I have, quite literally, collapsed from the most wonderful weekend into a week of essays, training, and three job interviews – LIFE. Here is a quick whistle stop tour of it!
Dublin on St Patrick’s Day been on my travel spreadsheet for ages, and in my mind of must-go-to places/events for even longer. This year, mine and Alex’s summer plans are a bit up in the air as we’re not sure he’ll be able to come to Japan, and with jobs etc it’ll be difficult for us to do another adventure, so we happily decided to Dublin for St Patrick’s this year, meaning we still got at least one holiday together. It was to be Alex’s first time in Dublin, and my third or fourth. Despite deciding to do this months and months ago, we procrastinated actually booking way too much. St Patrick’s is definitely the most expensive time of year to be in the already expensive Dublin, which meant that us, like many others, ended up staying about 40 mins travel time out of the city. It wasn’t the end of the world at all, especially as once you’re in the centre everything’s in walking distance, but still, it makes busy days that bit longer.
We flew from Birmingham airport, as that was the airport nearest both of us that had flights in the afternoon. We got into Dublin at about half past 3, and went straight to the information desk to ask about travel and how to get to our hotel. Our hotel, the Aspect at Park West, was on the other side of the city centre to the airport, so we knew it was going to be a bit of a trek. The helpful man behind the information desk very kindly told us about unlimited travel passes (LEAP cards) that we could get costing us €20 each, and the two buses to the hotel alone would cost us €15 without the card, so it was definitely a brilliant deal!
What was very not brilliant, was the almost 2 hours it took us to get to the hotel. Yes, it was because we hit the city centre at rush hour, but STILL, had we been better informed, we could have used our LEAP card on the DART and LUAS trains that serve Dublin, which would have taken less than an hour. HARRUMPH.
While getting ready to head out to Temple Bar (the hub of Dublin city) for dinner, the next ‘harrumph’ of the day came, as my playlist specifically for the holiday had not downloaded onto my phone properly!! It was all the beauty you can imagine when you stick Ed Sheeran’s amazing new album alongside classice U2 and Irish folk music. HARRUMPH. The fantastic O’Flaherty’s made me happy again though.
This basement pub was fab, and personified everything that makes Dublin my favourite place in the world! There were two guys playing great live music, the food was delicious and included classic like Irish stew and all of the potato, and everyone seemed really friendly. It did introduce to me a theme for the weekend, and the realisation that St Patrick’s weekend is not Dublin at it’s authentic best. When the band played the likes of No, neigh, never and Whiskey in the Jar, there were the fewest people joining in I’ve ever seen. The two guys seemed to pick up on this too, as they asked where everyone was from, not one group of Irish people were there.
ST PATRICK’S DAY!!
We kicked off our celebrations by heading to the parade that goes through the centre of Dublin. We found a spot on O’Connell Street, which is the main street on the opposite side of the River Liffey from Temple Bar, and where the Post Office that was a focal point of the Easter Rising is.
There were so many people!! The amount of green really brightened up the thoroughly grey, rainy day. The parade was great and really showcased Ireland as a whole with fantastic dancing and brilliant music. After the parade, we got some lunch from SuperMacs, which was not super unfortunately, but they were ridiculously busy so hopefully it’s normally better. Then we walked along the river, and up to St James’ Gate, the Guinness Brewery.
There, we met up with Jazmin (my Leicester flatmate) and her boyfriend Kaleb who’s flown over from the States so they can travel around Europe together. The four of us were welcomed by traditional drummers, and the smell of the best stout I’ve ever tasted! The Guinness tour is really interesting, even if you don’t like Guinness, because the drink is so distinctive and different, the way it’s brewed is too. Part of the tour includes attending the Guinness Academy, where you are taught how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness.
Thank you very much.
Afterwards, we headed back to Temple Bar, met up with two other friends from Leicester, and then ended up eating dinner on the other side of the river because everywhere was so packed! We managed a drink in Fitzgeralds, a great pub on the river and backing onto Temple Bar, before we decided to battle through Temple Bar. Eventually, we ended up on the terrace of a bar called ‘Badass’, and this was my view:
SO MANY PEOPLE! Unfortunately, we made the mistake of leaving Badass and then struggled to get in anywhere else. Everywhere was telling us that it was going to be a half an hour wait minimum, so we ended up in a quieter whiskey bar, but even that filled up really quickly.
The atmosphere was fantastic, but there were almost too many people, so if you do find a space in a decent enough bar – stay in it!
The next day was a rainy quiet day, but I really appreciated having it, because it was a great opportunity for me to make sure Alex, Jazmin and Kaleb got a better experience of the ‘real’ Dublin. We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, and then made our way through the centre stopping off at the cathedral, castle, Trinity College, and of course, the Molly Malone statue. Molly Malone is the focus of a folk song/nursery rhyme that is such a staple of Irish knowledge, that there’s a statue of her in the centre of Dublin.
After our pottering, we settled into a pub to watch Ireland beat England in the final game of the Six Nations!!!! I was sad England lost their winning streak, but my boys are my boys <3.
The final part of mine and Alex’s trip was to visit Derry, the city where my dad’s from and where most of his family still live. I’ve never taken anyone to Derry before, and I don’t get to go there very often, so it was very important to me.
One of my uncles and his partner, took us on the walk around the city walls, and we got some great views of the whole city, and a great history lesson! In the (irritating) way that many people say they’ve been to England, but have only been to London, most go to Belfast and say they’ve been to Northern Ireland. They haven’t. Beyond my familial connections, Derry is an incredibly interesting place, with a detailed history, and the people are lovely!
Before our flight back to Liverpool in the evening, the four of us had dinner with 6 other family members – not even half of my family! It was great though, and I loved catching up with everyone, and am very grateful for that time with them.