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April 7th 2014
Published: April 8th 2014
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Trinity LibraryTrinity LibraryTrinity Library

Ancient & distinguished
Ah Dublin….Dublin…..what to say about Dublin?

If asked to describe it in one word?

Dave says alive

Merry Jo says joyful.

One may or may not come to Dublin to pub crawl—not that there’s anything wrong with that……..

We have found however to properly immerse yourself into local culture you’ll end up in a few pubs. Our intent was to listen to some good Irish music and indeed that goal has been accomplished. Our goal may have been enhanced by a few pints of the local brew. And so our story unfolds……

Before our arrival—

And so the conversation began like this…..where do we want to go this spring?

Several countries in Europe, South America and the Middle East were in contention originally, but since our wedding anniversary would fall during the trip, we realized that for the major anniversaries, we had always been on an island. This being our 20th, and prescient having been set, we knew that an island journey was proper.

Now Ireland is technically an island (3rd largest in Europe and 20th largest in the world), so it was under consideration. And then the decision was made. Once we declared it to be our destination, we had a half a dozen friends, family or family of friends tell us that Ireland is one of their favorite countries.

From the United States, the majority of the flights to Ireland land in Dublin, so that naturally became our starting point….and in our case, also our finishing point….here we are for a couple more to wrap up a wonderful trip.

We had read that residents of Ireland have a long life expectancy, low pollution, positive experiences and decent work life balance. We also learned that Ireland has some of the happiest people. What is it about this Emerald Isle that pulls people in and leaves them smiling? We came to find out.

A rough schedule

Now then….we want you to know that all of our time in Dublin was not spent in pubs. We’ve seen a library, a couple of churches and a castle as well.

An example of an ordinary itinerary = pub, pub, church, pub, pub (there are always two or three pubs outside each church) castle, pub, pub, library, pub, pub, nap. Pub, pub, chocolate shop, pub, pub literary pub crawl, pub, pub, story telling. Tough task, but we were up to the challenge. Disclaimer: Certainly the ONLY reason we stepped foot in a pub was to listen to music. It is not our fault these bar keeps kept shoving pints in our hands.

Two of our favorite things while in Dublin besides listening to the music was our night at the Literary Pub Crawl and the night at the Brazen Head pub listening to story telling, history and folklore.

Dublin is smaller than many cities we have visited but had a very easy and comfortable feel to it. The old and ancient architecture has been preserved and the new more modern buildings seem to blend nicely into each neighborhood. The city center contained most of what we wanted to see and we found it easy just walk around. Need help finding anything? You could ask almost anyone and they were happy to help you. Yeah, it’s a tourist city, but it has a unique personality and flavor. We were glad to be there to soak it up.

The Book of Kells

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Oxford and Cambridge Universities in the UK, well Dublin has the University of
Well preservedWell preservedWell preserved

Trinity College Library
Dublin far better known as Trinity College. This ancient school of higher learning has a beautiful campus and is very well known for the library. The old library houses the Book of Kells ( the book of Gospel in Latin) and other amazing manuscripts, maps and music. When standing in this library one wonders about the knowledge contained in this one room, this amazing room with loved and well cared for book, after book, after book. The displays are done very well.

The history of the Book of Kells is given in detail. The story of how it was written, by whom – down to the description of the paper it was written on and the inks used for this amazing manuscript. Impressive, as it was written well before the invention of the printing press and was meticulously done by hand, illustrations as well. As we stood looking through the glass at the Book of Kells we discussed how many people over the years must have work hard to protect this work. The fact that it survived this long is a testament (no pun intended) to its importance.


One would be remiss if they came to
The Old LibraryThe Old LibraryThe Old Library

The Book of Kells
Dublin and did not check out the Guinness Storehouse. Guinness takes up 4 acres in the city. The storehouse is not a brewery but a museum and education in beer and brewing. We’ve been to many of these places in the U.S. so we didn’t learn anything new but this one is very well done. It is worth the price of admission to go to the 7th floor to the Gravity Bar and enjoy the views of the city. A priceless experience as we sat there, pint in hand overlooking this grand city on a sunny day.

The Brazen Head Storytelling

We enjoyed an evening at The Brazen Head Pub where we joined in on an evening of dinner and storytelling. It is advertised as an evening of food, folklore and fairies. It was delightful. In the U.S. if you had gone to an event like this you would have paid a lot of money for the entertainment and the food would have been pedestrian. That was not the case at the Brazen Head Pub. The food was wonderful MJ had the poached salmon and it was perfect, Dave had the Irish stew and the lamb was flavorful. We’ve both had some experience with Toastmasters International in the past and we wondered if the gentleman who was our storyteller for the evening had any formal training or if his skills were natural. Johnny was great and even spent some time chatting with us. When he found out we’d be in Ireland for a month, he grabbed a pen and started to write on our map places around the country that he particularly liked. During our time in Ireland, we heeded his sage advice many a time and it paid off handsomely.

Literary Pub Crawl

If you find yourself looking for a few laughs in Dublin sign up for the Literary Pub Crawl. Ireland has produced an abundance of great and famous writers over the years. The actors are cheerful, cynical and tell entertaining stories about Irish writers and they lead you to 4 pubs and a couple of city sights.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Both of the apartments we rented were in the Christchurch area of Dublin through airbnb. It was a perfect location for a few days of exploring the city. Our host for our first stay in Dublin was Svetlana, who we never got to meet and Dave was a bit disappointed as he had never met anyone named Svetlana. She sent her boyfriend Artie to give us the apartment keys and he was entertained by the fact that the previous tenants had not vacated the apartment on time. Artie rolled his eyes at us and said, ah, the French, with a pleasant smile. The French couple seemed irritated that we were invading their space when actually it had become our space about an hour before they moved out. Slight bump in the road but no worries we headed to the Bull and Castle Steakhouse for a pint, a bit to eat and to ease into the Irish culture. Our second apartment was across the street from a park adjacent to St. Patrick’s cathedral, another great location for exploring Dublin on foot.

One sunny day we didn’t really have an agenda so we found ourselves exploring three lovely churches in the morning for four Irish pubs in the afternoon. The pub culture in Dublin is casual and full of music. We listened to traditional music at Grogan’s, which caters as the tourist music pub in town. It’s worth a visit.

Irish StorytellingIrish StorytellingIrish Storytelling

At the Brazen Head Pub
Dublin as well as across this island nation, there is an abundance of very accomplished musicians who can regale an audience with traditional Irish music. Combine that with some reasonably good pub fare and of course a pint or two, and you’ve got yourself covered. If you’re lucky, you might even strike up a conversation with a friendly local, who will ask you where you’re from, how you like Ireland, and of course, do you have any family here? Ireland is a land of emigrants due to tough times in the 19th century and most Americans will find Irish blood in their family somewhere if they look back far enough. The Irish are a warm and welcoming people and we experienced this time after time during our month here. We leave with a smile on our faces and Irish tunes in our heart…….

Amusing Irish Facts:

The national symbol of Ireland is the Celtic harp, not the shamrock

Oscar Wilde once said, “ There is no bad weather……only inappropriate clothing”

Temple Bar district in Dublin got its name from Sir William Temple, whose home and gardens were located there in the 17th century (“bar”
Literary Pub CrawlLiterary Pub CrawlLiterary Pub Crawl

The Duke Pub
happens to be a common Anglo-Saxon name for a gatehouse)

Dubliners drink a total of 9800 pints an hour between the hours of 530pm on a Friday and 330am the following Monday

The Irish consume in average 131.1 liters of beer per year the 2nd highest per-capita consumption after the Czech Republic

James Joyce once called Guinness stout “the wine of Ireland”

There are no postal or Zip codes in Ireland outside of Dublin and Cork City

The longest place name in Ireland is Muchanaghederdauhaulai, in County Galway

Off with their heads! The guillotine was used by the Irish 500 years before the French adopted it. The proof can be found in an old print of a gentleman named Murcod Ballagh using a guillotine near Merton, County Galway on April 1, 1307

Where we stayed: Christchurch – booked two different apartments via bnb Contact us for additional details.

Restaurants we enjoyed: Il Barraco Italian Wine Bar, Jaipur Indian Restaurant, Bull & Castle Steakhouse and Pub

Additional photos below
Photos: 37, Displayed: 29


Gravity BarGravity Bar
Gravity Bar

Top floor of Guinness
Making new friendsMaking new friends
Making new friends

A pint of happiness
A lifetime of knowledgeA lifetime of knowledge
A lifetime of knowledge

The Old Library Dublin
The Old Library DublinThe Old Library Dublin
The Old Library Dublin

A lifetime of knowledge
The Guinness StorehouseThe Guinness Storehouse
The Guinness Storehouse

Museum & beer tasting
Dublin ViewDublin View
Dublin View

From Guinness rooftop bar
Arthur's BarArthur's Bar
Arthur's Bar

At the Guinness Storehouse
Gogarty's PubGogarty's Pub
Gogarty's Pub

The Temple Bar District
Enjoying the musicEnjoying the music
Enjoying the music

...and a Smithwick's

8th April 2014
Trinity Library

Awww, we miss you guys. This sounds like a very fun trip: "pub, pub, church, pub, pub (there are always two or three pubs outside each church) castle, pub, pub, library, pub, pub, nap. Pub, pub, chocolate shop, pub, pub literary pub crawl, pub, pub, story telling." Great photo btw. Love the idea of a literary pub crawl. ;)
8th April 2014
Trinity Library

It was all we wanted it to be and more! Found several Irish beers that I like so all is good. The literary pub crawl and the story telling were a lot of fun.
8th April 2014

Fab holidat!
You lucky ducks to have experienced the book of Kells and Trinity College Library. I love illustrated manuscripts and was dying to see this classic, but there were long lines when I was there in one summer; since I'm allergic to lines, I missed it. How wise to visit in March--your whole holiday sounded like a dream--an anniversary to remember!
8th April 2014

Fab time
Indeed it was a nearly perfect trip. No complaints. I can understand being allergic to long lines. March is really a good time to visit. I'm glad we came when we did. No lines for anything.
8th April 2014

What a fantastic journey with lovely photos. Thanks for sharing! Safe travels home. Marsha
8th April 2014

Good hearing from you Marsha
Ireland was great fun. So glad we went to there to celebrate our anniversary.
9th April 2014

An amazing trip...
with enough time to savor the culture and the stout.
9th April 2014

Yes we had the time to savor everything. It was a good trip.
9th April 2014
Touring Dublin Castle

About the only thing you haven't done in Ireland is have an Aussie BBQ in Waterford. A mate of mine started that so I know its real. Sing-a-longs and selfies you excel...but what about Riverdance? Gotta see you doing that!!!
9th April 2014
Touring Dublin Castle

No we didn't get to the Riverdance and didn't know about the BBQ in Waterford or we might have gone to do that. Next time.
9th April 2014
Gravity Bar

Nice shot with the black stuff :)
The pints look really tasty! :) And is it sun I see? You surely came to Dublin at the right time! Loved your daily itinerary also... Just like you said, it's impossible not to visit a few pubs (per day) while in Dublin. I've lived there for 6 years and was planning to come back there once my Asian adventure finished... Plans had changed though... But it sure feels like home still... Loved the atmosphere and the people... So it makes me really happy you both had good time in Dublin! Looking forward to your next blogs. Regards!
9th April 2014
Gravity Bar

Living in Dublin
It would be great to live in Dublin for 6 years. LOL....yes there was a large golden foreign object in the sky. We enjoy your blogs also and looking forward to reading more.
11th April 2014

The luck of the Irish!
Dublin sounds like an amazing place...loved your daily routines very much! A Guinness lifestyle :)
11th April 2014

Luck of the Irish
Smithwick's ended up being our favorite beer. So many fine choices. Dublin was a lot of fun.
14th April 2014

Pubs and Guinness
Yes you have certainly whet my whisltle. Lv Lynne
14th April 2014

Drink up
We've got some friends in Seattle who went to an Irish Pub to drink Smithwick's after reading one of our blogs. Maybe you need to grab yourself a pint.
19th April 2014

Thanks for the travels through Dublin!
We have wanted to get there but as of yet haven't - will definitely keep it on the list. Isn't it great when you meet local people that "mark up your map" and give you great local knowledge - we so enjoy that & it really does come in handy. Sounds like you definitely picked a great "island" to celebrate your anniversary this year. Good luck in figuring out next year! If you haven't been to the Azores, you might want to check them out!
19th April 2014

Always looking for islands
Bob & Janice, glad you enjoyed the blog. Ireland was a perfect location. We'd love to get to the Azores! We will keep them in mind. Local information is always the key to success.
28th April 2014

Island Celebrations
What an excellent tradition to celebrate your anniversary! The trip sounds excellent. It certainly makes me want to make my way to Dublin for a pint and a story! Wonderful photos and description, as always.
28th April 2014

Katie, glad you are following along. We had a fantastic time.
29th April 2014
Trinity Library

No J!
They're missing the J row. Do they have no J books?
30th April 2014
Guinness please

Good stuff
Thank you for sharing. Ireland is also on our radar for the future.
30th April 2014
Trinity Library

J is missing
I'll have to look through the other photos and see if I can find it. Odd.
30th April 2014
Guinness please

We had a wonderful time in Ireland. Send us a message if you have any specific questions. We'd be happy to help.
30th April 2014

We loved your blogs from Ireland. This country is also high on our bucket list. But I think we have to wait till Nina can have a beer or two again. The pub tours seem to be too much fun - pub sotry teeling, GREAT! Loved the pics! Thanks for sharing.
30th April 2014

Ireland offered more than we expected. It was FUN. I hope Nina will feel better soon and you'll be able to check it out.
7th May 2014

your trip
Must try Ireland sometime - my great grandfather came from Galway so i have no excuse . You must try Wales sometime . Lovely country and some lovely scenery. Jennifer
7th May 2014

We hope to go to Wales soon. We've always wanted to go.
27th May 2014
The Temple Bar

Nice composition!
Really love this photo
27th May 2014
The Temple Bar

Thank you
The musicians in Ireland were wonderful. This group was really something.
7th September 2014

Dublin is worth to visit again
Reading your blog from Dublin I realise that we missed a few things when we were in Dublin a few years ago. I guess I have to go back there again some day
7th September 2014

Revisit Dublin
Every minute of our month in Ireland was wonderful. I'd love to go back. There is so much to see and to do in Dublin and all the other towns. We loved all the music in pubs.
18th February 2022

Oh wow, we indeed visited similar places, lol! Your month touring Ireland must have been amazing - I'd like to explore much more on my next visit. It seems you visited lots of good old Irish pubs, and met some great people - the craic must have been grand! ?

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