I’m going to get real for a quick second because I feel like if this blog is going to be a real travel blog and not just the same old post-only-the-good-stuff social media page, you all need to hear the rest of the story. I’ll set the scene:
So here I am eating chicken with Ashley (Crackbird in Dublin is really good by the way). I start feeling really strange. I’m thinking I’m just getting hit with a second round hangover, but the feeling won’t go away. I realize: I’m homesick. I’m 22 years old, have only been gone for a week, but I’m homesick. I want to hug my mom and dad, see my sisters, and snuggle my dogs. But, because I am on the journey of a lifetime, I can’t and that makes me really sad. We head back to the hostel so we can lay in our beds and recoop, but all I can think about is wanting to be in my own bed where I feel safe and have the ones I love around me. That seems to be the traveler’s paradox. You know in your heart that you are having an experience that not everyone is lucky enough to have. Believe me, I am beyond thankful to have the means to see the world and to experience everything that I have and will experience. But here I am, laying on the top bunk, sad that I’m homesick, and embarrassed that I’m sad. Not to mention the girl below me stole my pillow and didn’t return it until I had already been up here for a while. I don’t even know her! So here’s the moral of the story I guess- if you are feeling things, that means you’re alive and that’s a good thing. Embrace being lucky enough to have people to miss and a home to go back to when you’re done having the adventure of a lifetime. Thanks to everyone who has given me something to miss.
Now, time to put on my big girl pants and tell you about Dublin. We took a ferry from Holyhead after taking a three hour train to get there from London. The train ride was great because we actually had a chance to experience the English countryside, at least through the window. Boarding the ferry, I couldn’t help but feel like we were getting on the modern version of the Titanic. With the dark red and green carpeting, the big staircases with gold railings, the shopping center and multiple dining rooms, the boat was pretty impressive. People filled the seats and tried to get the best view of the water passing underneath us. I was trying my hardest not to get seasick, and luckily it worked.
When we first arrived, I wasn’t thrilled. I know everyone with Irish pride is going to roll their eyes at me, but I thought Dublin looked like any other city on the outside. We arrived in the late afternoon, grabbed some free pasta at the hostel (it was very salty but free always tastes better), and then decided to go on the “Backpackers Pub Crawl.”
We walked into the first bar, bought our tickets, and little pinkish purple wristbands were slipped onto our wrists. With our tickets came free half pints of Guinness, and I have to say it was the first Guinness I have ever liked. Maybe it was the Irish bartender or the fact that it was free. Who knows? Anyway, the pub crawl consisted of four different bars and a club. Our tourguide, an actor with a showy accent and a pageboy cap, provided us with a shot of watered down mixed drinks at each door. My favorite part was getting to see some live music in the second bar. We met a couple from New Hampshire, watched two Irish men sing and play guitars, and I really began to feel like I was in Ireland.
The bar crawl ended for us when we found a bar with a band playing a Paolo Nutini song. Ashley and I love Paolo Nutini, and decided to post up there for the remainder of the night. We listened to a combination of Irish and American music, drank weird lemonade that looked like water (seriously, it was so clear we tried to hand the bottle back to the bartender), and danced like our lives depended on it. Ever heard of the sport Celtic Football? No, neither had we. But when we were talking to a guy who was about our age, he made it clear that it was a very big deal and that the player that stood about ten feet from us was an even bigger one. I was feeling courageous and marched my way right up to him.
“I’m Shelby.” I said with my hand outstretched ready for my classic handshake.
“I’m the Adonis.” He replied.
Luckily he turned away to compliment himself a little more, giving me the chance to escape. After that, Ashley and I decided it was time for a late night snack. We grabbed a donner kebab, and headed back to the hostel.
The next day we woke up, grabbed sandwiches at a place called KC Peaches, and planned the day.
Brie, carmelized onion, some sort of relish, and mustard mmmmm
We walked around Temple Bar, the downtown area of the city, and went in and out of vintage shops. There are more vintage shops in Europe than I have ever seen. I began seeing the beauty of Dublin as we weaved in and out of cobble stone streets. The architecture, the beautiful old streets, and the liveliness of the whole area surprised me. I loved being able to wander the streets feeling like I should be walking past a horse and buggy.
After our day of exploring the city, we headed to Crackbird for dinner. We shared buttermilk chicken, potato salad, slaw, and some wine. It was so much food we actually saved half for the busride to Galway the next day! We went to bed early, excited for the adventure to a new city the next day.
Before boarding the bus, we stopped into the cutest little cafe called Peacock Green. The pastry case was beautiful, the wall of loose leaf tea was perfectly arranged, and the decor of the place had us immediately. I was in love with the combination of French, Irish, and English elements, and loved how dark woods were paired with floral pillows and delicate china. It was a highlight for me, for sure!
In just two days, Dublin was able to make a very lasting impression. We loved the energy, the people, and especially the music. I would definitely recommend Barnacle Hostels for anyone looking to stay in Dublin (it’s a little noisy, but worth it). See you next time, Dublin!
On to Galway! Stay tuned!