Greetings from green Ireland!
The ferry ride dot Dublin was without incident, which I suppose (while not making for interesting stories) is the best you could ask for. The ship was actually quite large, even including a movie theatre! I didn’t opt to see Iron Man 3 while aboard, but I did enjoy a pint of Guinness from the on board bar. A few hours an half of Trainspotting later, we were in Dublin!
I had originally thought to walk from the port to my hostel, but after checking the maps and distances again I decided against the idea. I then decided to take a bus, but unfortunately could not make any change until just after it pulled away. Aright, plan C, taxi. Obviously not my first choice, especially for saving money, but I’m flexible. It turned out to not be that bad, cost less than €15 and my driver was very nice and pointed out a good number of things to see during my stay. It was also a bit lucky because finding the hostel was actually a bit trickier than expected. But we got it sorted and I made it to the hostel. I checked in and got settled (top bunk on the too floor) and went out for a walk through downtown Dublin in search of a SIM card. I was able to track down a Tesco and picked up a SIM with €10 credit that would double to €20 once activated, and popped it into my older 3GS. It was interesting to go back to using my old phone, but I’m glad I brought it. There was wifi in the hostel but I wasn’t able to get much reception from my bunk. After my walk I turned in, a full day of travelling by rail and water takes a lot out of you.
The next morning I got up a bit late for breakfast but hopped down to the kitchen to see if I could connect with any other travellers. To my delight there was a lovely group of girls who were going to the Guinness Storehouse! I gladly joined them and together the four of us walked from our hostel to the famed Storehouse. The Storehouse wasn’t exactly what I expected, it’s a self guided tour through what used to be the actual brewing facility, now converted to more of a museum, but it’s easily a highlight so far. I took a good lot of photos including what has come to be my favourite so far. I also, very excitedly, got to pour my own fresh pint of Guinness at the “Guinness Academy”. That’s right, I’m now officially certified to pour Guinness. And its never tasted better. One of the ladies who also poured a pint gave me hers as she didn’t actually want to drink it and could see my excitement, so I ended up with two pints! We then went up to the Gravity Bar, a 360 degree tavern that looks out over all of Dublin where the girls and I got to enjoy our complimentary pints and enjoy a spectacular view.
We next made our way to the oldest pub in Ireland, enjoyed another pint (my third of the day!) and a nice late lunch. I’m still not sure what brown sauce is. From there we started making our way back towards our hostel, getting a bit lost and ending up near a beautiful park. We grabbed a few beers at the corner shop (where, to my surprise and horror, they had Moslen Canadian for sale.) Another Guinness in the park (4th!) before we made our way back to the hostel to freshen up and get ready for a pub crawl.
What a night of fun that was. 5 Irish pubs, walking from one to the next with about 30 enthusiastic young travellers from all over the world. Each pub had a different special for us, the best perhaps being a free pint of Guinness and the worst, by quite a margin, a shot of tequila and a bottle of Canadian. The other Canadians and myself couldn’t help but apologize to everyone for the beer. The night capped off at a two story pub with a fantastic live band playing a lot of great covered of The Foo Fighters and Nirvana and the like.
We made our way home, stopping for a quick bite on the way, and then all retired. I, however, forgot to take into account my 10:30am check out and afternoon train and didn’t take it nearly as easy as I should have on the pub crawl, and ended up nursing myself in bed until almost 1pm, checking out late, and making it to the train station and boarding my train 5 minutes before departure. Not the best train ride, though the country side was plenty beautiful, my head was down for about half of it keeping my composure together. The authentic Irish experience.
And now I’m in Cork! I’ve been collected by Fidelma’s sister Vanessa, and just finished supper at their beautiful home in the countryside just outside of Cork. The network coverage is a bit spoty here, so I’m not sure when I’ll next be able to upload any photos, but I’m sure I’ll be taking many more while I’m here. The cities so far aren’t much different than Toronto or Vancouver, just with a different accent and the cars are in the wrong side of the road, but the countryside here is absolutely breathtaking. I’m not sure what’s in store tomorrow, I didn’t plan much into what I wanted to see here, but Vanessa has a few ideas so I’m sure I will have a lovely time all the same.
I also need to plan my route to Scotland, so I hope I’m able to get a more reliable on edition sooner than later. I’ve got a return train ticket to go back to Dublin any time this month, then I’ll just have to make my way north to Belfast and cross go Edinburgh. I’m quite excited to tour the Oban distillery and take a tour to some of the other Scottish sights.
That’s all for now, another day of travel and a nice full supper have left me tuckered out. I look forward to sharing all of my photos soon and I’m sure I’ll have plenty more tails to tell everyone when I get home that won’t make it online.