We woke up early the next morning because check-out was at 10:30. I quickly braved the hostel shower, which turned out to be a power shower (love!). We checked out and hopped onto on of those open topped double decker tour busses that take you around the city. Fortunately for us, February isn’t prime tourist season so we got to sit on top for the whole thing. The first stop: Guinness brewery. Because who doesn’t love a pint of Guinness at half ten in the morning?
The history of the Guinness Storehouse was interesting but I won’t bore you with the details. Essentially, if you’ve been to one brewery than you’ve been to them all. I think I’ve only been to one brewery before and it was with my grandparent’s of all people. At least they bought me chocolate because I didn’t/don’t like beer. What was cool was the view of Dublin from the top.
After Guinness we hopped back on the bus, with an alarming number of Americans (insert Ryan rolling his eyes), and headed over to Christchurch Cathedral. I won’t bore you with the history of this either, mainly because I don’t know it. Neither Ryan nor myself were keen on paying 9 euro to get in, so we didn’t. There were some neat Celtic crosses in the barred off grounds and after a quick peek around and some talk of scaling the fence to get into the grave yard we hopped back on the bus to take us to Príosún Chill Mhaighneann, or, for those of you who aren’t up on your Irish, Kilmainham Goal, although that’s not much easier to say, is it? Basically it’s the Dublin county jail which was home to just about every important person in Irish history, to the glee of the British and much to the chagrin of the IRA.
This was by far my favourite place we saw and we had an awesome tour guide. The jail itself has been featured in a lot of films because it can be used to represent any jail from the time period. To name a few: The Italian Job and In the Name of the Father, neither of which I’ve seen. Apparently it’s great for acoustics as well; U2 have recorded in the East Wing (pictured below).
We made our last stop at Phoenix Park which is home to the Dublin Zoo, a whole bunch of reindeer, and a monument to the Duke of Wellington (because the world really needs an infinite amount of phallic symbols as monuments apparently). It was a bit scary climbing to the top of the steps on the monument because they are really slanted on purpose for some annoying reason.
Before we caught the coach to the airport we had “Dublin’s Best Burger” and oooh was it good. Should have took a picture of that as well but I had gotten in to my “crazy need food mood” (Ryan’s words). And the sweet potato fries were to die for.
I was surprised with our little impromptu visit to Dublin. It was relaxed, friendly, and leisurely, all the things that London is admittedly not. The bus drivers, hostel staff, were all amazingly friendly and my only regret is that we did not plan the trip for an extra day so that we could have gone out into another part of the country like Cork or Galway. Dublin was teeming with Americans most studying at Trinity or there on holiday and the Irish were so welcoming to them/us like the British have never been towards “those damn yanks.”
I didn’t return to London with any shamrock paraphernalia but I did return with a fondness for Ireland that so many other Americans inherently have, and a postcard of the busty Miss Molly Malone. All in all, Ireland has been swiftly moved over to my “Places I need to visit again” list and I cannot wait.