Coming up on the anniversary of my trip to Ireland has me thinking about it more than usual. I will say, however, that I think of this trip very very frequently. I had such an excellent and amazing time. I would go back to Ireland tomorrow. I’d go back to Ireland last month. I was ready to go back to Ireland as soon as I’d recovered from jet lag.
This will be a bit of a massive post, kind of like my post on Bristol. There were many things that I don’t need to go as far into detail about, but you might like to know about!
Avoca– a beautiful shop with a cafe on the top floor. Avoca is probably historically most known for their woven wool items, as I believe they started as a mill. Their blankets were incredible, bright and modern but totally classic at the same time. They sell many other things, I coveted all of their womens clothing but even on my tourist budget (much more liberal than usual) it was a stretch. We ate a delicious lunch here and purchased a few small things. This is a chain, I know there are several more locations throughout Ireland.
Merrion Square Park- A smaller park a few blocks away from Trinity College. You may (or may not) know that I love Oscar Wilde. His ebullient comedy of error plays and playfulness with language make him one of my favorite writers and wordsmiths. So we trekked out to see his statue in a very narrow window of time that we had.
Last winter was loooong and rough here in Chicago, and even at the beginning of April it was still a barren land, so I was maybe a little more excited than necessary just to see green and growing things.
The Brazen Head– purportedly the oldest pub in Dublin. I don’t mind either way, even if it was the fifth oldest pub, it’s still older than most things in America. We went for an evening of storytelling & songs which was great fun, but what I loved the most is it’s old and a bit cobbled together feel.
The Blooms Hotel– is where we stayed! Named for James Joyce’s Ulysses character, Leopold Bloom. The hotel itself was just fine! The prices were excellent, the beds were comfortable. The only thing I might have wished different was that the only wifi was available in the lobby, which meant my skype calls with Jake were just a bit harder to hear (it wasn’t loud, but other people were trying to have conversations nearby), and all planning for the next day had to also be done in the lobby rather than the room. By no means a deal breaker, though!
I loved the Art Nouveau styling of the exterior, and the beautiful, bright Mucha-esque murals they were working on while we were there.
It’s located in the Temple Bar area, which was a pleasingly central location for us to journey out from. It’s mainly known for it’s night culture and bars, which we were mostly too jetlagged for, though Karen and I did go out the first night in search of curry fries (successfully!) and I marveled at how many women were traversing cobblestone in stilettos (not a skill I possess), and ended up at a Tesco’s. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but going to grocery stores in other countries is one of my favorite tourist activities. I like seeing how brands I’m used to package things differently, or how the sweets culture of another country is different. Just everything, honestly.
I was tickled by this ‘californian burrito bar’, though I’m glad it was closed so I wouldn’t be tempted to try it. There were enough new foods to try without me finding out how well these burritos crossed the pond… metaphorically, of course.
I thought the glazed tiling on this bar was beautiful, but when I just googled while writing this, I found it has a pretty high rating!
There was also a Costa Coffee around the corner which we jet lagged Americans utilized every morning. I don’t have any pictures of it… at least partially because I am not fully functional until after my morning coffee. My grandma fell in love with their coffee. They had free wifi, so we could do much planning for the day as we drank our morning coffee. This was my first trip where I had an iphone which still had almost complete functionality with wifi access, and it was SO USEFUL. Google maps helped me plan out our routes and even told us when the next bus was expected at the nearest stop. It felt pretty magical, I tell ya true. Now I’m pretty sure my carrier has international access, but I haven’t been out of the country to test it.
Skipping ahead to our last night in Ireland, we took the train from Cork back to Dublin the evening before our morning flight, so we looked for a restaurant near the Heuston train station to have dinner at before grabbing a taxi to our hotel. We ended up at Nancy Hands, which was a 300 meter walk! So, very close indeed. As a bonus, the food was delicious, and a live pianist gave us a soundtrack to our meal.
I think I need just one more post for Dublin, just dedicated to random snapshots I got as we walked about, as this post is practically miles long already!