The next European destination on my travel bucket list was the capital of Ireland, Dublin.
Was I excited? No, not really.
To be honest, at the time of booking, I could have taken it or left it.
What do I do in Dublin?
To me, Dublin is the home of pub culture. It’s 24-hour boozing and stag party central. For those reasons, I didn’t feel as though it was a city after my own heart because I rarely touch alcohol.
I’m not teetotal, but I never have the desire for a glass of wine or to down a shot. I don’t particularly enjoy the taste of alcohol or the way it makes me feel. And yet, here I was planning a trip to a city where the top tourist attraction is a brewery (the Guinness Storehouse).
But wait, there’s got to be more to Dublin than getting wasted and trying to imitate the Irish accent, right?
So, after I booked my flights and hostel, I turned to Google to do some hardcore research of what else there was to see and do.
Turns out, there was quite a bit.
Due to my flight times, even though I was staying for 3 nights, I only had 2 days to explore the city. Therefore, for the first time ever, I pre-booked 4 tours and planned a whole itinerary (including plotting my route on a Google Map) a whole week in advance.
It felt awesome to be so organized!!
My flight to Dublin from the UK almost seemed questionable.
The plane took off and reached its cruising altitude. We floated along for only a few moments before the captain come over the speakers to announce that we would be beginning our descent and landing in about 25 minutes.
The total flight time was only 40min.
To put that into perspective, it took me longer to get on and off the plane than it did for the pilot to fly it to Dublin!
Next, it was a quick bus ride into the city center and a short 5-minute walk to my hostel, Abbey Court – which was voted Dublin’s most popular hostel in 2017 (fun fact).
After checking-in, I made my way to my dorm room where I was greeted by what I can only describe as a huge mess.
My dorm had a total of 12 beds – 6 bunk beds; 3 running down each side of a long room – and the 8 beds nearest the window were taken up by a group of hardcore German backpackers who had been traveling all around Ireland.
Because they had so much stuff (their backpacks were huge!!) and there wasn’t really anywhere to put them, they were just left in a heap.
Other than the mess, they were a great group of people. We all made friends and had some interesting late-night group conversations.
As long as they kept their stuff down their end, then I was more than happy with my little space in the corner.
Did someone say ‘free’?
The next morning, I was the first up and out of bed.
My first tour was booked at the Guinness Storehouse for 9am and I wanted to make the most of the free breakfast that was on offer at the hostel.
No matter how many times I stay in hostels, I still get shocked at the ones that offer a free breakfast.
I was paying less than €20 per night to stay in the center of Dublin, surely that’s got to be a good enough bargain on its own?
Then to find out that I could also have a free buffet breakfast consisting of cereals, fruits, ham, cheese, coffee, tea, toast, jams, and pastries – and I could eat as much as I wanted – it was like Christmas had come around twice!
I agree that it’s nothing fancy. But it was more than enough to set me up for the day.
At about 3pm, I realized that I had made a rookie tourist mistake.
I was wearing heels.
In my defense, I thought that I would be ok with them. They were well padded, very comfy, and I would describe them more as a boot than a heel.
But later in the afternoon, I could feel the blisters forming, and the sides of my feet became very sore as the top layer of my skin was rubbed away.
Back at the hostel, the first thing that I did was take off my shoes – very carefully to avoid any more pain.
The second thing that I had to do was peel off my socks.
My skin had become raw and started to bleed, and my socks had stuck to my open wounds. (Sorry about any mental images that conjured up – I hope you’re not eating.)
The third thing that I had to do was take a shower, which just highlighted how sore my feet were. The sting of the soap and water seeping into my raw skin made my fists clench and my face cringe up.
Best room EVER!
Not wanting to put my shoes back on or walk anywhere, I took the opportunity to catch up on some reading for my book reviews.
I’ll usually just read from my bed or in the common room, but Abbey Court Hostel had a hammock room!
Yes, you read that correctly.
A hammock room – a small room with hammocks attached to the walls.
Ahh, it was blissful.
Laying back, relaxing, and rocking gently as I read my book.
It was so blissful that after about 4 pages I fell asleep.
I woke up shortly after and thought to myself, ‘I really need to buy myself a hammock.’
As I looked to my right, the guy next to me had also fallen asleep. I have no idea who he is, but I hope he doesn’t mind me taking his picture and sticking it on the internet…
The next morning, I opted for some more sensible footwear – a comfy pair of trainers.
Oh, it was like walking on a cloud! They made me feel so free and liberated. I could have danced down the street whilst giving my best effort to replicating the Irish Jig.
I had another early morning tour booked, so again, I was the first up and out after stuffing my face at the breakfast buffet.
I ticked the last few spots off my itinerary and even managed a few extra bonus stops at a couple of museums. Let’s see if you can spot the tourist…
I want to ride my bicycle…
As the evening came to an end, I headed over to the Temple Bar area. This is the place to go for the best bars and nightlife.
As mentioned, I’m not a drinker and therefore the pub culture thing doesn’t appeal to me, but I did enjoy the atmosphere in this area.
I love guitars and I enjoyed hearing live music blast out of each of the pubs.
I stopped for a bit of ice cream and walked down the cobbled street singing along to some classic tunes being covered by some talented musicians.
Just as I was about to leave the area, a gentleman turned up with a rainbow-colored bicycle and a carpet.
Well, this was interesting.
He laid the carpet out on the cobbles with a sign that read, ‘Ride over the finish line and win €40’.
What’s the catch?
I thought that I would stick around to find out.
It wasn’t long before he had a crowd of people gathered around all interested and wanting to know more.
Here’s the gist of the game…
You pay €5 to have 4 attempts at riding a bike down a piece of carpet that was approximately 5 meters long. If you crossed the finish line, you won €40.
Sounds simple, right?
But there was a catch.
The catch was that the steering on the bike had been altered. When you turned the handlebars right, the wheel would turn left and vice-a-versa.
The gentleman running the show did demonstrate to show that it could be done – and he made it look very easy.
So easy, in fact, that people started queuing up to have a go at winning €40.
I stuck around and watched for quite a while. I found it very entertaining, but ultimately, I wanted to see someone cross the line and win. Sadly, no one came close.
Good news for the gentleman in charge. Not so good news for the punters.
After watching several people fall off a bike, I wandered around the city and down the river snapping a few pictures before making my way back to the hostel.
The next morning, I had to catch a 6.30am flight. Which meant that I needed to be up and at the bus stop for 4am.
After a few hours of sleep, I turned to look at my phone which showed me that it was 4.03am and I was still in bed.
After a mad dash out of bed, I shot on some clothes, tied up my hair, splashed some water on my face, quickly checked out, ran out the door over the bridge and to the bus stop.
Impressively, when I got to the bus stop it was only 4.15am, and lucky for me the buses ran every 20minutes.
I climbed aboard the bus, waved goodbye to Dublin, and headed off to the airport.
Just say what you really think…
Whilst waiting for my flight, my full-on few days and lack of sleep suddenly hit me.
As I went through passport control, the Irishman checking documentation looked at my passport, then looked at me, then looked back at my passport, then looked at me one last time and said…
“Well, you must have had a good time because you don’t half look tired. Bet you’re looking forward to getting home and getting some sleep?”
Well, thanks very much for pointing out that caring observation…
I suppose you know you’ve had a good few days when even the guy on passport control makes a note about your appearance.
I laughed and nodded and thought to myself, ‘you’ve got to love the Irish!’
So, what did I think of Dublin?
On the flight back, and as I always do when rounding off one of my mini-adventures, I went over my entire trip in my head. The places I went to, the people I met, and the experiences I had.
To my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed Dublin – a lot more than I thought I would.
Not only have a realized that I have a love for the Irish accent (I seriously started swooning over it by the end of my trip) but I saw a different side to Dublin besides the ‘let’s get shit-faced’ stereotype.
The chilled yet fun atmosphere you get from this city is contagious.
There were times when I felt at home in Dublin. Maybe because at one point they were part of the United Kingdom or maybe because I have freckles and a slight ginger tinge to my hair – who knows?!
Either way, it’s a city that I would look forward to re-visiting.
Have you visited Dublin? Let me know in the comments below what you thought.
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