Our next door neighbors back in the U.S., the Lavins, are very proud of their Irish heritage. They would take regular trips to Dublin to introduce their four sons to the land of their ancestors. Each time, upon their return, I would ask them what Ireland was like, and they would describe the beautiful scenery, the friendly people, and yes – the “lively” Irish pubs. During our recent visit, we experienced all of these features firsthand. This post is intended as something of a “travelogue” including our impressions, photos and short videos of a few highlights of our visit.
On our first full day in town, we wandered around Dublin. The first thing that struck me was that there are more people walking around in a given space than any city I’ve ever been to, including New York. Look at the photos below. I’m not knocking the crowds, in fact I enjoy the hustle and bustle, but I had not envisaged that Dublin was such a popular tourist destination.
We all know that London is famous for its double decker buses, but I discovered that in Dublin, all the buses are 2 stories! They’re everywhere. Streets are very narrow, and its interesting that the trees are all trimmed with a 90 degree angle cut away to allow the buses to squeeze through without too much “thwacking” of tree limbs!
Here’s a quick video of what it looks like to ride on the upper deck.
Most big cities have their own iconic monument, and I suppose Dublin is no exception, but I do confess to not being aware of “The Spire” on Dublin’s main thoroughfare. Wikipedia describes it as a “pin-like” monument made of stainless steel, but I think it is more accurate to simply describe it as a giant pin. Yes, its “pin-like” because that’s what it is, a giant, 400 foot tall pin. It was erected in 2003, and it’s fair to say based on our discussions with some of the locals that it is not universally admired.
Certain drinking establishments in the U.S. claim to be “authentic” Irish pubs, but in my view, the only “authentic” Irish Pub is one in Ireland. We spent some time in what is perhaps Dublin’s most famous pub, the Temple Bar. Here’s a fun picture of Chris, me, our bartender Kathy and another bartender whose name I don’t know who photobombed us! (Note: we are both of legal drinking age!)
And here is a short video of the scene inside another pub we visited, in a town called Galway (pronounced “gahl-way”), a 3 hour drive from Dublin.
Its not possible to report on a trip to Ireland without mentioning one of Dublin’s most famous products, exported worldwide, and that’s Guinness. Just look at that! Doesn’t that look delicious?
… Trust me, it was. Also, here’s something that’s good to know if you don’t want to appear ignorant when ordering more than 1 Guinness at a time. Say, “I’d like 2 Guinness, please”, not “2 Guinesses”. The plural of Guinness is Guinness. And yes, I did learn that lesson the hard way.
Street musicians are omnipresent in Dublin. Beginning about 3:00 PM, there are literally different performers on every block. I shot this video of a band that we particularly enjoyed.
One day, we decided it might be nice to escape the crowds and so we took a short bus ride to a place called Howth, a fishing town on the outskirts of Dublin. We took a long walk along the cliffs overlooking Dublin Bay. We saw many other sights that reflect the beauty of Ireland, but this one is a good representation…
… this one however, was not a good representation, unless you happen to be a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, I suppose.