Our trip to Dublin was Dayna’s first time in Ireland despite having proudly carried around an Irish passport for over a year now so she was pretty excited to finally set foot in her family’s old stomping ground. And what better weekend for it than St Patrick’s day weekend!
We took a bit of a whirlwind approach given we are preserving our leave for the long list of other trips we have this year so we flew in on Saturday morning. Good fortune and a generous friend saw us staying for free with Grace (who I met at university in San Diego). Our taxi driver from the airport gave us a bit of a tour of Dublin on the way to Grace’s place before getting lost and eventually dropping us off and overcharging us but at least we made it in one piece (his driving was a little…erratic).
We got to enjoy a quick lunch and catch up at a great local place with Grace and her fiance before setting off on our own little walking tour of Dublin. We were quite close to St Patrick Cathedral so naturally started there before venturing over to join the masses at Dublin’s most popular tourist spot – the Guinness Storehouse.
The queues were absolutely massive but we had made the great choice of pre-booking our tickets so at least our line moved quite quickly and we were in the door after a short wait.
As far as museum/tours go, this one was up there and despite having thousands of people streaming through, it never felt overly crowded. We learned all about the history of Guinness, saw some of the original documents and learned what makes the beer so good. We had to refuel midway so tried some unique little snacks at the cafeteria (Guinness and beetroot brownie was great if you’re ever there).
Eventually we made it to the top floor and the Gravity bar where we got to finally enjoy our free pint of Guinness. Maybe enjoy is the wrong word for Dayna as she only made it a quarter of the way through hers before I was handed the rest (good for me at least!).
Dublin is quite a flat city so the view from the Gravity bar was great (a little hard to get to see it with the throngs of people though).
After the tour we headed across town to a pub and got great seats to watch Wales thrash England in their final game of the Six Nations. Half way through we were joined by David, another UCSD friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in 5 years. It’s amazing how 5 years can pass and yet you can fall straight back in to conversation as if it was yesterday.
We ventured to Market bar nearby with Grace and Conor and enjoyed a great dinner. The potatoes were as good as would be expected in Dublin.
So with slightly sore heads we woke the next morning to venture out on a classic St Patrick’s day mission – to find a Tim Hortons. Ok, so maybe just classic for Canadians but we had found out Tim Hortons was in Dublin and had to find one. After walking around and around the spot that Google maps said was a Tim Hortons we gave up and opted for a nice local cafe. 5 minutes after leaving we of course stumbled across one and had to have a second breakfast of donuts and coffee. Despite the coffee not being a match for a double double in Vancouver, it was still a nice surprise to find in Dublin.
Full to the brim, we wobbled over to find a spot to see the people’s parade. About 5 minutes in we were pondering what’s the point of parades anyway – a bunch of people waving flags walking past a bunch of other people – not that great really.
We lasted a while longer which was maybe worth it since we got to see the Brazilian contingent salsa dancing down the street (let’s just their clothing choices were brave given how cold it was). We had done a fair bit of walking at this point so we ventured off to find a nice pub to rest our weary legs but a seat was not forthcoming. Instead we just settled for a lot more walking and got to enjoy some of the proper St Patrick’s day parade when we got stuck on the wrong side of the parade route.
We had made rough plans to meet friends from London (Craig and Gerrie) at a pub a wee ways out of the Temple bar/parade route area but ended up running in to them enroute proving how small Dublin can be.
The rest of St Patrick’s day saw us visiting a series of different pubs and doing our bit for the Irish economy, 1 pint at a time. We ended the night with meeting up with David and Grace again, briefly visiting “probably the smallest bar in the world”.
A very sore head woke me up to the harsh reality of a morning flight the morning after St Patrick’s day (not great planning there!) but we made it to our flight on time thankfully.
So a bunch of happy reunions, 9 pubs, a few Guinness and a leprechaun (the duty free area at Dublin airport had hired a little person (is that the PC term now?) to run around in a leprechaun costume) in 48 hours. Not a bad St Patrick’s day.