Saturday, 18 July 2015

Dublin, Ireland.

With our second year of University coming to an end, my housemates and I booked a two day get-a-way to southern Ireland. Dublin has never really been a place that comes to mind when asked where I want to travel to, but spontaneity nevertheless saw me checking in to East Midlands airport at 4:00am. In a haze of sleep deprivation and excitement, I had an amazing break away and wanted to share some tips and trips.

As someone who has both a fear of heights and no experience flying, I knew this holiday was going to be interesting from start to finish. Despite a short delay in our take-off schedule, RyanAir were wonderful and provided a very hospitable journey whilst I proceeded to give my friend cramp in her hand due to squeezing it tightly. Once there, all seven of us were very impressed by the organisation of the Taxi services outside of Dublin Airport.

During our visit we stayed in a mixed gender shared room in the Generator hostel, which we were incredibly impressed with in regards to the range of facilities it offered. Only a 20 minute walk from the centre of Dublin, we were happy with where we had chosen. Some tips for anyone planning to stay at the Generator: bring your own towel. They're available to rent from the main reception for €2, which isn't much in the grand scheme of things, however as students every little helps. 

None of us in the group had looked into places to see before leaving England, so our first day was a very relaxed exploration of the city. It wasn't long before we stumbled into St. Stephen's Park, a very large and very green place that I absolutely adored. I very recently watched the film Leap Year, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the very same bridge we had stood on was featured in the movie. If you're going away for a peaceful break, I'd definitely recommend trying to make a stop here. 

If there's one thing I learnt while away, it's that the Irish definitely know how to prepare food. I don't think there was a single meal I ate that I didn't enjoy - even the fast food cheeseburgers served at the Generator Hostel were incredible. I don't think there's much I can say on the food front, other than to try everything, however my biggest regret on this break is not making time (or budgeting enough) to try out the Chocolate Cafe we saw on our walk through town. If anyone has been there, please do let me know what it's like!

Our first night we managed to find a wonderful traditional Irish pub, full of friendly locals and incredible live music. It was everything you ever think of, when trying to imagine a few late drinks. We stayed there for quite a few hours, one housemate and I both purchasing the C.D. of the band performing. A quick note for anyone thinking about drinking out in Ireland - most pubs and bars close at 11:00pm. Although the one we found stayed open quite a bit later than this, the specific closing time of which I'm not entirely sure as we left around 1:00am, there are only a handful of places (that we managed to find) which do this. Make sure to research which bars stay open, and until when.

On day number two we did a quick google of the best sites and spent the morning doing the tourist-y things that are expected from a bunch of young adults during their first time in a foreign country. We saw Dublin castle (which reminded me, from certain angles, of Hogwarts), one of the many museums that was there (unfortunately I can't remember which), many beautiful churches, and my personal favourite - the National Leprechaun museum! The latter was so much fun, taking the form of a guided tour consisting of a talk on the origins and adaptations of myths, a rainbow tunnel, a room with giant furniture for us to climb all over, and a pot of gold! If you're going to do anything touristy whilst in Dublin, please let it be this. 

To bring our second night to a close in a memorable way, we decided to go on the Gravedigger Ghost Tour. Tickets were €20 per person, but it was so worth it. I had expected something spooky, as I had heard Ireland was rather well known for this, however the tour was made to be entirely comical along with a few jump scares. It wasn't disappointing in the slightest, even if it wasn't entirely what I was expecting. We were able to learn quite a morbid history of quite a few city locations, even those we had been through the day before without realising their significance! It was definitely a fun way to bring our trip to a close, and I had one of the best times with some of the best people I know. 

Here are a few more pictures taken on our trip:

When in Ireland... 

Our trip happened shortly after Ireland legalised same-sex marriage,
 and I for one was incredibly happy to see the support that Dublin 
was so openly displaying. 

So many of Dublin's churches were incredibly beautiful, the 
architecture was stunning.

We found a really quirky little art store 
on our travels, and the sign made me smile.

And finally, Dublin castle!

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