Since it’s March, the month of St. Patrick’s Day, and being that I am in the Ireland, it was only natural to travel to Dublin, Ireland for two weekends in a row. Now, why would someone want to travel to a city two weekends in a row? To be honest, I don’t know. But, Dublin is wild so if you get to go twice in two weeks–do it, man.
On March 2, I travelled alongside the rest of Fairfield University’s Galway Study Abroad program for the highly anticipated weekend trip to Dublin, and then on March 8 I traveled with my longtime pal of nineteen years to Dublin for the weekend. So by now I hope I know the city pretty well.
Dublin is the capital of Ireland and the largest city in the country. Out of the 4.784 million people that populate Ireland, 1.345 million live in County Dublin. Besides having one of the largest populations, Dublin is rich with so much Irish history and culture.
Through the school, we got to see a lot of Dublin’s historical sites. On our first day in the city, we visited 14 Henrietta St., which is a beautiful old Georgian home which had originally belonged to a wealthy family but was later turned into tenements, which housed various impoverished families in Ireland. We were then meant to check out Dublin Castle. I really thought Dublin Castle was going to be an actual castle, but to be honest it is the ruins of the castle. Either or, it’s super cool to check out because the grounds have the country’s state buildings which have been important for various national events like the presidential inauguration.
After Dublin Castle, we headed to Trinity College to check out the Book of Kells. It’s essentially a famous 9th-century gospel manuscript. However, my favorite part of seeing the Book of Kells was being able to see the Long Room– which is the university’s old library. Being an English major I was all different kinds of excited being in a room that felt like the library in “Beauty and the Beast.”
On my second day in Dublin through the school, we got to check out a lot of historical aspects of the city that had a great deal to do with Ireland’s rise as an independent nation such as the historic 1916 rising to the Irish Civil War. We went to Glasnevin cemetery and Kilmainham Jail. Usually cemeteries are not my cup of tea, but Glasnevin cemetery has a lot of famous Irish figures buried there like famed Irish revolution leader Michael Collins and Irish political leader Charles Stewart Parnell, so it was definitely cool to check out. Only drawback was the fact it was heavily pouring during our tour and I got sick from said graveyard. According to Google I have bronchitis, but we’ll see about that one. As for Kilmainham Jail, it’s where many of these revolution leaders were held and it’s also where men who participated in the 1916 rebellion were executed. If you love history these are areas to definitely check out.
One thing I did on both trips to Dublin and one thing that is a must-see for everyone is the Guinness Factory. Even if you don’t like Guinness or beer in general, still go. The interactive museum is full of fun things to check out, from how the famed Irish beer is made to Guinness’ most famed advertisements– including my favorite, the iconic fish riding a bicycle with the phrase, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” The animatronic fish they have is super freaky, but super cool. Plus, you get a complementary Guinness drink you can either learn to pour yourself at the Guinness academy or just simply get from a bartender and chill up top at the factory’s Gravity Bar, which overlooks all of Dublin. The view is spectacular, 10/10. Also, side note, if you hate Guinness but still want to drink your free Guinness, ask the bartender for some black currant. Makes the whole thing a lot sweeter (you’re welcome).
Speaking of Guinness– Dublin’s nightlife. The nightlife in Dublin is a kind of nightlife I will never fully be able to express in words. While Galway is known for it’s good pubs and wild times, it has nothing compared to the absolute insanity that is Dublin after hours. I’ve never seen anything like it. For example, I could hear the pub across the street from my hotel blasting Disney songs until 2 in the morning. If you love big crowds and wild times, then you must go out in Dublin. However, if you hate crowded spaces and things that come at you in close proximity, stay out of the way.
One of the must-see and most famous bars in Dublin is The Temple Bar. Located in the Temple Bar neighborhood, it’s one of many entertaining and exciting pubs along the strip. Temple Bar is a legendary bar that has great music and good vibes. It tends to be on the top of many tourists lists, so the crowds around The Temple Bar tend to get super crazy.
Speaking of pubs, one of my favorites I got to see was during dinner was called the Brazen Head. The Brazen Head is the oldest pub in Dublin and when I went, it was through a storytelling program where we were served traditional Irish food while a man came in and told us the history of Ireland, but also retold some interesting Celtic tales. Besides that, two other men came in and played a bunch of classic Irish hits like “Whiskey in the Jar” and “Molly Malone.”
Overall, my two trips to Dublin really got to show me this historic and iconic city. While I do love my home away from home here in Galway, Dublin was pretty awesome and a must-see for anyone traveling to the Green Isle.