My fall break had finally started and I was off to Dublin, Ireland for the first few days. My homeland. I started my journey with Caroline and Maria on Thursday and I would not be home until the next Sunday. We arrived in Dublin late Thursday night so we just checked into our massive hostel and went to bed. If you are ever in Dublin and need a hostel stay at the Generator. It was so nice, more like a hotel than a hostel.
After sleeping on the most heavenly bed I had been on in a few months we finally rolled out of bed and headed out into the city. We grabbed a nice breakfast with toast!! I had not had toast in way too long, breakfasts without a toaster are torture. Unfortunately we had not mastered the Irish accent yet and accidently ordered Irish breakfasts when we thought we were just saying "yes, we want breakfast." After stuffing our faces, we headed out to do the tourist stuff. We walked through Temple Bar, an area filled with hundreds (I think?) of pubs. Then we walked to Dublin Castle, Christchurch Abby, Book of Kells and St. Patrick's Cathedral. I bought a claddagh ring, which I had been wanting for awhile. Then we headed over to the Guinness Factory for some beer tasting! The tour itself was pretty neat but we were excited to get to the top and look out over the city while enjoying a delicious Guinness. We then grabbed lunch with Caroline's distant cousin who is Irish and then headed back to the hostel to get ready to go out and experience the pub life.
We headed out to Temple Bar with some friends from DU we had run into at the Guinness factory. Our first stop was Fitzsimmons, which we ended up returning to the next night. They have live music every night and it was great! We then headed to a few other pubs and then ended up at a small pub at the end of the street. We went upstairs and it was filled with all locals. They had a small band playing traditional Irish songs. It was so fun to actually interact with local people, the language barrier in Rome makes that more difficult. So far our first night in Ireland was a success.
The next morning we headed out bright and early for our tour to the Cliffs of Moher and other random spots along the way. We all slept most of the ride there except for a few photo opportunities at churches and monasteries. I think after my time abroad I will be fine if I don't see another ancient church for awhile… It was raining all day but started to rain violently the minute we arrived at the cliffs. It made the experience that much better though, I thought I was going to blow away a few times. The view was absolutely stunning but I would love go back during the summer months and take a boat tour down below.
After our long bus ride back to Dublin we quickly got ready and then headed out to celebrate Halloween. We didn't bring costumes but realized that Halloween is celebrated even more in Ireland than in the US. Everyone goes all out on their costumes; some people were actually really scary! We headed back to Fitzsimmons and stayed there the whole night. The live music was incredible and the Irish people are seriously the nicest people I have ever met in my life. I wish more bars in America were like the pubs in Ireland. The night ended up being one of my favorites of the entire trip.
The next morning I headed out to Cork, in southern Ireland. My friend from DU, Mallory is studying abroad there. The bus ride was 4 hours too long but I finally arrived. She showed me around her campus and we walked around the center of town. It was a lot smaller than Dublin but it was really nice as well. That night we headed out to some of the local pubs that she goes to. They were all loads of fun too! I love the live music they have at literally every pub it adds a whole new element to the night!
Overall, Ireland was one of the best places I have ever been too. I love that my ancestors were from Ireland and I want to explore it even more. I was considering going back for another weekend but I am running out of time. I plan to go back again soon and see even more of this great country!