Ireland

I can’t believe that one of my most highly anticipated trips has already come and gone. Ireland has always been one of my top travel destinations and I even considered studying there instead of Italy. Erika, Kara, and I left Florence early Thursday morning for Dublin to catch our flight to Pisa. My friend Natalie also came with but since she was flying out of Rome she didn’t arrive until mid-afternoon. We landed and headed towards customs, which went very quickly since they have separate lines for EU and non EU citizens. I was thankful to not be from the EU because the line hardly moved in the 20 minutes it took us to get through. The airport had a roundtrip bus pass for multiple locations within the city that brought you back to the airport for only 10 euro so we quick hopped on the bus and headed into the city. I would recommend doing this because taxis can be expensive and there was a pick location on nearly every street corner.

We stayed at Abigals Hostel, which was right in the Temple Bar area. I highly recommend this hostel! It was one of the nicer hostels I have stayed in so far. All of us had made separate bookings and ended up in different rooms. I would recommend booking the hostel for however many people will be in your group and not for each individual person. It wasn’t an issue for us to have separate rooms because we hardly were there other to sleep anyways. Erika, Kara, and I dropped our stuff off then went to meet our tour guide for the free walking tour of the city. I really liked our guide because he was very knowledgeable and younger so he was relatable. Remember, the tour is free but you should always tip the guide! We had a tour of the Guinness Factory scheduled but got a little side tracked when we saw a Papa John’s and had to make a pit stop. Italian pizza is great and all but I have never been as happy to eat American pizza as I was in that moment. After shoving our faces, literally and figuratively, we went to the Guinness Factory and met up with Natalie. The facility was pretty cool and had a lot of information about the history and brewing process but if you didn’t have time to make it there, then you aren’t missing out on much. Erika and Kara had to hurry through it to meet up with the Pub Crawl Tour they signed up for. Natalie and I took our time and wandered around the first few levels of the factory but then started power walking through the levels to get to the top to redeem our free Guinness. One thing I didn’t know is that Guinness is actually a deep, ruby red and not black. We enjoyed our beer from the sky level that over looked the city then decided to leave and check out Trinity College. On our way out we noticed a sign saying that Dierks Bentley was having a concert that night at 8 pm. We jokingly said lets go and continued on our way. On our way to the college we saw Dierks Bentley and his band mates walking around the streets of Dublin!! I was too nervous to talk to him so instead we creepily stalked him for nearly an hour. Trinity College was a very pretty campus but unfortunately the library was closed so we weren’t able to see it. We got food and Wi-Fi then looked up were Dierks was playing and it turned out it was only three blocks away. We didn’t have any other plans for the night so we ended up buying tickets. The venue was a very small area and there was only about 50 people or less. It was a cool experience to be able to be so close to the stage and in such a small setting. It felt like he was playing specifically for us. It was nice to have another little piece of home in my day. After the concert we met up with Kara and Erika at the Temple Bar area for drinks. If you are thinking of doing the Pub Crawl Tour, I would skip it. Apparently you followed two musicians to two different bars and they played different songs for you in a secluded room of the bar. The Temple Bar area was full of night life, which was prime people watching time. It’s definitely an area you need to experience once but then get out! The prices of drinks gradually increase over the night and they are already way over priced to begin with compared to other places. We didn’t stay out too late because we had to wake up early the next day for our Paddy Wagon tour to the Cliffs of Moher.

We woke up early to make a pit stop at Starbucks, #BasicWhiteGirl, before heading to the meeting point for the tour. The Paddy Wagon tours are these giant green busses that take you to a location and makes a few stops along the way to get out and see different locations. Our bus driver was absolutely hilarious. He had us laughing the entire time and provided us with a lot of history about where old stories came from, how and why things were built, and the Irish culture. Our first stop was in Karnavar, which was a tiny town with brightly colored buildings we only had a short amount of time to basically stretch our legs and check out this farmers market. We continued on and made two more stops before we stopped in Doolin for lunch. We ate at one of the only few restaurants in town for a traditional Irish meal that was essentially just meat and potatoes. We drove on until we made it to the Cliffs of Moher and had the option to go straight to the top and walk around or take a boat ride around the bottoms of the cliff. Fun fact: one of the caves at the bottom of the cliffs is actually where Harry Potter and Dumbledore go searching for a horcrux. It’s amazing to see how tall the cliffs actually are. I do not recommend going near the edge. The boat tour was fairly short but it was definitely cool to see the cliffs from the base. The world makes me nerd out and I think it’s cool to see how things where formed and see them from a different angle. One of the girls on our tour group thought a boy working at the boat shop was cute so our bus driver went out and brought him on the bus to meet her. I have never seen someone turn so red so fast! After we got rid of our unexpected guest, we drove up to the top of the mountains. The Cliffs of Moher was well worth the almost 12 hour tour day. It’s a site I have always wanted to see so I was extremely excited to check it off my bucket list. It was a little difficult to take a picture with the cliffs because massive swarms of gnats were EVERYWHERE! It was kind of gross actually. We sucked it up and walked around for about an hour until it was time to go back to Dublin. I would highly recommend doing the Paddy Wagon tour to the Cliffs of Moher. It’s very difficult to get there because there isn’t a train that can easily take you there. Once we got back we did some more wandering around the city and had some dinner before we went to bed to do it all over again.

Our day began the same way it did the day before – at Starbucks. I have probably had Starbucks 10 times tops in my life before coming to Europe. I blame my roommates for peer pressuring me into buying these overpriced drinks! We had booked another Paddy Wagon tour to the Blarney Castle. Originally, this was the only tour we booked but I wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher so we decided to both. I wouldn’t recommend doing both because I don’t feel as if I had enough time in Dublin and I really enjoyed the feel there. Our tour guide wasn’t very good compared to our guide the day before. I think this could have played into my enjoyment. However, it was still very pretty and I am glad that I had a chance to see it. We followed the same routine as the previous day where we made a few stops along the way to see different sites. The Blarney Castle area was very pretty and I wish we would have been able to skip a stop to have more time at the castle. There wasn’t much to the castle because it was so old that most of the rooms were just a cement square. I kissed the stone so I hope it brings something good my way. At this point I was pretty hangry, so hungry that you become angry, so I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the scenery. Thankfully we ate lunch and my mood was restored. We didn’t have much time left so we did some quick power walking to make up for lost time then boarded the bus back to Dublin. Our previous tour guide had suggested some local pubs that actual Irish people go to so we decided to check those out. We ended up at Copper Face Jacks which I suggest you check out. It was so much fun and everyone was so friendly. Plus, a Guinness was 4 euro instead of the 7.50 it was in the Temple Bar area. Copper’s was well worth the 20 minute walk to find it. I wish we would have skipped hanging out in the Temple Bar area one evening so we would have been able to go to a more local area. I am obsessed about everyone’s accent and kindness. Three days in Ireland was not enough for me and I’m already thinking of planning a trip back.

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