The Trip of a Lifetime: Dublin, Ireland

Courtney Smith
October 14, 2013

Get ready as this post is lengthy, but how can you explain a three day adventure with so little words? You just cannot…

As we had just finished our intensive lessons for Italian, we had a four day weekend and Rachel and I were ready to travel.  We both agreed on Dublin, Ireland.  I was so excited because it has always been a dream to travel to Dublin as I am half Irish and have always been fascinated by adventures friends have told me about.  After arriving to Dublin 2 hours late and getting into our hostel at 3 a.m. we were dead tired, yet our adrenaline was running.  Now you try to be quiet when going into an 18 person room at 3 a.m.  Luckily no one complained and we finally got some sleep.

On little sleep we were both up early the next morning as we wanted to make the most of our three whole days in Dublin.  After searching online we decided to get the “Dublin Pass” this allowed us see up to 30 different major attractions for a much cheaper price then going and seeing them all individually. As college students and wanting to learn more about the culture of drinking in Dublin we set off for the Guinness Brewery.  Little did we know it was going to be Arthur Guinness’ birthday and the celebrations were all around us.  At the Guinness factory we were able to see the original lease for the building, practice calligraphy, screen print some designs, take pictures, and see how the beer is made.  We also had the opportunity to learn how to professionally taste beer and then got to drink a pint of Guinness on the 7th floor overlooking the entire city! I was amazed and very interested with how beer was made and the long process it takes to make a good beer.

Continuing on with the drinking we headed to the Jameson distillery next where we got a tour of how Irish whiskey was made.  This building was part of the original distillery until the company grew too large and is now brewing out in the country.  On this tour we got to be lead around by a tour guide and I was one of the lucky few you raised my hand quick enough and I was going to be part of a game later on.  Know idea what this game was going to be, but I was excited.  After the tour I sat at the head table and got to taste test Irish Whiskey, Scottish Whiskey, and American Whiskey.  We were taught how to properly taste these and then asked to rate our favorite.  We also got a mixed drink of Jameson, Canada Dry, and a lime, YUM! Just from these two activities the pass had paid for itself for the day.

Although Rachel and I loved day drinking and experiencing the culture of Dublin we also wanted to see some of the old beautiful churches Dublin is known for.  On our way back into town we stopped at Christ Church Cathedral and were amazed at the details of the stained glass on the inside as well as the the tile floors.  No pictures or words will do these Cathedrals justice.  They are kept up so well and each part is very particular to detail with all the wood carving on the banisters to the alter.  The sound in the Cathedral was also a new found love.  Every sound is so different and unique as it just echoes throughout the entire place.

Keeping with Irish tradition we went to Bad Bob’s for dinner which of course included fish and chips and beer.  We choose this place because there was a live band playing music where we could rest out feet, chow down, and enjoy Arthur Guinness’ birthday.

“Top of the Mornin to ya” was the first words we encountered when walking the streets the next morning.  The people in Dublin are so nice and friendly, no matter if we were asking for directions on the street, asking the bus driver where to get off, or simply making conversation with store clerks.  And the best part about this morning was being able to indulge in a Pumpkin Spice Latte from nun other than Starbucks! I could not have asked for a better treat, while coffee in Italy is amazing, its not the same as being able to walk around with a warm drink in hand on a crisp fall day.  We soon were off to the countryside to see the Malahide Castle.  This castle was built in the 1400s and has been kept in immaculate shape for hundreds of years.  We only got to tour a couple of the rooms, but they were all furnished as they would have been used and most of the original paintings were in the house still to this day.  Each room had beautiful crown molding, grand fireplaces, and many different painting on the walls.  The pictures will be able to show you more of the exterior and interior looks of the castle.

What a better way then to bring in fall than with going and taking photos with a tree that is changing colors on the grounds of a castle out in the countryside? I would say nothing and so yes we were the ultimate tourists and did just that! We ended the morning with a scone and some Irish coffee while waiting for the bus to take us back into the city.

We were blessed with sunshine and a crisp breeze Saturday so it was perfect for walking around and exploring the streets of Dublin. Next we headed to one of the more well known Cathedrals in Dublin called St. Pats Cathedral. Inside they were holding tours where they took us around the entire church and talked about people who had a great deal of starting this church and the history that goes along with it.  One interesting fact about the church…all the tile is hand laid and because it is said that nothing in this world is perfect one tile is laid off so that the ground is not perfect.  It was one of the most interesting facts I found about this church.  St. Pats is an even larger Cathedral then Christ Church and the sunlight coming through all of the stained glass in this church was breathtaking.  We also got to see the original baptistry that is still to this day located in the cathedral.  We were also told that the boys choir was going to be singing a little later on and so we both agreed to come back to hear them sing. We explored around the park got a bit to eat and headed back to what we soon found out was actual mass.  Mass was very easy to follow along and it was beautifully done.  It was a small group of people for Friday night mass and the boys choir was amazing.  Most of the boys were young around 14 and under where the other fourth of the boys were older, but their voices and the acoustics of the high ceiling of the Cathedral was stunning and beautiful music to my ears.  We ended the night american style with going and grabbing a burger for dinner after walking the streets of Dublin and listening to street performers.

Being an art major and taking many art history classes I knew it was a must see to go and check out Trinity College Library and The Book of Kells.  It was very interesting to see how the process and intricate work went into making the book of Kells.  This is a must see if you ever make it to Dublin.  The Library is worth the wait in line as well as it is filled with thousands of books from hundreds of years ago and is two stories high.  They also have pulled some books off the shelves and we were able to look at the pages and see how beautifully preserved these books have been kept over the year.  Just from looking at the books through a glass case you can see the time and effort that was put into making a bound book vs today where everything is done by a machine.  It gave me a great appreciation for how older books were made and put together.

We wandered around the city with no plans on Saturday which was a nice way to spend our last day.  We did a little shopping where I finally bought myself a nice winter coat for the next few cold months we are about to have here and then we headed over to St. Stephens Green.  St Stephens Green is a huge park with ponds for ducks, benches for reading and many grassy areas suited for a nice picnic.  We strolled around the park for a bit relaxing and people watching before heading to get a bite to eat and change hostels for our last night.

Our hostel for our last night was only about a 10 minute walk away and right on the main street.  After having a craving for noodles and soda all day we went out exploring for food and to bed early as I had to be ready to go at 5am to catch my plane back to Italy.

Dublin was an amazing trip with a good friend.  I have so many fond memories of Dublin  and hope to someday travel back to Ireland to explore the country as a whole.


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Courtney Smith

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Courtney is a senior at Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland, Washington majoring in Graphic Design. In her free time she loves to go out and explore new places, never leaving home without her camera and notebook to document those moments. She also loves to play volleyball and do craft projects. She is catching the travel bug after traveling to Dubai earlier this year and is excited to study in Milan and travel around Europe. Photography and writing are a true passion of hers and she hopes to share her adventures and thoughts while in Europe through this blog.</span></p>

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