Contrary to popular belief, and my personal hopes for our trip, Ireland did not provide us with gold at the end of the rainbows, excessive potato consumption/ crop space, nor did we see (and believe me, I searched up and down) leprechauns. Despite the disappointment we felt toward the unfortunate lack of mythical creatures, we made the most out of our trip there. With a start in Dublin, we were surprised to find that it was not exactly what we expected from the infamous capital of the land of clovers. And it was our own fault really, with the expectation of Ireland’s stereotypical green rolling hills, we quickly found that our needs would not be met by the city in that regard. On the other hand, our need for bangers and mash, fish and chips, the smoothest Guinness draft that will ever wash over our buds (yes, it gets better than the nice nitro stout you had at McNally’s the other night), and mindblowingly fantastic live music, sufficed for the drastic lack of greenery in the city.
Skittles Milkshake, Looking for the House in Dublin
Our visit began with the end of my former post; backpackless and frustrated. Along with a directionally unobserving (big mistake) cab ride to the residence of our Airbnb hosts. A residence located in an area with which our cab driver was quite concerned. The next day, we finally get our bags from the airport after waiting half of the day for their failed delivery. And here is where our lack of observation to direction proved to be quite a hindrance in our trek back home. With backpacks filled of six weeks worth of clothing and various supplies, feeling similar to what I would imagine is the weight of adolescent gorillas, we walked for about an hour trying to find our way back. The walk was well worth it though, if only for the Skittles milkshake we found in a local convenience store. With a container shaped like a juice box, but the look of the candy of the same name, we expected something a little more juicy than milky, and the initial assessment of the unique beverage was quite a shock. Though after accepting it for what it was, we found ourselves enjoying the candy-flavored milk (if you think it sounds atrocious, that is probably what Skittles expected you would conclude, hence the lack of its distribution in the U.S.). Already thoroughly enjoyed with the success of the walk thus far, and the power of Skittles in our system, we trekked on… and on… and on… Until we felt that we had missed the place by a significant margin. We did not have international phone plans, and relied solely on maps for our frequently failed efforts in navigation.
Bad Bob’s bar sign, Temple Bar, Dublin, Personal photo
It was at this time though, that we required the aid of a local to finally rescue us from breaking backs and grumbling stomachs, which we had neglected to take care of all day with the stress of our loss of everything we needed for the trip. The friendliness of the Irish people was incredible. Our first experience outside of our hosts, the man pulled out his phone and mapped the address for us without a second pause. He then proceeded to warn us about the bridge under which we had just crossed, that we needed to watch our heads because “the pigeons sh**t like rain under there.” So, laughing at his advice the entire time, we cautiously, but quite quickly (as is difficult with the adolescent gorilla partners on our backs) cross back under the bridge. It ended safely but we definitely made note of what he had meant. It was EVERYWHERE… I have no idea how we did not notice it the first time but the pigeons definitely do their thing how and wherever they want. Some of the angles at which it would have had to project in order to cover parts of the bridge were physical anomalies.
Temple Bar, Dublin. Courtesy of: http://www.tripextras.com/ireland/dublin
Eventually, we made it back. The rest of our stay involved many nights at the infamous Temple Bar area, walking the city, and a visit to the Malahide castle just outside of the city; one thing that I wish we did much more on the trip. Malahide was a somewhat smaller castle in comparison to many throughout the country. Experiencing medieval history in real-life context was breathtaking, and is probably my most recommended thing to do for anyone’s trip abroad. There are more stories to come from the rest of the trip in my coming posts, I look forward to telling you all about it.
Malahide Castle. Courtesy of: http://www.dublin.ie/gallery-view.aspx?imageId=831