Back to talking about Ireland… and this time the good stuff, sans travel drama.
Friday, November 16th: Woke up at 5h00… on the London airport floor, how lovely. I couldn’t begin to tell you how nice and clean I felt after that, harhar. On the bright side, we had only about a 3 minute walk to get where we needed to go, so Emily and I had ample amounts of time to enjoy some breakfast (for me, it was a blueberry muffin and a mint-y hot chocolate. mmmm) and start functioning on the severe lack of sleep. We successfully boarded our plane without issue (yay.. finally!), and about an hour later, we were landing in good ole Dublin, Ireland… and it wasn’t even raining! Traveling light makes life easier, so we were out of the airport in no time and waiting for this special bus to take us from the airport to the heart of Dublin. The bus was a double-decker monster, and we had a nice view during the drive. We got off in front of the Tourist House to grab a map, and then we just started exploring the city. The center of town was getting dressed up for Christmas, it looked so pretty and festive!
Since we hadn’t eaten since 5am, we were soon starving and in need of some sustenance, so we went into the the first Irish looking breakfast joint we found.. Bewler’s was the winner. I was beyond ecstatic that they had bagel breakfast sandwiches, so it instantly got a gold star in my book. Plus freshly squeezed orange juice! Loving Ireland already.
After feasting like breakfast Queens, we made our way back into Dublin to explore the city and just see what this area of Ireland was all about. Usually, I’m uber anal and have a list of things to do, where to go, etc when I travel somewhere, but this time I winged it, so we didn’t have a set itinerary. It was really nice to just adventure around though, and we walked into this park with a ton of seagulls, saw an Irish castle and then made the hike across Dublin to go to the Guinness Storehouse, which was the real highlight of the day. I loved it.
I took a million pictures and then some at the Factory, but I think they deserve their own album, so I’m going to post them later on. For now, just take my word for it… this place rocked. I mean, I’ve grown to adore the nectar of the gods known as beer, and my Dad is especially obsessed with Guinness, so I figured it deserved the attention I gave it. It’s amazing how much there was to learn about Guinness, and the factory did not skimp on the details. I learned everything from the ingredients used (hops, yeast, water, barley), where they come from, how Guinness has been transported over the years, and just about everything in between. Also, here are some fun facts I came away with:
~ The original genius of Guinness, Arthur Guinness, signed a lease for 9,000 (starting in 1759)!! Talk about having faith in your product. Got to hand it to him though, that guy knew what was up.
~ The Guinness factory itself is in the shape of a pint glass! I kid you not. You can’t tell from the outside, but when you’re inside on the bottom floor and look up, you are indeed inside of a gigantic pint glass (which could hold 14 million pints).
~ It is the largest stout brewery in the world, and in my opinion an amazing, amazing place.
Alors, if you are ever in Dublin and have an itch for some tasty brew, go to the storehouse! We spent over 3 hours there and I could have stayed there for longer, but alas my time in Dublin was limited. Plus, when you buy your ticket (granted if you are over 18), you get a voucher for a pint of beer, which you can pour yourself on the 4th floor, or you can go to the top floor and casually sip on a delicious pint of Guinness while overlooking Dublin in it’s entirety. So worth it. Don’t forget to peep the video below, to see the magic of Guinness cascading in Dublin. Also stay tuned for the multitude of pictures I took, it can almost be like you were there for yourself. 😉
After our refreshing visit to the Storehouse (and practically buying out the gift shop), we made the trek through Dublin again to get to the train station… next stop: Galway! This time, transportation was quick and painless. We bought a student, round-trip ticket to Galway, and took about a 2 and a half hour train ride through the Irish countryside into Galway, which is directly across the country from Dublin. When we touched down in Galway it was dark and rainy (lovely), but that didn’t deter us. One of my friends from UVM studied abroad in Ireland last year, so he put me in touch with his ex-roommate, Alan, who currently lives in Galway, so that’s where we were going to stay for the night. He was such a nice, hospitable Irish bloke who Emily and I knew we would get along with on the get go. First of all, how can you not be obsessed with the accents?!
Alan met us at the train station, and we walked back to his apartment, where we learned that Emily and I would each get our own bed that night (!!!) because his American roommates were on an excursion with their abroad program. Score one. Then we proceeded to take the most refreshing showers — we had to get that airport grime off of us, after all — then it was time for the night to begin. Ireland isn’t exactly known for its cuisine, so we decided to save money and eat some grocery store food (aka yummy pizza) and buy our intoxicating beverage for the night. Alan got a 24-pack of giant Heineken, and Emily and I split a bottle of pretty Skyy (they’re doing this promotion where each bottle is uniquely painted.. who can say no to pretty colors??), mixed with cranberry juice and Sprite of course.
Whilst eating our dinner and browsing through Alan’s iTunes, we started to pre-game at the apartment. It was a good time, and we picked up some swanky Irish phrases that I plan to incorporate into my daily vocabulary:
~ Slainte (pronounced slancha) = cheers
~ Messed up off me tits = this is self-explanatory…
~ It don’t make a blind bit of difference to me = again, common sense
~ A dose of ____ = a lot of something
*Side Note: They drive on opposite sides of the road in Ireland! This was news to me, and so strange. I think the Irish realize that they’re in the minority, so they needed to paint this on all the streets, so you don’t get accidentally smashed by a car, I’m guessing*
After getting accustomed with the Irish ways a bit, the three of us made our way to The King’s Head, which is one of the most popular pubs in the area. It was actually really cool, and pretty spacious. Alan, being a gentleman, bought us a round of drinks (we had some cider thing.. I was kind of buzzing by this point though, so I don’t remember the name of it) and we just chilled around the pub, socializing a bit and listening to this really good band play a bunch of live covers. The lead singer was this girl who looked a little bit like that girl from Misery Business, and she had an amazing voice! I was pretty captivated, and the time passed by really quickly.
Due to our lack of sleep though, we reached our limits around 2am, so we went back to the apartment to just be drunk and enjoy ourselves. I must have been exhausted, because while Emily was facetiming her friends, I passed out on the couch (not in a too-drunk type of way, no worries.. though I was drunk) and woke up at 4am so confused. It made me laugh though because Alan had done the same thing, and passed out in his bed fully clothed with all the lights on. Coming to my senses, I crawled upstairs and went to sleep again in a cozy, comfy bed. Ah, sweet success.