April 14, 2017 – April 17, 2017
As I’m sitting in the Dublin airport waiting for my flight to London for work for the week, I’m in awe of how much better the Guinness tastes in Ireland than back home. Although, I must confess, my usual run in with Guinness happens on St. Patrick’s Day in the form of an Irish Car Bomb (which apparently is offensive to order when in the Motherland).
We set off for Ireland on Friday with what has quickly become our standard travel crew (the Crocketts, the Mitchells, and ShaNoah) excited to take in the local culture and explore the Irish pub scene. Tyler even shaved his beard into a mustache for the occasion. Unfortunately, on Good Friday in Ireland it is illegal to buy or sell alcohol, with the loop hole that you can have alcohol with dinner in your hotel. Since we were staying in an 8 person hostel room with 4 sets of bunk beds and no bar, we thought we would be out of luck, but it ended up probably being better that we couldn’t waste the day away in pubs.
We walked around the city to get our bearings and visited this really cool park with the flowers in full bloom. We also stopped by Trinity College to see the beautiful campus.
Once everyone arrived, we set off for our dinner reservations at a hotel where we were ensured we would be able to purchase a beverage or two. We picked the restaurant off the fact that it was in a hotel, but it ended up being amazing. And to be honest, any dinner is made better by having your closest new friends there.
On Saturday, we had a full day booked. We had scheduled a tour at the Guinness Factory at 2, a tour at Jameson Whiskey at 5 and dinner reservations at 9. We woke up early to see a few sights before the drinking started (or maybe it was because we were sharing a room with 8 people and once someone was up, everyone was up). The Guinness tour was a little disappointing except for the end where you could drink a Guinness at the top of the building with 360* views of the city. I definitely preferred the Jameson tour even though it was hard to choke down the tastings. It was awesome! Apparently it was newly renovated and had just opened back up 3 weeks prior, but the tour was just very interesting and interactive. It might have helped that our tour guide had a cute Irish accent. He made us do a side-by-side comparison tasting between Johnny Walker – Jameson – and Jack Daniels. I think he got a kick out of the fact that we were from Tennessee, but I still couldn’t tell a difference.
Although Dublin was a pretty cool place, I definitely enjoyed our time in the Irish countryside much more. Our tour guide James picked us up in the brand new van at 8am from our hostel in Dublin and we started off on the highway to head to the Cliffs of Moher. He was a chatty fellow that told us outlandish stories the whole way to the cliffs. I’m not sure if i believe everything he said (like that his son plays on the National Irish futbol team or that he met the president (who he said is a leprechaun) last year because his grandfather was a big figure in the Revolution), but nonetheless it was very entertaining. He also told us how the Irish word for fun is “craic” (pronounced crack). It’s very common to call someone and say how’s the craic, or are you having craic? We of course thought this was hilarious and used it every chance we got during the trip.
The drive through the countryside was incredible and once we got to the cliffs I was in awe.
These are the smaller cliffs that we went to see first.
We ended up taking a boat to see the cliffs from the bottom, a view that we were assured many people do not get to see. After taking the boat ride out there, I know why many people do not choose to take this route. While the views were truly spectacular, the boat ride was bordering on recklessly unsafe. The seas were very rough and most of our party ended up with some pretty bad seasickness. The fog was a little thick from below, but you get the idea.
In my opinion, the cliffs were definitely better viewed from the top down. When we got to the cliffs a thick fog had just rolled in, so thick we couldn’t see anything, but luckily for us it was short lived and rolled out pretty quickly. I was amazed by how close they let you get to the cliffs. There was a wall, but you could go beyond the wall, and there was no one watching! Apparently people are known to jump from the cliffs to commit suicide and on average 2 visitors accidentally fall off the cliffs every month. The survival rate is 0.5%, so the odds are not in your favor. I was a little nervous jumping over the wall to get a closer look, especially since it was crazy windy up there. But really, it was worth it. I have never in my life seen something so beautiful. The pictures really don’t do it justice.
After we had our fill of
yoga the cliffs, we checked into the cutest B&B in Doolin, the cutest Irish country town. Our views of the sea and surrounding countryside from the B&B were so crazy they looked fake. We decided to go into the town for dinner and to take in some live music and of course have some craic. The food was great and the live music was even better (except they really could have used a microphone).
On Monday morning we woke up and had a little breakfast at our B&B and I decided that I need to stay in B&Bs more often because the free homemade breakfast and home-like feel are things that I really enjoy. After breakfast we got back in the car with James to hear some more crazy stories and see the countryside a little more.
All in all, another great trip.
The Brazen Head – good for drinks especially if the weather is nice and you can be on the patio
Sophie’s – great classy dinner spot
Temple Bar – Although I could have done without all of the crowds, it is a cool place to check out
Harbour View B&B – the view from the B&B was incredible and the breakfast was really good too. The owners were nice and the rooms were spacious and clean. The bathroom was also really big
Fitzpatrick’s bar – we went here for lunch and had some good traditional Irish food – some kind of soup and some fish. Very tasty
McGann’s – we had dinner here which was pretty good. The atmosphere of the place was fun and it was a classic Irish pub
O’Connor’s – now I am second guessing myself and can’t remember if we had dinner at McGann’s or at O’Connor’s, but they were both really cool places and typical Irish pubs. Definitely worth checking out