Hey guys! Long overdue post on Dublin (and Galway/Cliffs of Moher).. I’m on a train in Salzburg now! Going to Hallstatt for the day while my friends hike a small mountain (I should really call it a hill 😛 ) in the rain. I was supposed to come (and will still go) to Salzburg in July, but I made some changes to my plan… I skipped Seville and Barcelona and went to Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg instead. It all started with wanting to surprise my friends in Budapest (success! – more about this in my future Budapest entry). I ended up tagging along with them after Budapest since they’re going back to Canada soon & then moving to the states and I won’t see them for at least a year 😦 . Although I’m a little sad that I missed out on the beauty of Spain (aside from Madrid & Valencia) and lost the $$$ I already spent on 4 flights & 2 Airbnbs in Spain (downside of being overprepared is that I didn’t prepare for the change of plans), you can’t put a price tag on friendship – especially these ones. They’re the kind of friends that I want my husband to meet (if I get a husband) and my kids to grow up with. There are a lot of great people in the world, but this group is one of a kind. Genuinely good people who are smart and hilarious, yet humble, kind, and understanding.
So Dublin. I flew to Dublin from London with Ryanair. They did not even check my passport. They did, however, confiscate my oversized bottles of lotion and contact lens solution 😥 . I had to buy smaller bottles at the airport. So overpriced… but if I balance it out with my cheap flight, it works out in the end.
WHERE I STAYED
In Dublin, I stayed with a friend of a friend. Her name was Emily and I’d never met her before. Her family was very accommodating and generous. Like I had written in my first Lisbon post, her dad even woke up at 4AM to drive me to the airport to catch my flight to Lisbon. My stay with them was nothing short of pleasant. It was quite hilarious, actually. I was all alone in the house when Emily’s younger brother came home. He had no idea I was even coming and was very confused to see a random person walking around the house. Yet, he was so welcoming! Asked me if I wanted tea or anything. I was so grateful that I was able to stay with Emily and her family.
Tip: if you are planning a big trip to Europe, see if any of your friends who’ve gone on exchange or have family in Europe can help you find places to stay! It’s safer than couchsurfing and you get to meet great people.
WHAT I DID
- Galway & Moher Cliffs: I went with the Dublin Tour Company. It was an all day tour that started at 7AM and ended at 9PM. It left from Dublin, took us to Galway where they gave a short walking tour, and then off to the Cliffs of Moher. Absolutely stunning! Best part of my visit to Ireland. The tour company is really great, too. I emailed them a day in advance when I realized that I could not get to the starting point of the tour (the pickup location) on time, and they offered to hold the bus for 5 minutes (which was exactly what I needed). The guide was friendly and enthusiastic, as well as super informative. Highly recommend this tour company!
- Stephen’s Green Mall: nice shopping centre. It’s close to everything else, so just pop in if you’re going for a walk in the central area.
- Temple Bar: it’s not just a bar – it’s actually the name of the area. It’s where the nightlife is. There are tons of cafes and pubs around here.
- Penny bridge: there is a reason why it’s named this and you should go there to find out 🙂
- Trinity: beautiful campus! Absolutely stunning. Even more beautiful than Oxford. Definitely worth walking through.
I guess I didn’t do much in Ireland. I walked around quite a bit in Dublin, but I don’t have much to tell you. You should just walk around. I’d advise you to walk around with a local if possible (maybe use Tinder to find friends – but if you’re doing this, really ensure that you’re clear that you’re looking for friends! It might even be a good idea to lie on your profile and say you have a boyfriend). I walked around with Emily and she knew so much about the history of Dublin. It’s very interesting, and it was nice to hear about it from a friend and not a tour guide that wants $$$.
WHAT I ATE
- Horse Show House: I went to this pub with Emily on the first night. I got a big claustrophobic because the pub was super busy – a rugby match was playing and it was an important game. It had a nice atmosphere and played old songs like 1000 Miles by Vanessa Carlton. I ate their chicken burger and tomato soup. They were delicious!
- Little Ass Burrito Bar: my first burrito outside of Canada! It was deeeelicious. But not as good as Burrito Boyz / Fat Bastard in Canada. Obviously 😛 . Getting there was a 30 minute walk. But my craving was so strong that I went anyway, even though it was past 10:30PM and the walk back was super dark and sketchy.
- Cafe Vivaldi: random cafe by the Temple Bar area. It began raining while we walked, so Emily & I popped into this cafe. It was quite nice. They give you little chocolates to enjoy with your tea!
- Another burrito: I didn’t get the name of the place (oops, sorry!) but it was in the food court of Stephens Green mall, so it’s easy to find. It was great! But I love burritos so I may be biased.
- Homemade stew: it was the thing that Emily’s friend told me I have to eat in Dublin (since my goal is to eat something local in every place I visit). Emily’s family made dinner on my last night in Dublin and I had some of their chicken stew thing. It was very good! Not sure if it was the stew I was “supposed” to have in Dublin, but hey, family-made meals are the best kind of meals!
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Go to the Cliffs of Moher!!! If you can, I suggest staying a night in Galway and getting to know it better. I only had one day to spare outside of Dublin. It was quite enjoyable and I would’ve loved to spend more time in the west coast.
- If you need to buy lactase pills or anything digestion related… they’re at the health food store and not the drug store. Every drug store I went to told me to go to the health food store and I never really found one until the third time around when it happened to be right by the drug store.
- The public transportation busses have wifi!
- No more cobblestone! (At least significantly less than the UK).
- Rainy weather is a thing here. Be prepared!
- Irish people are SUPER nice. I met the kindest strangers in Ireland. They’re all very friendly and accommodating. The bus drivers always helped me out to get to where I needed and I had great service in every store/restaurant.