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Published: April 8th 2014
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
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. Guiness
One would be remiss if they came to
The 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.
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
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
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