09 November 2010

Gimme, Gimme (the Cliffs of) Moher

This past weekend was spent in Dublin. What a magical place -- Guinness is the cheapest drink you can find, there are huge ornate cathedrals on every corner, and a bed and breakfast is amazingly affordable. Sadly, I did not see any leprechauns. Dang - I could have really used that pot of gold. After a frustrating RyanAir flight in which we were nailed with a ₤40 fee because we hadn't printed up our boarding passes early enough (damn you!), we
arrived at our bed and breakfast safe and sound.

Once our bags were dropped off, we set out to see downtown Dublin for the first time. We grabbed our first pint of Guinness in Temple Bar before heading to The Button Factory to see Hired Hands and James Vincent McMorrow. The concert was absolutely beautiful – even with the 6 drinks.

On Saturday we woke up bright and early and transformed ourselves into super tourists. We began at O’Connell Street before we headed to Trinity College. After a brief stop to check out the whiskeys available in town, we stopped at Dublin Castle, Christ-Church Cathedral, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral before heading to lunch at the Brazen Head Pub – the (apparently) oldest pub in Ireland. After a morning of walking around in the chill, my Beef and Guinness Stew was perhaps the most delicious thing I had ever tasted, especially since it was served in a huge yorkshire pudding.

To complete our day of touristing, we then headed over to the Guinness Storehouse. We fully enjoyed our tour around the factory, where we learned all about how Guinness is made and how it got its start. The best part? The free pint at the end of the tour and the 360-view of Dublin.

Sunday was spent gettin’ our tourist on at the Cliffs of Moher. It was absolutely remarkable. I could barely comprehend what I was looking at. The cliffs went on for 5km and were a 400m sheer drop off. At the very highest point is O'Brien Tower, which was built long ago to provide visitors with a gorgeous view of the cliffs. It was beyond windy, so I left with my hair in a huge knot at the back of my head. I was perfectly content just watching the waves crash into the cliffs. It was one of those moments when I couldn't even believe that what I was looking at was actually real.

Really, my trip to Dublin was a lot of fun. Ireland has a very similar feel to Scotland – although you may not want to tell either of them that. I enjoyed the food, drink, people,
sights, sounds…most everything except the hurricane that headed our way on Sunday night. I was, however, very surprised by how big and busy Dublin was. I was expecting a smaller, more laid back city, kind of like Edinburgh. Instead, it was hectic, very diverse, and crowded. Dublin was not exactly what I was expecting, but I had a great time nonetheless.

Most of all, it was just nice to travel again. I love going to a new place and experiencing everything that it has to offer. It was good to get out of Edinburgh for the weekend, to break my routine. Going to Dublin only made me more excited for Barcelona in a couple of weeks – I can’t wait!

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