Dublin

Will is studying in Dublin for the month of June and it felt like the perfect excuse to go to Ireland. Not that I really needed a lot of coaxing. I stayed with him at Trinity College for most of the trip, and we popped over to London for the weekend. Since this one is already going to have a lot of pics, I’ll save London for later.

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I showed up in Dublin at 5am on Thursday, took a quick nap and then did a free walking tour.  It was the perfect introduction to the city, the history of the area and stuff to do. The city is walkable and easily navigated thanks to the main drag and the River Liffey. Three days into it, I was giving directions to tourists like a local.

My tour guide Eoin (pronounced like Owen) embodied the Irish personage to a T. He balanced his pride with his stoicism for Ireland’s colorful history. He told us, “Ireland doesn’t have bad days, just good days and authentic ones.” It rained almost everyday I was there, so I experienced a decent amount of “authentic” Ireland. My raincoat came in handy. The temps hovered in the 70s my whole trip.

Afterwards I took the Guinness Tour and drank a pint of the hometown brew with a nice Indian family. Their museum detailed the process of making the beer, the unique pour and the ads through the years. The building shaped like a pint glass may have been my favorite thing.

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Will suggested Epic Ireland, my next stop. The exhibits showed the cause and effects of the Irish diaspora over the centuries.  Their multimedia displays were interactive, who knew so many famous people had Irish heritage? They went out of their way to dig up every one too. Tom Brady’s great great great great grandpa came from Ireland (or something like that).

Will and his Mizzou friends met me at the Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Dublin for dinner. It was originally a Viking watering hole and now is a weaving mess of rooms tacked with money and junk from all over the world. Everything was served with potatoes, surprise surprise.

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Then I crashed because I had a total of six hours of sleep the night before broken into two hour chunks and a 7am flight to London the next day. More on England later.

On Sunday, Will and I were back in Dub-town (can I call it that?) and went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for Mass. We then hit up Christ Church Cathedral too. Will liked Christ Church better. I dig any excuse to go into a crypt.

Attached to Christ Church, was the Dublina museum about the vikings. The fake people were a little mucho, but we learned a lot and got to climb the tower for a cool view of the city.

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Last stop of the day was Kilmainham Gaol, a historic jail built in 1796. Some of the influential leaders of the 1916 uprising were executed there. I remembered seeing Julie’s photos from there and was glad we checked it out too. It reminded me a lot of Alcatraz in SF but less sea breeze.

To be totally honest, I had a very rough working knowledge of Irish history going into this trip. My fault, I know. The tours and museums gave me context for what I was looking at and I was grateful for all the smarts I collected along the way. My mom would be proud of all the educational moments and the gems I visited.

Will introduced me to O’Neill’s for a monster dinner of corned beef and cabbage. The only thing that could have topped it was a Shammy Shake. Turns out that’s not an Irish delicacy after all.

The other evenings I spent in Dublin, we checked out other places to eat and drink.  One night we found some local music and musicians who loved Americans and picked on Will. The very last day, I saw the Book of Kells and the Long Room before heading to the airport. While it was a little overpriced, the library felt huge and magical.

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Now for the photos…

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From St. Pat’s and Christ Church:

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From the jail:IMG_4067

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Shannon