experiences

Adventures in Dublin: One Crazy Day

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Last fall I booked a weekend trip to Dublin via the Wideroe deal. It was mostly going to be a mileage run – Dublin had never been near the top of my list of places to go. Then I asked for reader recommendations of what to see, and began regretting I didn’t have more time. In fact, there was so much I wanted to see I overplanned like never before.

With such good results that though I would have loved more time, I really managed to cram a lot in! I arrived at my hotel at 10:15 in the morning, fully expecting I’d have to store my bags in the luggage room. Miraculously, they were able to let me check in and I availed myself of a shower and fixed myself up so I’d look good in my pictures.

By 11 AM I was walking out the door, straight into driving rain and 30mph winds. All evidence of having “prettied” myself up completely gone. Had I but known, I could have skipped the shower and started 30 minutes sooner. The rain was coming almost sideways so most of my walk to St. Michans, I saw nothing but the bright green of the umbrella I’d fortunately thought to pack.

St Michans Church

But the tour of the crypts were interesting and shaking hands with the 800 year old mummified remains of a crusader was slightly disturbing.

St Michans Church Crypt Tour Times

And by the time we emerged, the sun was out, though rain was still merrily falling. My next stop was the Guinness Experience across the river and at the far side of the downtown.

I made it, and having purchased my tickets in advance, was able to avoid the long Saturday lines to get in. The seven story building was pretty neat, though I’ll admit I skipped over most of the beer making process and went straight for the old advertising and the chance to try to pour the perfect pint, which I then drank on the 7th floor skydeck overlooking the city.

Guinness Experience Dublin Keri Gravity Bar

From the factory my next stop was Trinity College. Dublin Castle was along the way but the tours ended at 3:45 and I figured I could always double back later if I had time. Right outside the Guinness factory was a line of horse and carriages.

For some reason I have a real weakness for horse and carriage rides, and since the rain had stopped I decided to splurge and spend the 20 euros for a ride to Trinity College. I justified it as a way to save time and increase the number of things I could see. Plus that way I got a picture with the horse, though thanks to the gusty wind, none of them came out well.

Dublin Horse Carriage wind

Since I was traveling solo, the driver invited me to ride up front with him, which truly gave me the best view of the city and of being behind a horse. It was a great ride, though the way the horse sailed through red lights and heavy traffic unnerved me just a bit!

I arrived in time to make the 2PM walking tour of Trinity College (30 min ahead of schedule!) which started off without rain, but soon had us all crowding into doorways while the guide talked, barely looking around the corner to see what he was talking about. The Book of Kells exhibit and old library were a nice chance to warm up and dry off though.

Trinity College Tour Old Library Long Room

This took me until about 3PM. On my agenda I’d planned to stop at the Queen of Tarts and get a snack, but I wasn’t all that hungry and dinner would be at 5. Plus I wanted to see the ruins of the Viking settlement underneath Dublin Castle, and that was only available by guided tour, which ended before the 5PM closing time.

Dublin Castle st patricks hall

The tour was great, though the medieval undercroft was underwhelming and I was left with at least 30 minutes before my next stop, and not really a place to go. So I grabbed tea overlooking the castle gardens. It was then that I got a very disappointing phone call!

Dublin Castle Gift Shop Tea Room

Apparently not enough people had booked my Irish Folklore Tour Bus and they were cancelling. While I understand businesses can’t afford to operate at a loss, it’s not quite fair to the customer that I lose my deposit if I cancel within 48 hours, but they cancel within 3 hours with no penalty leaving me with a blank evening.

I was particularly disappointed too because this bus tour was going to have it all. It went out to the Beann Eadair peninsula and the lighthouse at Howth Head which folks had told me to be sure to see, it would offer fun tales of Irish lore, AND it was painted to look like it was a thatched cottage!

So I used my 30 minutes and then some to go back to their office in the Trinity College area and get my refund. Now both physically and emotionally dampened, I tried to choose between the two restaurants I’d narrowed it down to and picked Pichet. Foolishly I’d assumed there’d be room for one person at 5:15 on a Saturday (don’t Europeans eat late??), there wasn’t, and I wound up enjoying my delicious 3 course meal at their tiny bar.

Pichet Dublin Baked Lemon Creme Raspberry Sorbet

I reviewed my other evening options, but none appealed and the red eye was starting to affect me. So I headed back to the hotel and wound up going to bed early, only to wake up in the middle of the night and start working.

Dublin Temple Bar in Morning

The next morning was bright and clear so I walked through the deserted Temple Bar area, which I thought probably showed it at it’s best. During my ramble I encountered an older, definitely inebriated local, who was very interested in where I was from and instructed me to walk down a certain street that depicted Irish fashion throughout the century on the walls.

Dublin Fashion Walk Temple Bar

I did and it did. Not something worth going out of your way for, but if you’re in the area it’s unique and interesting. And with that, it was already time for me to head back, check out, and go find my bus to the airport.

The trip reminded me of my time studying in England – I was cold, tired, and damp most of the time.  And yet, unlike that time over a decade ago, I’d been invigorated and loved almost every minute of this visit. I can’t wait to go back! (Though I do hope the weather is more moderate.)

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

1 Comment

  1. Sheldon Cust

    April 15, 2014 at 5:56 am

    On your next trip to Dublin be sure to take in my favorite guided tour of http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/dublin/kilmainhamgaol/

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