we checked into our hostel, the Four Courts Hostel, and met up with our friend Taj from law school who came to Dublin with us before his law summer abroad program. Then Meryl and I walked around while Harris napped. The hostel was right across from the Courthouse, so we saw that, and then the Christ Church Cathedral. We also saw the Viking area and the city wall from 1260 AD. We were hungry for lunch and we kept seeing people walking around with paper bags so we followed one of them and asked them what they were eating and where they got it. It was the traditional fish and chips meal from the oldest chippery in Dublin so we walked over there to buy some. It was so delicious-fried cod and fries. Dublin definitely had the best food of any place we have been so far. We also saw a few statues and the Garden of Remembrance of Irish soldiers.
We walked along the river and then went to see Trinity College. I was surprised to learn that the reason Trinity College was founded by the English was to try to weed out Catholicism in Ireland and convert everyone to be Protestants. It didn’t work, however, and now it is one of the most famous/best universities here!
After that, Meryl and I decided that it was time for our first Guinness and our first shot of Jameson so we stopped at a pub and ordered Guinness and Jameson. The bartender told us that no one in Ireland orders shots of Jameson and kept referring to us as “The Americans”. We asked him how we are supposed to take it and he told us that it’s more customary to drink it with a small bit of water, so we told him to make us that. He told us that the old men always drink a pint of Guinness and a shot of Jameson, so apparently we are old men!! He also told us that not that many people drink Jameson (which was later refuted) and that if you want to mix it, it’s best with ginger ale, cranberry juice, or red lemonade (which is kind of like a shirley temple).
We got to Temple Bar and walked in and everyone was dancing and singing…it was so much fun. There were at least ten stag and hen parties (equivalent to our bachelor/bachelorette parties) so everyone was pretty crazy. We had so many boys hit on us that night. It was a little ridiculous. Right when we walked in we met a guy named Alberto from Italy who told us he wanted to hang out with us all night. Then we met some guys that were from Belgium, but one of them had lived in Tampa. They bought us shots of Sambuca and Meryl accidentally dropped her shot glass after taking it. The guys thought this was hilarious, so they started throwing shot glasses on the ground. Then we met some guys from the UK who kept trying to convince us that they were 23, when I’m sure they were about 17. We also met up with a group we had met at the hostel from France that were fun! We also made some friends from Ireland, and Meryl was very excited because one of the girls was from the same area that her family was from so she got to hear about that. They were really nice and we wanted to stay out, but we went home early because we had a big day planned for Sunday.
Our last day in Dublin, Meryl and I woke up early to go to the Guinness factory so we didn’t have to wait in line. It was a really fun experience. The museum was actually about 7 floors I think. They showed the entire process of making beer and advertisements from as early as the 1950s. Apparently, doctors even used to diagnose Guinness to help people get better when they were sick! In the middle, there was a tasting lab, where we got to try different drafts. And of course, your ticket comes with a free pint so we went to the bar on the top floor to enjoy a pint with everyone while looking at amazing views over Dublin.
After the Guinness factory, Meryl and I got lunch at a bagel sandwich shop and then bought tickets to go to Howth, a small coastal town about a half hour from Ireland. It was the perfect afternoon. The town is adorable. We got off the train and walked to the center of town where there was a huge outdoor market. We decided to take a nap in the grass, where I peacefully slept to the sounds of the ocean, music and a man yelling for people to buy mangos! It was really nice and cool so it was very enjoyable. When we got up, we walked through the market and sampled all kinds of bread, salami, cheese, hummus, bread dips, falafel…everything you can imagine you could sample! The people were all so friendly too! Then we walked down to the water and walked along the coast to a lighthouse. We actually saw three seals too! A woman and her two kids were feeding them fish. There are a lot of cliffs and I just really wished we had more time in Ireland, because although I enjoyed Dublin, I would have liked to see more places like Howth, more of the countryside and more of the less touristy areas. Maybe next time!
After getting back from Howth, we picked up Harris and got pizza for dinner before going out for one last pint of Guinness. I was very tired and we had an early flight, so we went back early, but not before I got invited to an exclusive party in France! Too bad I couldn’t go… We had an uneventful flight back to Prague where we ended up catching up on sleep and doing a bit of studying to prepare for our last week of school!