What a great weekend I had in Dublin! There aren’t words to describe the beauty, nor the people of this tiny island. The quick one hour flight, courtesy of ultra-budget airline RyanAir, left very early Friday morning, which meant we had to leave our house about 4am to take an hour taxi ride to the airport!
The moment we de-planed, I could tell it was going to be an awesome couple of days. Not only was the sun shining, but every Irish person we encountered was genuinely friendly, even the Customs Officers! They even let our amazing Filipino housemate Louise (who is in the process of becoming a naturalized US citizen) into the country, even though her visa didn’t, by technicality, allow her to visit Ireland!
After a nap at our hostel, like the good college students we are, we headed straight for the Guinness Factory! What a place that is—even if you don’t like Guinness, I would recommend it! The whole process, from farm to distribution and advertising, is explained on the self-guided tour. Then, you take a quick tutorial and pour a “proper” pint of Guinness! I’ve never been a fan of darker beers (in my very limited experience, of course 🙂 ), but like some have told me, Guinness is better the closer you are to the source—this proved to be true! Guinness at the factory, and in the whole of Ireland, tastes far better than it does back home (or in Canada, the only place I’ve had it).
That night we went to a karaoke pub for our friend’s birthday—pretty low-key evening, as we were all still tired from our early morning (a lot of the group didn’t really go to bed before we left!)
The next day we embarked on the Wild Wicklow Bus Tour—an all day excursion throughout the Irish countryside! This was the best $35 I’ve ever spent—not only was our guide great, but he was able to take our motor-coach on sketchy roads to show us all kinds of beautiful sights throughout the country, including bogs, the seaside, lakes, ancient monasteries, and even Bono’s house! Adding to the fun, out of the 40 people on the bus, SEVEN of us were from Seattle! None of us knew each other, but all were local Eastside residents—three were there working on various Microsoft projects. It was definitely nice to be around people from home!
That night we caught a late, and very empty, RyanAir flight back to London ( I snagged the exit row… the flight attendant called it ‘first class’), and didn’t arrive home until 2am!
What I appreciated about Ireland the most was the overall attitude the people had. Like I mentioned in my previous post about Paris, I tend to judge my experiences not on the sights that I’ve seen, but the interactions I’m able to have with local people. The Irish are genuine, friendly, helpful, and a lot of fun! All the people I spoke to, whether it be on the streets of Dublin, in pubs, or throughout the countryside, were very lively and conversational!
While Ireland is naturally beautiful in its own right, what sets it apart from others is its people—they welcome you gladly into their land,and make you wish that you could stay longer!