Dublin – the cradle of brilliant writers, quirky accent, laughter-filled pubs, Irish music playing from 1pm to 3am and that ‘black stuff’,drank only by 80-year-old gentlemen and me, had me hooked from the start.
My delightful weekend there was one of those trips that are a result of that tiny spark of spontaneousness and a sudden flow of cash, which sometimes hit you simultaneously. This time, they made me visit a city that has been on my dream wishlist ever since I was old enough to legally savour Guinness and fully comprehend the genius of Oscar Wilde.
It was exactly a month left till mine and fiancee’s 5th anniversary, so the celebration of love and pubs became our theme and excuse to have this trip. Soon, we had our Airbnb room reserved, as well as the plane tickets that sadly jumped from 60 to 150 pounds within a day (lesson for the future: ALWAYS book as soon as you see a cheap flight). Eventually, it was time to go on our first fully independent adventure together. Here’s how it went…
Friday, 20 Nov
6:30 Two zombies are boarding their plane.
9:00 Having found our guest family, we start our trip off on the right foot – get into bed, turn on the electric blanket (whoever invented that warm shit should get a Noble prize!) and snooze for a few hours to re-charge our useless batteries.
12:00 Exploring begins! Naturally, food comes first. After filling our bellies with a stew and a leek pie, we make our way towards The Writers’ Museum. Later, we stroll along the O’Connell Street, where I have to be dragged away from all the Leprechauns and shamrocks, and I am told ‘I take too many photos’. It’s not my fault a cute seagull sat gracefully on the bridge, asking for a picture!
It’s freezing, but we are falling in love already.
16:00 We ditch the Trinity College Library and spend that tenner (!) on dinner. To compensate for the loss, we visit the Modern Science Museum – it’s creepy with all the bionic arms, but it’s free and weirdly interesting. Later, we take a walk through the breathtaking campus, laughing at all the nerds passing by.
20:00 We are here at last, squeezing into Temple Bar for the first time. You can’t breathe in here, but you can have the most expensive Guinness and that substitutes oxygen pretty well. The Band of Moonlight Love are playing, when I look around at all the vintage signs and cheesy Christmas decorations, feeling like Harry must have felt in Hogsmeade. I wouldn’t swap what I am sipping for anything though, not even Butterbeer.
23:00 We let the Five Lamps lead our way home. Hello, electric blanket, our frozen butts have missed you greatly!
Saturday, 21 Nov
10:00 Top O’ The’ Mornin’ To Ya!
Our lovely hosts leave a full table for us, so we demolish cereal, bread, sweet rolls, fruit, juice and coffee. That’s how you respond to hospitality, right?
12:00 Today is the real ‘dream come true’ for both of us – we get to explore the Guinness Storehouse. We are not the typical 20-year-olds – we adore that strong, bitter ambrosia and want to sip it from the source. During our tour we learn how to make a toast in Gaelic (slàinte!), achieve the necessary foam moustache and acquire the extremely useful skill of ‘pulling the perfect pint’. We admire the panorama of Dublin from the Gravity Bar, where I obviously leave my camera. My hero retrieves it for me, though I’m sure he would rather give it away for free.
16:00 We escape the crazy multitude of people who probably don’t even like Guinness and head back to town for our pre-anniversary/super posh/’we are trying not to look like poor students’ fancy dinner.
Sadly, the possibly best place to eat in the whole of Dublin – The Winding Stair, is packed most likely up till the end of summer. We end up choosing their sister restaurant The Woolen Mills just around the corner.
17:00 The waiter gives us a reserved table. We have two hours to eat and leave. Challenge accepted.
19:00 Ordering a three-course meal, because it’s a good offer (we are in fact poor, greedy students, nature cannot be deceived), is both the best and worst thing we could have ever done. After leaving the restaurant, we begin to slowly roll down the street, trying not to throw up the delicious 30 Euro worth of food we’ve only just devoured. I can feel the butternut squash bhajis, the Irish burger and fries, as well the bread pudding dancing inside me, but after a while I am too happy to care.
21:00 Soon after going back to life as humans, not balloons, we decide to spend the evening in a humble Bachelor Inn pub, where a young James Bay’s doppelganger is strumming his guitar, making me want to cry when I realise we have to leave tomorrow. I order an Irish coffee to give myself a whisky kick, but it makes me even more melancholic.
Sunday, 22 Nov
12:00 It’s our last afternoon here, and obviously, the sun is out for the first time. I therefore attempt to take pictures of every bridge, building and seagull that we are passing by, to the delight of my companion. Our last few hours are well spend – we go shopping, eat fish and chips at Leo Burdock’s just like B.B. King, Snoop Dogg and Sandra Bullock once did, and say goodbye to the Temple Bar in the most traditional way possible, that is by having Guinness with oysters.
Never in my life have I thought I would say this, but London was only my place on Earth until I saw Dublin. It reflects my personality like no other city and understands what it’s like to have a retired soul at the age of 20. If I could choose where to grow old, it would be my unbeatable pick.