Oct 5th 2018
Getting to Dublin was the easiest journey if I remember correctly which was a blessing because by the time we got to Dublin, we were pretty worn out. Even so, we really had a great time in our short visit there because Ireland is incredible and we decided out of all the places we visited on our trip, Dublin was the one we could picture ourselves living. We got to stay in this really cute residential area just south of Dublin called Rathmines (pronounced "rat-mines"). Our AirBnb was right near a couple of schools and a lot of the kids walked to school themselves, or rode the public bus, but a lot of parents seemed to walk their kids to school too! Something about watching the people around us do daily life seemed really special and we enjoyed waking up in the morning and walking about with people just doing regular day things.
So, speaking of regular day things, Dublin's bus system (all double-decker buses) is how pretty much everyone gets around and I was determined to use them because it is only 20 euros a person for a 72 hour visitors pass - unlimited bus and train rides for that period of time. This turned out to be a pretty darn good deal because, after we got the hang of the it, we ended up using the buses to get literally everywhere.
Our first day, we sort of kept resting a bit and ended up walking to the McDonalds down the street for dinner. The McDonald's and Pizza Hut and other American fast food restaurants are all much cleaner and nicer in Europe than they are in America. Then we chilled at the Starbucks right next door and did a bit of research to prepare for our next day in Dublin!
The next morning, we got up a little early and headed to the Irish Botanical Gardens and oh boy that was my absolute favorite part. We ended up going back the second day as well because we couldn't see it all in the time we had to spend there the first day! The whole place made me feel like I was lost in a dream or on some really rich persons estate.
I might do an entire post about the Botanical Gardens because I could have spent multiple days there in a row. It is so packed with beautiful flowers and plants and the birds are singing and there's waterfalls sort of hidden all around so you can hear them but not always see them. If you go to Dublin, you HAVE to go here because it made me want to sit down in the grass and write and it's been a long time since I've wanted to do that.
We had an appointment with the Guinness Storehouse shortly after lunch, so we departed the gardens and headed back into town, stopping by St. Patrick's cathedral. It was nice, but not much to report other than that. Lots of writing on the walls we didn't read - how rude of us, right? We had lunch in the Brewer's Dining Hall once we got to the Guinness Storehouse and it was surprisingly delicious. We had the Guinness beef stew and the Guinness chocolate mousse. Both had just the right amount of that Guinness beer flavor and were super satisfying because it's a bit chilly in Dublin - perfect for some stew.
The Storehouse is absolutely huge and filled with people. There is a whole shop downstairs with everything Guinness, multiple restaurant areas, and at the very top there is a circular room with a bar in the center and windows all around (think the Sundial restaurant in ATL but much smaller). Now, I don't mind beer and I think some of it is tasty, but I don't much care how it is made. However, the story of the Storehouse is actually pretty interesting and at the end, we got to learn how to professionally pour our own glass of Guinness!
The storehouse is a really crowded place and probably is a tourist trap, but, if you go to Dublin, you still have to go because it is a really important part of Dublin's history. They employed hundreds of people in times where businesses were not doing so hot and they continued to grow and thrive, doing really great stuff for Dublin's economy.
After the Guinness Storehouse tour, we weren't ready to be done quite yet! We had plans to take a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher (pronounced "more") the next day, so we wanted to cram as much as we could into this first day! We hopped on a bus to the train station and rode the DART train all the way to Howth (pronounced like "both") - just outside of Dublin. After a quick train ride (Gene finally got to ride a train in Europe!) and some not so quick walking, we ended up with views like this.
There were so many paths and places I wanted to explore near the cliffs in Howth in the short time we had there, so while Gene kept to the cliff path, I went as high as I could and tried to see as much as I could. I loved the cliffs but my curiosity was getting the best of me. It was also REALLY windy, so my rock climbing adventures gave us a pretty hilarious gif of me trying not to fall off the rocks (I really wasn't that close to falling - it's fine).
Also I got this cool picture of Gene (who is always cool, but here is picture evidence).
We didn't have a ton of time in Howth because we weren't super sure when the last train was leaving to go back to Dublin and we didn't really feel like sleeping on a park bench, so we didn't take any chances. We stopped at a local place in Howth to eat dinner and they had surprisingly good food! Then we hopped, skipped, and jumped back to our place in Rathmines. Overall a very tiring, but very visually rewarding first day in Ireland.
Here are some more pictures of the Irish Botanical Gardens because I can't stop.
Stay tuned for a whole post of just pictures from the Botanical Gardens and a post from Gene about our second day in Dublin!