Ireland isn’t on a lot of people’s wish lists, but I was eager to see the beauty of the country. After strutting my way through Amsterdam and Bruges, I made my way to Dublin on RyanAir. RyanAir probably wasn’t my best idea. It was a short trip, and I didn’t have any problems with being overcharged for luggage, but I couldn’t even find the check-in counter. Since I spent so much time walking around the terminal searching for it, I had to rush through the rest of Amsterdam’s airport with no time to take a break in a lounge.
Once, I arrived, I used Aircoach to get to my hotel in Ballsbridge. It was pretty simple, and I didn’t have to book in advance. Once I stepped out of the airport, they were located right out front and to the left. I told them where I was going, paid for my ticket, and waited about ten minutes for the bus to arrive. It cost €14 roundtrip, and there was a space under the bus to store the heavy luggage. The bus wasn’t crowded at all, and was pretty quiet. There was wifi, and a charging port.
One thing worth noting is that Ireland drives on the left side of the road. My brain never quite adapted to it, and I was always looking in the wrong lanes before I crossed the street. There was no way that I would have been able to drive in that country, but I noticed that a lot of travel packages to Ireland come with a rental car.
Navigating Ireland was pretty easy to do without a car. I mainly used the bus and taxis. There was a specific Leap card for tourists, which provided access to the buses and metro. The problem with this was it was only sold at certain places, and all of those places close around 5 pm. I wasn’t able to obtain one until my third day in Dublin because of this. The first day, I arrived right after it had closed. I spent my second day at the Cliffs of Moher, so wasn’t able to get it then either. They offer 1-, 3-, and 7-day cards, but I would do the math first to determine if it is even worth it. The buses run regularly, and I never had to wait more than five minutes for one to arrive. They were all pretty full, but not extremely crowded. I always had a seat.
Since, I couldn’t get a Leap visitor card, I chose to walk on the first two days. Sure, I could have taken a taxi, but my feet worked just fine. I strolled from Ballsbridge down to Temple Bar on my first night in the city. taking everything in. Dublin really is a gorgeous city. I did a musical pub crawl that first night. The concept was just what one would expect – traditional Irish music and several pints of beer at local pubs. There was even a special riverdance performance. I don’t drink beer, but I think I would have been more impressed if I did.
The second day was spent at the Cliffs of Moher. It was foggy, gloomy, cloudy. It was not as crowded as I expected for it to be. Our tour guide told us that we probably should view it first before the weather gets any worse. In actuality, we should have waited until the end of the trip to view it because it started to clear up right as it was time to leave. I really wish I would have learned how to use my camera because the photos could have been so much better.
The third day was spent at Trinity College. I bought online tickets to visit the Book of Kells, and I arrived at the opening time. There were about 15 people ahead of me. No photography was allowed, and they have people there watching to make sure. The book didn’t live up to the hype. I was expecting it to be a lot bigger for some reason. The library, though, was absolutely gorgeous.
I was in Temple Bar with some time to kill, so I checked out Dublin Castle. Architecture isn’t an interest of mine, so I generally skip these sorts a visits because it bores me easily. There was a room there that was to die for. It was royal blue and white (shoutout to my sorors) with gold trimming, and I adored it.
I headed over to Center City to do some shopping. This was also the day I had an altercation with some Irish assholes. Listen, no one told me about Penney’s. For all that Ireland had to offer – the potatoes, the sheep, the Guinness – the best thing truly was Penney’s, also known as Primark. I found that Dublin was good with plus sized shopping as well. There were so many things that I wanted to buy, but I didn’t have enough room in my suitcase because I bought a delft tea set in Amsterdam that took up much of my available space. Yes, if I ever go back to Dublin, I’ll be sure to bring an empty suitcase for all of the shopping I will do.
Center City is also where I met a woman selling hair weave. She was just walking around trying to get the attention of any black woman she saw. Of course, I was a target. Add that to the fact that I had a hair appointment mishap before I left the U.S., she had every reason to approach me.
“You don’t want to do something to your hair?” she asked bewilderedly. Damn, ma’am. I know my hair isn’t on point this week, but can you not call me out like that?
Northern Ireland and Giant’s Causeway was next on my list. That was just way too much adventure for me for one day, so I grabbed some fish and chips when we arrived back to Dublin, and went to bed when I had originally planned to go to a place called The Sugar Club.
Despite the unfortunately gloomy weather, my visit to Dublin was as visually stimulating as I expected it to be. I was at peace while I walked around the Cliffs, and as we drove around the Irish countryside. Should I visit again, I’d love to visit the southern portion of the country, and experience more of Dublin’s nightlife.