June 12, 2017

36(ish) Hours in Dublin, Ireland

With everything that's been going on lately, I desperately needed to get away so last weekend, The Pilot and I made our way to Dublin.

We had both been to Ireland separately 10 years ago. He to Dublin and me, on a backpacking trip along the coast. I had been in Dublin for about three hours on my last trip so never got the chance to see the city. We landed at about 9 am after a quick flight across the pond.

We had booked an Air B&B the night before at the Jameson Distillery, which turned out to be a great location! We were pretty tired from the flight, so we took a 2-hour nap as soon as we checked in and then headed out for some lunch. We have a lot of friends who have been to Dublin in the last few weeks and all of them highly recommended Queen of Tarts in Temple Bar.

Their recommendations did not disappoint and, after indulging in a delicious lunch and out-of-this-world desserts, we made our way through the city to start exploring.

The whole purpose of this trip was to take my mind off of things so we had no agenda and just wandered the city. We found a free walking tour of Dublin's Northside which wasn't great but gave us the chance to check out Georgian Dublin, which was nice. After the tour, we did some shopping along O'Connell Street and wandered around Temple Bar.

We were anxious to have our first pints of Guinness in Dublin and made our way to The Brazen Head which claims to be Dublin's oldest pub, and while packed with tourists, it was a great place to listen to live music in a mellow environment (despite the crowd) while enjoying a few pints.

After a few hours at the pub, we called it a night and were up bright and early the next morning (thanks, jetlag!). It didn't hurt that we woke up to this incredibly European view!

Our first stop of the day (and the most organized thing we did) was to stop at the Guinness Storehouse.

I had no idea what to expect but this place blew me away. I thought it was just your run-of-the-mill brewery tour but boy was I wrong. Everything about this place is impeccable, from the display of the four ingredients that go into beer to the absolutely fascinating video of how those famous Guinness barrels were made, to the pour-your-own pint demonstration, and finally, the 360-view rooftop bar. I thought we would spend at most an hour at the Storehouse, but we ended up being there for over three hours!

After enjoying our perfectly poured pints and mulling over how it is that Guinness tastes so much better in Ireland, we left and made our way to Temple Bar, exploring a few of Dublin's key sites along the way: Dublin Castle, Dublinia and Christ Church, and St. Patrick's, before settling in for lunch at Gallagher's Boxty House. We both had hearty, traditional Irish stew with soda bread and some locally, craft brewed Jack Smyth beer flights, which is brewed only for the restaurant. The food and beer were delicious and we left with very full bellies after a morning full of Guinness and some hearty Irish food!

After lunch, we wandered around Temple Bar crossing back and forth across the Liffey wandering in and out of little shops. We found an adorable book store where we picked up the Galic translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone!

Eventually, we made our way to Trinity College where I fell in love with Trinity College and never wanted to leave. Seriously, books on books on books on books, I was in heaven!

We left Trinity and made our way to Grafton Street for some shopping and stumbled on Avoca, an adorable shop with a cafe upstairs. It had started raining so we decided to pop upstairs for a tea break but, of course, we couldn't resist the dessert menu! I had sticky toffee pudding with the most decadent rum raisin ice cream and The Pilot had a fudge brownie.

When we left the store, the rain had calmed down (it basically rained on and off the whole day which is pretty typically Irish but it gave us some nice opportunities to take breaks in little, hidden places we might otherwise not have found) and we made our way to St. Stephen's Green. We wandered the grounds of the green for awhile and then did some more wandering around the area before hunting for a place to eat.

At the Guinness Storehouse, I learned that Guinness is the perfect pairing with oysters so I was on a mission to find a place with oysters. We settled on The Bank on College Green, a gorgeous bar with a fantastic food menu and yes, Guinness and oysters. We grabbed some seats at the bar and indulged in way too much Guinness, never enough oysters, fish and chips, Bailey's on the rocks, and orange creme brulee for dessert.

Whoever said that the food in Ireland is terrible is sadly mistaken. Everything we ate was Irish. Everything we ate was delicious. With that meal serving as the perfect cap on our trip to Dublin, we stumbled back to our Air B&B and into bed before an early morning wake up call and a flight back home.

We operated on a no-carb-left-behind trip to Dublin and spent more time eating than anything else, but we walked most of the city and spent some time unplugged and together, which was exactly what we needed. I don't think this will be our last trip to Dublin either. I would have loved to have visited the Jameson and Teeling distilleries, but hey, there's always next time!

What do you think? Have you been to Dublin?

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