Arriving in Dublin with an afternoon to spare until my friend (and host) flew in, I decided to wander the streets in search of... well... I wasn't quite sure. This go with the flow attitude had come to define my time in Europe. I was on the no-plan plan.
The first thing that struck me is that Dublin is short. Walking around the city, you're not just a speck in the shadow of a skyscraper. Word on the street (from one slightly credible source) is that no buildings can be built higher than 10 stories. Must look into this later...
After taking the bus to city center from the airport, I ducked into a cafe to read up on the city a little. A coffee later, it was time to wander. Specifically, I was on the hunt for a cozy pub. When in Ireland, right? And so I set out without a map or GPS, with the intention of truly feeling my way around the city. After about an hour of soaking in the energy of Dublin at night - complete with my large backpacking pack - I heard the words out loud that I'm sure many had been thinking to themselves as I walked through the streets - "Are you lost?" Lucky for me, a warm soul with a big smile around my age spotted my backpacking self from a ways away, and within seconds invited me inside a pub for a drink with her friends - who were coincidentally also American. Our group grew through the night with other travel lovers from around the world who couldn't help but notice my backpack and want to know where I was from. The backpacking community is a special thing.
After a surprisingly eventful first night in Dublin, I met up with the friend I was staying with and we headed ten minutes south of town to crash at his place. Little did I know that he happens to live with 5 other young Irish guys. A.k.a.. I was staying in an Irish frat house. And... it was wonderful! The boys were warm, welcoming, funny and.. well.. boys. I wouldn't have had it any other way.
On Saturday, I was lucky enough to hitch a ride with these boys as they showed me around the countryside around Dublin. The rumors are true - Ireland is incredibly green.
It's a green you can get lost in, that sticks with you. I can't wait to be back and soak it up even more.
Up next was Powerscourt Estate, a beautiful house with an incredible network of gardens, hidden towers, statues and fountains. If I didn't have 4 boys in tow who were familiar with Powerscourt, I could have easily wandered the grounds for the whole day.
Next up was a good old tourist day in Dublin. First on the list? Guinness tour..
The Guiness tour? Overpriced and a little underwhelming. It's saving grace was the beautiful pint waiting for you at the sky bar, which gave you a beautiful view of the whole city. My cheap self cringed at coughing up €16 euro for the experience but all in all, it was worth it. After all, when in Dublin..
My time in Ireland was short but sweet. I can not WAIT until I have an opportunity to visit again. Although next time, I'll keep my time in the city short, and focus on exploring the beautiful countryside.