Cindy’s UK Tour #4: The Quest for the Pot of Gold – Dublin, Northern Ireland

The Quest for the Pot of Gold
No, I never did find one but I did see a rainbow or two so they may be out there. I arrived in Ireland by ferry from Holyhead, Wales and it was a smooth crossing, nothing like my departure but that is another story.

The ferry (Stena Lines) arrives just south of Dublin and you have to take the Dart train to Dublin. It’s all quite simple. I decided to stay in the party district, the Temple Bar area, because I needed to see some nightlife. The hostel I stayed in � Barnacle’s Temple Bar Hostel � was right in the heart of it all and had a friendly atmosphere. I would recommend it, especially if you are looking for a night out as everything is in close walking distance. But if you are looking for a quiet place to sleep, it may not be what you are looking for.

Of course, I went out exploring and my first stop was the Dublin Castle (it was on the way to the Guinness Brewery, which was my real objective). The castle really wasn’t much but the caf� was nice. So on to the Guinness Brewery I went, and it was worth not drinking Guinness for three weeks to have my first taste outside of North America here.

For those of you who don’t know me, I love Guinness so this was quite an important stop; you know, pilgrimage would probably be an appropriate word. I did the tour of course, bought some souvenirs, and definitely enjoyed my pint � savouring every drop. It tasted slightly lighter and smoother than at home in Canada. I also learned quite a bit of Guinness trivia � like hops is a sedative, so when you feel sleepy it isn’t just the alcohol talking; and it’s full of B-vitamins, calcium, magnesium and iron so it really is good for you. I love having interesting, or not so interesting trivia to sprout so that was quite neat.

Outside the Brewery I met a fellow Canadian who I had previously met in Cardiff, Wales and we decided to meet up later on for a night of drinking and dancing. What better place for it than Dublin? We parted and I continued my exploration at Dvblinia, an interactive exhibit that chronicles Dublin’s history. It was quite interesting and I learned where the phrase “beyond the pale” came from � another addition to my stock of trivia (I can here my friends groan from here). I also got a copy of a pardon from a Pope which I sent to my Grandmother because I knew that she would get a kick out of it.

The exhibit was connected to Christ Church Cathedral so that was my next stop. It was quite peaceful inside, except the crypt but things associated with the dead often give me the creeps. I spent quite some time admiring the architecture and absorbing the peaceful feeling.

Night had arrived so I was off to meet up with Leif (the fellow Canadian) and we set off in search of food, drink and dancing and succeeded in finding all three. Okay, so the search didn’t take that long but it was fun. We found an affordable restaurant, a pub with live entertainment (a trad band and dancers) and the cr�me de la cr�me � the U2 owned club, the Kitchen.

All three were quite good but it was the Kitchen that captivated my mind and body (yes, I am a tad dramatic at times) and not because it is owned by one of my favourite bands and I was starved for dancing. The atmosphere was quite appealing and the interior design amazing. It is rather designed like an underground cave complete with a river of light running through the floor. I highly recommend it and being starved for dancing I danced the night away to the music of three DJ’s.

The next thing on my agenda was to go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s the oldest in Dublin and the largest in Ireland. It was also quite a peaceful place and there was quite a lot of history to learn. The nice park outside is home to the well they think that St. Patrick used to baptise people.

On my way back to the hostel I heard music that sounded suspiciously like U2, so of course I investigated and was able to catch the end of a live U2 concert on the top of their hotel (where the Kitchen is). That definitely made my day. It turns out that they were filming a video.

I had to cut my adventure in Ireland a little short (by two weeks) as I am starting my job in Scotland early so I had only a day in Galway. I stayed in the Galway Hostel, which I don’t recommend unless you are planning on coming in really late as it right over a loud club. When we came in from pubbing it was still going strong but the hostel was clean and right across from both the bus and train station. I went shopping here and bought a lovely Aran sweater � one of the things that I promised myself I would buy.