Herein begins the traveler's guide to surviving on beer and potatoes: go to Dublin. Two weekends ago, I found myself in a land where, if you aren't constantly, uncomfortably full from traditional Irish cuisine or pints on pints of Guinness, you're probably just too drunk to notice! That might just be St. Patrick's Day weekend, but I'm not convinced.
This weekend's adventure began with a classic Kylee plot twist; upon arrival at the airport Friday morning, I was greeted with the information that my flight to Dublin was cancelled..............excuse me, what?
My booking agents (ahem, Skyscanner and Bravofly) had conveniently neglected to inform me of this all-important change in my flight reservation, so I was left standing at the Aer Lingus desk with my mouth hanging open in shock, asking how in the world this could possibly happen. Fortunately, after much stress and anxiety as to whether I would actually make it to Dublin, I was able to get on the next flight out via standby. Crisis averted, and I even managed to make friends in the process!
Upon arrival, my very full, very bright orange traveler's backpack and I set out directly for Temple Bar in search of my first Guinness. In true 'SC style, the weekend roomies and I packed five girls into a two person room, making it impossible for me to drop my bag off until much later. I rolled with it.
After a fun first night out, our room woke up at the crack of dawn (6:45am) in order to catch our tour bus out to the Cliffs of Moher. A group of about ten of us girls were on the bus, laughing and chatting the first few hours of the ride, giddy to be together and excited for a fun day of sightseeing. What we didn't realize until a few hours in is that we had ended up with the world's meanest bus driver as our tour guide.
John of Paddywagon Tours took it upon himself to first pull the bus over and approach our group, in order to tell us to effectively shut up, because we were interrupting his "tour" (aka begrudging and poor-humored comments about tourists in Ireland) and supposedly making it difficult for others to hear (no one was upset).
In response to this first outburst, Kate wrote an email to the company, calmly and maturely explaining the situation and our obvious discontent. Merited, right? WRONG. The company decided to forward Kate's email to the driver, who then proceeded to call our group out for it over the bus loud speaker. There has never been a more awkward moment, for our group OR the rest of the people on the tour.
Not only did John not apologize, he opened the bus doors and told us we were free to catch public transportation back to Dublin. Ok. Needless to say, would not recommend Paddywagon Tours.
Thankfully, the sightseeing portion of the day did not disappoint. The Cliffs of Moher, along with their Baby version, are two truly breathtaking, awe-inspiring places on this Earth. I don't imagine I'll ever see anything like them again. What's more, I've never seen a countryside more beautiful than Ireland's. You had no idea that rocks could be so beautiful, but Ireland was - they can.
We balanced out the strange day with some good food (fresh seafood chowder, brown bread, and authentic Irish corned beef) and, of course, Guinness. The night consisted of Temple Bar and Fitzsimon's (the apparent USC hotspot), where noteworthy events included chatting up an Irish guy about American politics.
Sunday was my favorite day in Dublin. The roomies and I had a classic Irish breakfast, where I found out what "pudding" consists of (Hint: It's pig's blood. You're welcome.), followed by our first beer of the day at 12:30pm. Whoo! We made friends with a group of already belligerently drunk British guys and walked away with the new saying "YEEEAAASSSS f-ing pockets!" It actually doesn't mean anything, but the guys kept saying it over and over again and with such passion.
We did a small tour around Trinity College, which is cool in its antiquity, but unimpressive coming from USC. Is that arrogant? This move was quickly vetoed in favor of another bar, where we were able to meet up with a bunch of USC friends, drink beer and catch the end of a football (i.e. soccer) match.
Finally, it was time for the big group move to the Guinness Storehouse. We picked up more Trojans along the way and ended up stumbling upon the coolest outdoor concert. Our group sang and danced around like idiots, even participating in a big, Irish-jigging group circle formation with utter strangers. This was an absolute highlight of the weekend.
The Guinness Storehouse is AMAZING, and I highly recommend it. Afterwards, we took horse drawn carriages back to Temple Bar District for dinner, where I had yet another traditional Irish meal of boxty bread and shepard's pie. My waistline is crying at this point.
We ushered in the night with a long-ass nap and world's toughest rally. Long days of sight seeing, plus long nights of Guinness, plus way too many potatoes equals one beat crew. But it was St. Patrick's Day at midnight and we needed to be at Temple Bar. We rang in the holiday fully clad in green, surrounded by fellow green friends and strangers alike. It was an absolutely magical experience.
Dublin isn't the prettiest city I've traveled to, but what it lacks in architecture, it makes up for in charm and authenticity. The Irish are some of the very kindest people I've met on my Euro travels, and the spirit of the city contributed to one incredible weekend. Thanks, Ireland!