So where did I leave off? I finished my first five days in london and ended up spending 3 and half days in Dublin, Ireland. My second country of the trip. Ireland was sure interesting. It started off a little worrisome in the beginning honestly. Let’s rewind back to our last night in London. We had a great dinner and I didn’t go to bed until 1 am. Mind you our driver (that sounds fancy) would be picking us up at 4 am. Was there sleep? No. Sleep had become something of a foreign concept on this trip. We made sure we had everything packed before attempting to get some beauty rest. Our driver was right on time and the ride to the airport was smooth like butter. That was until TSA. Isa and Lourdes ended having to get their bags opened and a few toiletries removed (very rudely) even though it was in compliance with the airlines requirements. This was a slight bump but we did end up being one of the first to board and the flight wasn’t too bad. I won’t lie and say there was no turbulence because let’s be real Ireland and England are always surrounded by clouds and clouds mean turbulence.
After landing we went through customs. They all looked scary. I’m talking about completely tattooed, mean mugging to the point where you have no idea if they’re going to punch you and take your bag or just punch you. We had a bus that took us to a bus stop close to where we were staying. A three-minute walk. Easy right? What we didn’t know was that the walk would be going up a hill. I laughed so hard as we struggle to pull all of our bags up. On top of that once we got there our room wasn’t ready and we had to PAY to keep our luggage in the luggage locker. “This is really a European vacation,” Isa said as we were all attempting to figure out how in the world to use the lockers. A bunch of wasted euros later we figured it out. Our next course of action was to find where the Guinness factory was and get lunch before our Guinness tour.
Finding the factory was easy. Finding a place to eat…not so easy. It took forever to find a pub and when we did it was like a movie moment. Extremely awkward. Picture this: an empty pub covered in rugby memorabilia, tv is on to the news, a full bar and only three people. The three people consisted of two customers and the bartender. The second we walked in all eyes were glued to us. We immediately saw a sign that said the restaurant was upstairs and made a beeline for it. Eyes still following us the bartender called something out in Gaelic. Quickly realizing we didn’t speak Gaelic he switched to english. “The chef isn’t here yet let me ring to see if he’s ready.” We nodded. The girls whispered to each other how difficult his accent was to understand. I felt pretty confident. The two men sitting were whispering to each other. My face felt flushed. “Sorry he’s not ready to open.” We all smiled and said no problem. On the way out one of the girls caught one of the men saying to the bartender, “you didn’t call when I came.” We erupted into fits of giggles once we stepped outside. I swear we were in the bar for less than five minutes but it felt like an eternity. Never have I experienced something like that. It was incredibly awkward. Stuck and hungry we kept googling restaurants. Our luck was turning around when we found a small cafe. I fell in love the hipster, farmer, industrial vibe. All of the workers were incredibly nice despite the multiple piercings, dreads and tattoos. We had a lovely brunch. I even ate kale. SHOCKING. My mom still can’t believe it. Coffee was bitter which honestly I’ve gotten used to expecting bitter coffee outside of the US. I remember sitting at the table and we were all amazed by the good-looking people walking in and out. Once again breaking necks.
The Guinness tour was amazing. We learned a lot about the process of making beer. I am even certified (not written in paper but I was taught) to properly pour beer. I’m not the biggest fan of Guinness beer but I was told it is an acquired taste. There is still hope. The factory consisted of seven floors. You learned the process of making the beer, how to properly taste it, their past marketing and advertising style and how to pour the beer. The last floor is a 360 view of all of Dublin where you can enjoy a free pint of beer. It was hilarious. Later into the afternoon we went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was beautiful. I’m always amazed by the architecture overseas. It was astounding and filled with rich history. We finished the day at Temple Bar. One of the most popular bars in Dublin. Also included a lot of staring. I have no idea why we stick out…kidding I do. A bunch of girls strutting into a bar and one of them is tall and the other is tan. We stick out. After a pint of beer we decided to grab dinner and eat at the hotel. We weren’t sure how Dublin looked at night and didn’t want to take our chances. We picked up Nando’s on the way back and enjoyed a relaxing night. I miss Nando’s terribly.
The next day was the day I was most excited for. It was the day we got to see the Cliffs of Moher. All I had ask for this part of the trip was to see the cliffs. I’m very big on nature. So we booked a tour that was recommended to us and had zero regrets. We had the best driver/tour guide. (We still miss you Paul.) The tour started in Dublin (the East coast of Ireland) and took us to the very west Coast of Ireland where the Cliffs were. We also got to go to Galway Bay where we chanted Ed Sheeran’s song Galway Girl, saw some ‘tiny’ cliffs and Bruttney Castle. Paul filled us in on the history of Ireland and some fun facts. Despite everyone on the bus being quiet we were actively responding and hyping up the tour. He even taught us an irish tune! Halfway through the tour a bus had broken down and we had to pick up those people. That sure was interesting. You meet a lot of people who have a different way of thinking than you on trips like these. But despite that the cliffs were something else. Emily and I walked to the very top and experience some strong winds. I am very happy we did not fall off it was pretty crazy. It still amazes me that I was even there. I was just in shock that I was standing in front of something so breathtaking. On top of that it was my 23rd birthday. I spent my 23rd birthday realizing a few things. There is a lot of ugly in the world but than you are given moments like this that help you realize how good the good parts are. You realize how short life is. Realizing that things come and go, money comes and go but experiencing the world has no price tag. I always dreamed of seeing the cliffs and I actually did it. Which means I can do anything, go anywhere, be anything. The only thing that’s stopping me is…well me. I even cried. I haven’t felt purely happy and at peace in a long time. In that moment I felt that.
On the way back we had asked Paul if he could take us to the oldest pub in Dublin which happened to be behind our hotel. Before I continued he did offered people to drive them to the particular street we needed. We asked to see if the offer still stood and he kindly said ,“of course I offered!” We began talking to Paul about how lovely Ireland was and he tried to guess where we were from. “You’re definitely American but I can’t pick up on that accent.” We laughed. “Miami,” Lourdes said. I guess we really do have an interesting accent. For five minutes we bonded with Paul. He felt like a fun uncle to us. He made our trip bright. We still talk about Paul to this day. What would Paul do I sometimes think and teh answer is always grab a beer and enjoy life. After dropping us off and forcing him to accept our generous tip which we said he could use to buy him and his wife a pint of beer and make sure his daughter goes to college, we were off to the oldest pub in Dublin. The Brazen Head. How cool does that sound? It dates back to 1198! It was probably my favorite pub from the whole trip. We ordered food and had a pint of beer. Emily and I highly recommend Smithwick’s Blonde Ale if you’re not a fan of Guinness. The food and atmosphere were lively. We were surrounded by a multitude of languages. This is where the fun part kicks in (let’s be real everything was fun). On our way out I noticed a sign that mentioned live music. Obviously that grabbed my attention. I also noticed a tall blue-eyed bald man carrying a guitar case. I turned around to see if he was heading to The Brazen Head. He was. “Guys there’s going to be live music!” I was beaming. “My dream is to sing and dance at an irish pub,” Emily was jumping up and down. We looked at the girls. “Let’s freshen up and change shoes and then we’ll come back.” Emily and I ended up being the ones to come back to the pub since Isa was feeling a bit sick. The food in Ireland is very heavy and if you’re not use to it it’s a lot therefore that’s a warning to ya! The pub was packed with men and women drinking and laughing. A band was playing and irish tune and a couple were dancing. Remember I mentioned Paul taught us an irish tune? Well that’s the one they played at the pub! We liked to think Paul was with us in spirit. Emily and I were swaying and singing at the top of lungs. Instead of continuing to explain I’ll just show you!
It was our last day in Dublin. Our flight was in the afternoon and we figured on our last day we would see Trinity College, go to a cute cafe for breakfast and see what happens. I had an actual Irish breakfast which consisted of a salad, eggs, four pieces of toast, two slices of ham and two sausages. I was happily a stuffed sausage by the end of eating. And the coffee was the best I had in Ireland. Trinity College was beautiful. It looked like the Hogwarts. It was packed with students and tourists. We got a few pictures after searching for a spot that we were allowed to be on the grass. Afterwards we walked around and stepped into a record shop and a bookstore. Each of us picked up some goodies. One thing I noticed was that in Ireland I had a habit of switching into an Irish accent without thinking. And let me tell you it happened a lot. I also keep slipping into it as I type.
The next part is where things had gotten tricky. I still can’t believe how we ended up at the airport. We (due to me) ended up at the wrong bus stop with our luggage. The bus driver said we needed up be on the opposite street. Simple enough and yet on the other side of the street we were still at the wrong stop. Oh, it was also sprinkling. A magical taxi appeared out of nowhere and the old man driving it offered to accept the same amount as the bus to take us to the airport. This old man did us a favor because we all knew that the airport was far away therefore he wasn’t asking for much despite the distance. We started noticing old men seemed to be saving us on this trip. Not too bad right? We made it to the airport no problem, got through TSA no problem. Everything was fine right? Our flight was delayed…only for less than hour. Which once again doesn’t sound bad right? Except our pilot was apparently in a hurry. So instead of a 55 minute flight it was 25. 25 MINUTES. That man was BOOKING it. And the turbulence?! I was dying internally and Lu was gripping the seat. The flight attendants were gripping the seats as they tried to hand everyone drinks. Why they even bothered to I have no idea but praise them! We had somehow managed to land roughly but safely. Somehow being the important word in that sentence.
One thing I learned in Ireland was although everyone looked like they could kill you they were the sweetest people ever. Ireland was a blurred and the last full day in London consisted of relaxing at a cafe, people watching and trying to find a lit pub to watch the Manchester game. Looking back on this trip we had a lot of saving graces and angels in the shape of old men watching out for us. It was a great trip filled with endless laughter, things magically working out and lots of walking. It was a much needed trip. We’re already planning the next one. But next time we’re going somewhere more…tropical.
Look for a video recap of my whole trip! An itinerary of everything we saw and where we ate is coming soon!
“Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul.” – Jamie Lyn Beatty