We spent the last few days of our Ireland trip in Dublin. Upon our arrival we had afternoon tea at House Dublin (where we would be staying the night) and then went for a run along the nearby Grand Canal. Even though we were in the most urban Irish environment yet, everything was still so green. The canal especially was canopied by dense trees with lush grasses growing up the banks.
Our 8th day in Ireland and first full day in Dublin began as many of you probably guessed it would: with a pilgrimage to the Guinness Storehouse! Is it a tourist trap? Sure. But it’s my kind of tourist trap! We ascended floor after floor of exhibits about Guinness’s ingredients, brewing process, history, marketing, and culture. Ultimately we reached the top, the Gravity Bar, and there we shared a few pints with a 360-degree view over Dublin as our backdrop – truly a bucket list item for yours truly!
We spent much of the afternoon walking around Dublin. With a huge, old, Gothic church on practically every corner, there was a lot to see along the way. We found our way to Trinity College, where we made a pilgrimage to their amazing library. Some of their artifacts, like the Book of Kells, were interesting but the endless rows of multi-story shelves full of books was the real attraction for me.
Our hotel was near St. Stephen’s Green, which was a lovely little park for passing time between meals and attractions. We wrapped up the day at Sheehan’s Pub, where we had a local non-Guinness stout and a tasting of several Powers whiskeys.
For our 9th and final day in Ireland, we checked into Clontarf Castle. It is an historic castle that has been updated as a hotel and event space but, despite its modernizations, it still felt very “castley.” There were suits of armor everywhere – including hidden away in nooks and crannies and hallway dead ends. I loved it – it was like playing a Harry Potter video game in real life!
Clontarf had a lovely harbor-front promenade so we walked around a bit before settling on lunch at Moloughney’s, which was lovely. I don’t have any pictures between lunch and dinner so I suspect that we took a nap. During the entire trip I was taking a pint of Guinness with lunch – which was bad for my waistline but good for my soul – so a nap might have been just what was called for.
We stayed at the hotel for dinner and managed to reserve the table in the tower dungeon! The food was fine but the experience of dining in a dungeon really took the cake – the Guinness cake, even, which is what we had for breakfast at the Dublin airport the next day!
What can I say about this trip to Ireland? It was a magical, amazing experience. The castles, the lush green hills, the very nice people, the excellent food – what a place! We spent a week and a half there but only scratched the surface. I have so many more places to explore but Ireland is definitely on the top of my list for a return soon!