I had heard beautiful things about Ireland and its scenery, but it wasn’t really at the top of my travel list. When Jonathan’s cousin, Joyce, said she was thinking of this as a Thanksgiving week destination, I quickly said, “count us in”!
We arrived on a chilly Saturday afternoon to the charming city of Dublin where Joyce was already awaiting at the cutest hostel in downtown Dublin, Isaacs Hostel. We quickly freshened up and went out to explore and find some dinner! Downtown Dublin is full of street musicians, beautiful cathedrals, and lots, I mean lots of PUBS! We grabbed a quick bite to eat at Milano in the Temple Bar area right before heading over to our Pub crawl!
The Pub Crawl was so much fun (as expected)! Although it got off to a slow start because the first bar was kind of tiny and had slow service, the rest of the Irish pubs pulled through and we even stopped by a dance club which was also very fun! As we reached the end of our pub crawl, and being the Latinos that we are, we were missing something to dance to. We made our way to the River Bar which is known to host salsa classes and stay open late for Latin dance nights. It did not disappoint, from salsa to reggaeton & more we fulfilled all of our dancing wants.
Our second day in Dublin consisted of visiting Trinity College which is known for its history, beautiful views, The Book of Kells, its Old Library and more! We stopped in for lunch at O’neills which serves delicious traditional Irish food complete with a carving station and all! We then made our way to the Guinness Storehouse which I personally was very excited for because I’d heard great things about this tour and because the Irish are very proud of their beer. It truly did not disappoint. Be prepared for lots of stairs as the tour consists of seven floors, each of which details the different parts of how the beer is made, marketing throughout the years, the history and more! My favorite part was the top floor which is a 360 degree “Gravity Bar” which is surrounded by glass windows showing you the beautiful city of Dublin while you enjoy your complimentary pint of Guinness beer at the end of the self-guided tour. Now, I must confess, I’m not much of a beer drinker (I am pretty true to my red wine) so I don’t think it’s fair for me to judge the beer because well, I don’t really know what to compare it to. I did learn some pretty cool facts about the production process though, many people think that there is coffee in Guinness because of its smokey flavor and dark color, however, this comes from their roasting process used on the barely which is very similar to the way coffee beans are roasted. How cool huh?
On the third day we woke up at the crack of dawn to begin our Cliffs of Moher, Wild Atlantic Way and Galway tour from Dublin! While researching, this was one of the most recommended places to visit so I was super excited about it! We bought our tour tickets in advance through Viator tours. Plan a full day for this tour since it is about a 3 hour drive from Dublin. The complete tour lasted 13 hours but included multiple stops and a tour guide who gave you some background history on the way. We met at 6am to head to our 1st stop, a small village with an old monastery and cemetery. The whole ride to the Cliffs was so beautiful and our tour guide on board was so informative and entertaining! Once we arrived at the Cliffs we were given 2 and a half hours to explore the cliffs at our leisure. You go up a hill towards the edge of the cliffs and you have the option to take a left or a right and explore the views along the beautiful Atlantic Ocean! We began on the right and even had time to go along the left side. The views are breathtaking all along and because there are no railings it feels like such a direct connection with nature. This also calls for extra caution while exploring and taking pictures. On our way back to Dublin we made a stop in the cutest harbour city of Galway were we were free to explore on our own for a few hours. We were very hungry so we made our way to The Kings Head where I had the best fish and chips of the entire trip! We then walked around the city square where we encountered traditional Irish folk music and dancing. I almost wish we would’ve had some extra time in this city!
On our last day in Dublin we had some shopping and sight seeing in mind, but after realizing how rainy and cold it was out, we decided on some museums and churches. We began at the Dublina museum which was much more than I was expecting, full of life-like exhibitions and the history of Dublin from its Viking age beginnings. We then proceeded to visit the Christ Church Cathedral which is not only beautiful, but full of history which you can learn more of in their catacombs exhibition. We had a delicious dinner at Murrays Bar & Grill before heading over to our Whiskey tour at the Irish Whiskey Museum. I’m not actually much of a whiskey drinker, but we were in Ireland, so it felt almost disrespectful if I didn’t. Our tour guide John, was fabulous, he gave us a full recap of how whiskey came to be in Ireland and the history of its evolution around the world. We discovered that the Irish are very proud of their beer and their whiskey (hence why the drink it so much I guess lol).
Exploring these beautiful places in Ireland was such a great experience, but even better was creating memories of a lifetime with amazing people who I love! Thank-you Ireland for sharing your folk music, your beer, whiskey, fish & chips and joyous spirits, until we meet again.