This past weekend, we took advantage of a Bank Holiday weekend and made the short journey to Dublin, Ireland! In case you are wondering...yes, it rains a lot! The rain, however, rarely washes out an entire day and does not seem so bad when you are surrounded by extremely freindly people and lush, green landscapes.
Our trip started early on Friday after a quick flight from London. We spent our first day exploring the city of Dublin. We slowly meandered from our hotel to the centre of the city. Along the way we stopped at St. Stephen's Green, a small but perfectly manicured park and Trinity College, Ireland's most well-known college. We also did a little window shopping on Grafton Street and people watch in the busy area of Temple Bar. After a lunch at Bewley's, a popular cafe, we headed to the Guinness Storehouse where we learned about the history and brewing process of the this popular Irish beer. Of course, the best part of the tour was the free pint of beer that we enjoyed at a 360 degree bar overlooking the entire city! The day ended at Botticelli, an Italian restaurant recommended in several tour books. The restaurant did not disappoint. Although the atmosphere was far from fancy, the food, wine, and service were impeccable.
On day two, we decided to head out of the city to the small fishing village of Howth. We explored the town and its amazing seafood stores and even made friends with some of the its most popular residents....seals! We then decided to check out the popular cliff "walks." Of the 4 "walks" available, we opted for the 10k (6.2 mile) trek. The sign estimated about 2 1/2 to 3 hours for the entire journey. Well, either the the estimate was severly off (maybe the person who determined estimate had just had a few pints of Guinness!) or we are just really slow hikers but we finally reached the end 4 1/2 hours later! Oh, did I mention that we were not exactly outfitted in proper hiking gear?! Regardless, we had a wonderful time and enjoyed the breathtaking scenery. Heck, we even managed not to throw one another off the cliff! The trail conviently ended near the door of a poular pub (do you see a theme here?). Before heading back to Dublin, we picked up some fresh fish and chips, headed to a bench overlooking the harbor, and watched the sunset.
Day three, our last full day in Ireland, we headed to another small costal town. Malahide is quaint village with a quiet beach and intercoastal way. We browsed some shops and checked out some of the local pubs (shocker, I know!). Since it was Sunday (everything is closed on Sundays in Europe) and rather quiet, we decided to finish some of the forgotten sights in Dublin. We listened to some traditional Irish music in Temple Bar and checked out the Liffney River. We even visited Mulligan's, home to the "best Guinness in Dublin" and once a host to President John F. Kennedy. Our day and trip ended with yet another dinner at Boticelli....this time followed by homemade gelato and tirmasu!
Ireland was a truly relaxing and enjoyable weekend away. We were able to escape the city and explore some areas not always frequented by tourists. Also, there was no pressure to see some famous castle or musuem. Until our next trip!