This past weekend, Gabby, Abbey, Karie, and I travelled to Dublin. Yes, you read that right. We went there solely for the weekend. This is the adventure within.
We boarded a bus at 10am from Cork to Dublin. I had thought that riding through rural Ireland would be interesting and beautiful. Unfortunately, I discovered that it's a lot like driving through Iowa: once you've been on the bus for an hour, the scenery looks exactly the same. I was fighting nausea for most of the 4-hour drive. Our driver was incredibly brake-happy. Ugh.
Once we arrived in Dublin, we went straight to our hostel to check in. The hostel manager was a curmudgeonly man named Seamus and he was awesome, hilarious, and incredibly helpful. Much like many Irish people we've met, he had the propensity to keep talking to us even though we had acquired the information we had asked him for. As in, we found out that his stomach was not that big from overeating, but from his enlarged kidneys.
We went over to O'Shea's for dinner and had a great dinner before heading out to Grafton Street, one of Dublin's shopping districts. Grafton Street had a lot of shops that were selling similar things to what we could find in Cork. The only exception to this was Carrolls, a chain of Irish shops that sell touristy Irish items. Carrolls is like Starbucks: there is another one literally around the corner and they sell the same things.
Needless to say, I bought a bunch of touristy Irish items.
Friday night we returned to our hostel room on the third floor. I've lived on the ground floor for the past three years so this was a killer. (Just living up to the lazy American stereotype.) We slept in a mixed gender room, so of course most of the other people in our room were middle-aged men. Some of you know about my odd love of middle-aged men, but not when they accidentally grope my friend's leg during the night. It definitely did not help improve our views of hostels.
Up early for adventures! Our first stop was the Kilmainham Gaol (Jail). The gaol was seriously my favourite part of the trip. It hosted a variety of Irish revolutionaries as well as petty thieves. The tour was incredible as we were able to see nearly the whole gaol. History lesson: After the Easter Rebellion in 1916 when Ireland was fighting for its freedom from England, a female prisoner inscribed a passage from Padraig Pearce's Proclamation of Freedom: "Beware the Risen People who have Harried and Held, Ye that have Bullied and Bribed." Super. Cool. My mom and I have watched Ghost Hunters for years, and before that any ghost show we could get our hands on. (One of our favourites was Celebrity Paranormal Project.) I didn't get the chance to ask if the gaol was haunted, but I'm really hoping it is and is on an upcoming episode of Ghost Hunters International!
After Kilmainham Gaol, we walked over to the Guinness Storehouse. As my Aunt Barbara reminds me often, my family is distantly related to the Guinness family. The more Irish spelling of my last name is literally McGuinness (as I learned from Tammy and Christine). As it probably happened at Ellis Island, the McGuinness clan would give their last name and whoever was writing it down wrote the last name as they heard it. It would explain the million different spellings of "Maginnis". On top of that, we're from Northern Ireland counties Down and Antrim. Go figure.
Anyway! Guinness Storehouse! Not nearly as awesome as I would have hoped. It was a self-guided tour and there was too much to read. As interesting as it was at some points, I just didn't care that much about how to make beer and that I have heard the process before. We were herded through the storehouse with all the other tourists all the way up to the best part: The Gravity Bar. It has a fantastic view of Dublin from all sides and you can enjoy your free pint of Guinness while you do. We didn't, as we wanted to eat as well, so we headed back down to a different level for lunch and a beer. Gabby and I raced at the end to see who could finish our beer the fastest. I won. Thank you, Irish/German heritage.
We hiked over to the Chester Beatty Library after the storehouse. The library isn't much of a library, but a collection of artefacts and objects that Beatty gathered in his lifetime. They managed to procure a lot of items and include them in two exhibits: one on his Asian travels (including Japan, China, and the Middle East) and the other of ancient religious texts. Very cool. There was an additional exhibit for Henri Matisse in another room and I liked it minus the fact I can't read a scratch of French, so I didn't quite understand where he was getting the inspiration from in certain pieces of literary work. Oh well.
Once we were finished with the library, we wandered over to Temple Bar and saw The Temple Bar. It was packed inside, so we didn't stay long. Instead, we went in search of food and found a crepes shop. I didn't get any crepes, but the hot chocolate was more than worth it. We sat and talked for a while and supposedly annoyed people sitting at another table with my swearing. Tammy later said they were probably surprised to hear an American accent swearing so loudly and proudly since the Irish swear pretty regularly and with such ease. See, Mom? It's part of my heritage!
Best yet: after dinner, we wound up at a microbrewery called The Porterhouse. It was mildly crowded, but with three stories and a live band, we couldn't argue. It was the least crowded place we had come across near/in Temple Bar. We managed to find seats on a bench where we could see the band. At first, I was talking to Gabby, Abbey, and Karie, but I eventually found myself conversing with a middle-aged couple: Steve and Angela. They were a riot! After awkwardly leaning across the table and talking to Steve, I moved over to their table and sat with them. We talked about all the places I wanted to visit in Europe, theatre, and jokes. I stayed there for a good chunk of time before Steve befriended the Germans at a table next to us. Long story short, by the end of the night, our entire group (us, Steve & Angela, and the Germans) had taken over the corner we were in and Angela and I successfully finished a bottle of Proseco that Steve had bought for us. Needless to say, I was happy and a little tipsy on the walk back home.
But that all changed when we got to the hostel.
We hiked up the five flights of stairs to our room to find a nearly naked guy sleeping in Karie's bed. We knew we'd have different people in the room, but you'd think that someone would assume that a made bed would mean someone was already sleeping there. Apparently not to this guy. (You're handed a set of sheets at arrival. He had no excuse.) We hiked back down to the front desk to discover that they overbooked our room. Great. So the desk host disappears to our room for a bit only to tell us that one of us had to change rooms. Yes. You read that right. One of us. Excuse me, but I made the reservation for four people in one room. Clearly, we should not have moved. However, since I'm apparently a martyr when I'm tipsy/drunk, I volunteered to move. While tired and frustrated, I packed up my stuff to move down the five flights, to the back house, then up two flights to my new room. As Gabby and I went over there, we thought that perhaps it was an all female dorm and one of the guys couldn't move. I went to sleep, listening to Garfunkel & Oates, hoping I was right.
Lies. All of it. It was another mixed room. I was even angrier when I woke to discover that. I nearly missed breakfast, but was still so angry that I didn't feel like eating. I would have also complained had the front desk clerk been Seamus, but I did not want the poor people behind the desk to hear my fury. We left on our next adventure.
In the morning, we went over to Trinity College to get a school tour and see The Book of Kells. I really enjoyed the school tour because our tour guide Marcus was really funny and Trinity has such an interesting history. Yet, the big reason we went, The Book of Kells, was actually a bit of a disappointment. It was incredibly crowded with rude people. I looked at The Book of Kells for maybe two minutes before getting too annoyed with everything and exiting to the Long Room, the longest room in Ireland. It was cool and less crowded, but I was still grumpy. In the gift shop, I could hardly move. It was a terrible layout and with all the morons who were in there, I wanted to die. Instead, I exited the gift shop with no souvenirs of the experience. No pictures, no nothing. Ah, well. I guess that's what happens when you go to the #1 Tourist Location in Dublin.
My friends were nice enough to let me drag them to Forbidden Planet, a nerdtastic store I saw from the taxi on Saturday. I was so excited to geek out for just a little bit. Comic book stores are my new haven.
Once I made my purchases, it was off to St. Patrick's Cathedral. Though I'm not a religious person, I liked the cathedral. The architecture was super gorgeous and I'm always interested in stained glass windows. Unfortunately, my feet were killing me at this point so I spent most of the time sitting down. It was still nice to be somewhere that was relatively quiet and not incredibly touristy.
We had lunch and booked it back to our hostel in the rain. Dublin was ultra rainy, even more so than Cork. It was atrocious weather the whole weekend, especially on the walk back. But all in all, we made it to our bus with time to spare. Better yet, we discovered our bus was an express after a certain point and we got back to home sweet Cork a half hour early. It was a great weekend in Dublin and I can't wait for more adventures like that.