We woke up in Dublin on the 30th not so bright eyed and bushy tailed as we fought our jet lag. We stayed at Abigails backpackers in an 8 bed female dorm. It was a really nice hostel with clean sheets, clean bathrooms and most importantly free breakfast! It was also conveniently close to every thing we wanted to do. Located by the river Liffy it was just a short walk to city hall where we began a free three hour walking tour around the city.
Our tour guide, Conor, was born and raised in Dublin and was very proud about his city and his culture. As he took us around the sites he told us bits of history and anecdotes about each location. We saw the Dublin Castle where the English were made to wait 7 whole minutes later than they were supposed to sign a treaty with Ireland. The Dubh-linn gardens which is used as a helipad when dignitaries come to visit. The alley where Hillary Swank was overcome with emotion about losing Gerard Butler. The theatre district in Temple Bar where one of the oldest theatres Smoke Alley Theatre was renovated using most of its old structure.
The giant spire that was built during a time when the Irish had a lot of money and not much clue what to do with it. Its main purpose now is for when tourists get lost.
My favourite place we went to was Trinity College. I thought the symmetry and architecture of the buildings were beautiful and grand. We learnt that it was once a protestant only college that banned Catholics which was pretty interesting. But by far the best thing about this place is their scholar program. In semester one of second year there are a set of exams for the subjects that you are studying that are completely optional and extremely difficult with a huge failure rate. If you do pass these exams you become a Trinity College schol which comes with some pretty great perks. First of all you get a free three course meal and pint of Guinness everyday should you desire to have lunch with your professors. Then there are perks such as getting free accommodation on campus or should you wish to live off campus the college will reimburse you for any rent. They will pay the rest of your college fees and during an exam you can request half a pint of Guinness and the examiner is obliged to fetch one for you. These are all pretty great but by far the best perk was something I was not expecting. Should you own sheep, as a scholar of Trinity College you are more than welcome to bring your sheep to college and they can graze on any of the school's grounds!
Later in the day we went on the beginning of a pub crawl but decided an early one was best because we had to be up early the next day. Also we got stuck at O'Neills listening to two men play Irish folk music and covers using a guitar and a piano accordion. It was amazing! Great atmosphere!!!
The next day was our adventure to Howth. This town is on a peninsula and originally discovered by vikings. We walked up to the summit on the way passing landmarks of the beautiful town. The castle which is still owned by the original family and still lived in. The golf course where they invented footgolf because normal golf wasn't making them enough profit. The memorial site of an important person signified by giant rocks. And the view!!! Also we saw seals!
We went on the same pub crawl intending to do the whole night this time. That was until we saw the hundred other people on the same event trying to squeeze into the same bars. I know the Irish love to drink but that doesn't mean their bars are any bigger. So we left and went back to O'Neills for some more Irish music, dancing and general joy!
Last day in Dublin we went to the Guinness storehouse and walked there in the pouring rain. Was really interesting to see how it is brewed and the importance of even ingredient being just right. Watching a video of how they used to make the barrels was amazing! Then we poured our own perfect pint of Guinness and it was surprisingly nice!
Train to Waterford. More to come later
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