I have been to Dublin 4 times in my life, unfortunately the first 3 times I never left the airport. This past weekend, and my 4th time at the airport, I finally got the chance to step foot on actual Irish soil.
My parents and brother have all been to Ireland, but besides telling me about sheep and ghost tours, I didn’t have much to go off of on what to expect. Fortunately, like most girls who love a good rom-com, I have seen the movie Leap Year. Based off this movie, I figured I would get to Ireland, meet a beautiful man with a fun accent, fall in love, and get engaged on the Cliffs of Moher. Movies are obviously always realistic and so with that, my expectations for the weekend were set! However, my many suitors will be pleased to know that this was in fact not how my time in Ireland was spent. I did not meet a man and drive across Ireland with him nor did I get engaged, but I definitely did fall in love.
I fell in love with the city of Dublin and how much character and life there was at all hours of the day and the night. I fell in love with every person I interacted with, from their accents to their genuinity. I fell in love with the history behind all the buildings and the cobbled streets. I fell in love with the natural beauty of the Irish countryside and the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher. There is so much beauty in Ireland, I can’t imagine anyone going and not leaving with a full heart.
While I love 99% of everything about Ireland, I do have to say there were some things I did not love. These things being Guinness and the Full Irish Breakfast (so sorry Irish culture/tradition). Unfortunately I don’t have the taste buds of an old Irish man.
So with that, here I go with a breakdown of my Irish weekend:
We left Aber on Thursday night by train and arrived at the Birmingham airport at around 11:30pm. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:30am, which meant we have quite some time to kill. Not to bore you with travel details but some highlights include sleeping on benches in the airport until we could go to our gate at 4am. All the traveling went smoothly and safely for the most part. The “non-smooth” part of my travels happened in the Birmingham airport right after I got through security. At this point it was about 5:30am (1:30am Indiana time) and something pretty traumatic happened to me. While I will not be elaborating on the actual disaster, I will say I had a pretty big anxiety attack. Naturally this caused me to start to feel pretty homesick and so I just wanted to talk to my parents or someone from home to calm me down. Unfortunately for me, the time zone difference meant my parents were both asleep and when I tried calling them, their phones were off. I wasn’t able to get ahold of them until almost noon my time so I felt pretty upset most of the flight and morning. The good news is that I learned lots of valuable lessons, my parents learned to keep their phones on please, and I am feeling much better. Other than that, all the rest of the traveling details were normal and easy.
The first thing we did when we arrived in Dublin was track down the lady whom we were renting a room from so that we could get our keys. The place we stayed at was in a great location because it was pretty much in Central Dublin right by everything we wanted to see. The downsides were that it was a pretty creepy building and some of the walls had BLACK mold. I have been watching House on Netflix lately so naturally I panicked and was waiting to contract a life threatening fungal infection. I am pretty sure in America it is illegal to live with black mold according to the Health Board people?!?! But either way I survived and by the end of the trip I was just referring to them as my “colony friends” and we lived together in harmony. Other features besides the mold included a bedroom that had 2 sets of bunk beds, a kitchen, a living room, a balcony, and a full bathroom. It was decent considering we only spend about 10 hours total in the place.
On Friday after we moved in, we went to grab brunch. We found a cute traditional Irish looking placed right across the street from our accommodations. All four of us ordered the Full Irish breakfast. This consists of eggs, blood sausage, white and black pudding, bacon, mushrooms, baked beans, potatoes, and toast. If you know me and my eating habits, you know that I don’t like breakfast meats, but I wanted to at least say I tried “Irish food.” While I did try a bite of everything, I only ended up actually eating the eggs, toast, and potatoes because the rest of the food was yucky. Also if you are wondering what black and white pudding are, here is a news flash: IT’S NOT PUDDING. I took the liberty of attaching some WIKI definitions below of what they are:
Black pudding (Swedish: blodpudding, Estonian: verivorst) is a type of blood sausage commonly eaten in Britain, Croatia, Ireland, Sweden,Estonia and Latvia. It is generally made from pork blood and a relatively high proportion of oatmeal
White pudding or oatmeal pudding is a meat dish popular in Ireland, Scotland, Northumberland, Nova Scotia, andNewfoundland. White pudding is similar to black pudding, but does not include blood; it consists of pork meat and fat, suet, bread and oatmeal formed into a large sausage.[
After eating we toured the city. We went to the Jameson Distillery, Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and just explored some of the streets and shops of the city. Very touristy stuff, I know. I did learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, which would be super useful if I liked Guinness (maybe one day). Two of my favorite things I did in the city were ride a horse drawn carriage around Dublin and eating the best crepe of my life. The horses were named Penny and Dolly and they were perfect and beautiful and obviously I was in love. While I was on the carriage I occasionally waved to peasants walking on the street like the princess I am, and yes, they all waved back happily. Irish people are awesome. The crepe was made with nutella and banana slices and powdered sugar. The man making it thought I was crazy because of how excited I was watching him make it, but like, who wouldn’t get excited about a crepe?? It was so delicious I got the same one the next night as well.
On Saturday we woke up at the crack of dawn and caught a bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher. This feisty Irish woman led the tour. Her main job was to tell us the history of places we visited, but she also told us quite a few stories and jokes along the way. When we got to the cliffs, we were cut loose for an hour and a half to explore. It was a super windy day and at times I was honestly afraid I would just blow right off the ledge. Pictures will never be able to do the cliffs justice, so I recommend everyone see them before they die. They are 700 feet high off the ocean and are truly breathtaking. It felt like a dream to be there and I am so lucky that I can cross something so huge off my bucket list at such a young age. When we got back from the tour it was night time and we were pretty exhausted considering we all had been mainly sleeping on trains and planes for the past 2 days. We stopped at a pub in Dublin for a quick drink then headed back to our hostel for a few hours of sleep. We woke up at 1am, caught a taxi to the airport Sunday and headed our long journey back to school.
The weekend flew by, and I wish I had more time there, but it was an amazing trip and I am so glad that I was able to experience Ireland. It is really cool to say I have been to places that my ancestors are from. Now that both Italy and Ireland have parts of my heart, we will have to see if Germany takes some as well to make it a full circle!
Slainte!! (“cheers” in Irish)