There comes a point in any extended vacation (I don’t care if you’re in Europe or at the lake house two hours away) where your mind starts to focus more on home (and all that you have to look forward to when you get back—laundry, bills to pay, floors to vaccum) than the itinerary still in front of you.
For us, that point hit us full force with our arrival in Dublin. We were exhausted and while every tired bone in our body just wanted to veg out on the bed in front of bad Irish reality TV, Tourist Trooper Gail wanted to slap the real Gail in the face and be all, “Girl, RECOGNIZE…YOU ARE IN DUBLIN. Quit whining about wanting to go home and just get out there and ENJOY it already.”
With what little time we had there (and with our attention spans having been reduced to 3-year-olds—this is what 14 days straight of museum ventures and history hunting will do to you), that’s exactly what we did. Enjoyed it. Here are the sites we loved most:
This place is really, really beautiful. The perfect mix of Ivory Tower history mixed with the hustle and bustle of the streets of Dublin. It is smack-dab in the center of Dublin and even our short visit made it obvious it plays a pretty big role in the culture of this city.
These Crayola-color-esque buildings were part of the Dublin Castle. Who knew Dublin had a castle? I love how every European city had its own. Imagine if Washington, D.C. or New York had a castle. How come we didn’t bring that idea across the ocean with us? :)Dublin’s Doors
More than any other city I’ve ever visited, I was in LOVE with the street-level charm of Dublin’s storefronts and its doors. It’s kind of Dublin’s “thing”, you know? I noticed, as I was snapping away at all of these (annoying my husband) that tourist shops were selling posters of Dublin’s doors and playing cards too….what a quaint “thing” to be remembered for, eh? Those Irish….
In America, bars are all neon beer signs and strip mall parking lots. Europe does it right and the pubs of London and Dublin were no exception. We need fewer BW-3s in the states and more Century-Gothic inspired Lord Edwards :) Christ Church Cathedral
Every building you want to venture into seems to charge for admission. Which explains why we opted not to see the interior of Dublin’s beautiful Christ Church Cathedral. At this point, we were suffering from that “Seen one, seen ‘em all, don’twannapayforanythingelse” vacation fatigue. So, I apologize to you, Christ Church. I’m sure you’re ever bit as lovely on the inside as you were the outside!
The Guinness Factory
Scratch everything I just said above about not paying for anything else on the tour circuit because we happily forked over the $22 a piece for an afternoon tour of the Guinness Factory. AND IT WAS SO WORTH IT.
(Note: Do you see us wearing sleeves here? We got off the plane from Rome and went from 95 to 62 degrees. It was heaven!)
Not only do I love Guinness stout (well, love is a strong word for someone who only occasionally drinks beer), but I LOVE Guinness’s branding. If you’re familiar with the whole “My Goodness, My Guinness” ads, then you would have loved the John Gilroy exhibit, dedicated to the cartoonist who popularized the animals featured in the ads. At the end of the tour, you head up to the top of the museum (which is shaped like a Guinness glass) to the Sky Bar, where you’re given two complimentary Guinnesses. And get to enjoy views of the city like this. There is something about this particular image — this red bike, that green trim– that makes me want to blow it up canvas-size. Temple Street and Temple Bar
This area is THE hip spot in Dublin. Where all the cool bars (including Dublin’s most famous, below) can be found. Where street musicians try to make it big (If you are obsessed with the movie “Once” like I am, then you should know this is the area where a lot of the movie was filmed). I booked us a room in the Temple Hotel because I thought, “How cool to be RIGHT where all the action is happening, right?” Well, cool during the day, sure. Not so cool at night as we laid in bed at 2 a.m. and listened to yet another Irish version of a cover song belted out on the street below us. In one of those “not funny then but funny now” travel moments, I’ll never forget my husband’s muffled voice under his pillow saying, “Gail, this has GOT to be the last song. I mean, we’re in Dublin. It’s the Cranberries’ “Zombie”. It doesn’t get more Irish than that. It’s like THE song to end a set with. I’m sure of it.”
Five minutes later, we were treated to a cover of Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” and all I could do was roll over and laugh.