The Charm of Dublin

The Charm of Dublin

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. Continue reading

Finding a Friend in Dublin

IMG_8389Solo in Dublin, I hadn’t been on Irish soil for more than a few hours before I decided to leave my hotel and grab some food. I had been running late for my flight out of Amsterdam earlier, so I didn’t get a chance to eat that day. I walked over to this burger joint in Ballsbridge and found a table inside for lunch. Once comfortably seated, I glanced around at my surroundings and noticed another black woman also sitting alone at a booth adjacent to me. She had her head down while looking at her phone, and her overall vibe gave me the impression that she was on holiday. I was wondering if she was American because she was rocking a small afro and a shirt that said something quirky.

I ordered and received my food, and looked her way every once in a while to see if she noticed me. I was trying not to stare, but I wanted to make eye contact so I could start a dialogue. I needed a friend, and she was about to be it.   I checked her body language and assumed she was an introvert. Me, too! We already had something in common, BFF! I eventually heard her speak to the waitress, and confirmed by her accent that she was definitely American. Oh yeah, she was about to be my bff for the next few days and she didn’t even know it.

I had navigated my Eurotrip without making a single friend. It was unusual for me, even as an introverted solo traveler, to have experienced all meals by myself. I didn’t realize how much I missed the sense of friendship until the possibility of it presented itself.

I was chewing on a really good burger when I noticed her gathering her things and standing up to walk out. I’m socially awkward, so I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t say anything because my mouth was full, but I was still staring her down, hoping she caught the energy of my eyes watching her. I slightly waved my hand hoping to get her attention, but she escaped without seeing me.

Damn. As quickly as the excitement of navigating Dublin with a friend had come, it had also gone.

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Irish Assholes

PictureMy birthday trip to Europe did not begin the way I would have preferred, and I still had some pent up frustration about my hair appointment being cancelled the day before I left. Those unfortunate events were all it took for me to be peeved, but I was handling it well. By the time I reached Ireland, the third country on my visit to Europe, it was a distant memory and everything was fine.

I hadn’t been in the country for a full day before I had an altercation with two guys who were being creeps by peeping into the women’s restroom in a bar in Temple Bar. That was the first of two separate incidents with Irishmen – boys, rather – but I won’t share that story. The second incident happened a couple of days before my trip ended, and let me tell you about it.

I was having a good day, actually. I had just discovered the greatness of Penney’s and I had been shopping in City Center most of the day. Listen, Penney’s is one of the best things Ireland ever came up with. Fuck the potatoes and the Guiness. It’s all about Penney’s.

Once I finished shopping, I headed from City Center to Temple Bar to grab some lunch before heading back to my room. It was pretty crowded because that was a common area for tourists, and it was also Easter weekend. I started walking towards Ha’penney Bridge, and noticed two college-aged guys walking ahead of me being sophomoric. One of them was yelling expletives while kicking a large water bottle down the street angrily and forcefully like it was a soccer ball and he was trying to score a goal. His friend was giggling like the scene was the funniest thing, and he eventually picked up the water bottle so the angry friend could kick it in the air. How immature.

Something within me told me to hurry and walk past these kids before something crazy happens. Something bad was brewing, and I didn’t want to be involved in their nonsense when it came to fruition. It was going to be a fight if they got me wet, I thought to myself.

I passed them up and continued walking toward the intersection. There was a crowd in front of me, so my walking slowed to a stop behind the crowd. All of a sudden. I heard the sound of water splashing against the back of my jacket, and I felt it trickle down to my boots. The boys that I had passed up had caught up to me and threw water on me.

Oh, hell naw. I didn’t know if it was an accident or intentional, but I got angry. I immediately turned around to face them, and to my surprise the couple of boys had multiplied to a group of five or six. I said “Who did it? Who the fuck did it?”

They all froze.
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Ireland’s Barack Obama Plaza

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There I was on a bus headed to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin, and the driver announced that we were about to make a rest stop. I was listening to music on my headphones because there was an annoying teenager sitting behind me, so I only half-listened as the driver spoke. He sounded like he was making jokes about how the rest stop wasn’t like the others; it paid tribute to a very special person in Irish history. Then I heard him say something about Barack Obama, so I knew not to take anything he was saying seriously. Next thing I knew, we exited off the main highway and a red and white sign revealed itself. We were stopping at Barack Obama Plaza.

Now what now?

The volume of discussion increased inside the bus as they noticed the sign. Some snickered and said they weren’t going to get off the bus because the hatred of the former U.S. president was that deep. I smiled with intrigue and rolled my eyes. I frankly didn’t care what the name of the place was. If they named it Donald Trump Plaza, I would have still gotten off the bus if I needed to use the restroom. I didn’t agree with many of Obama’s policies, but a girl needs to relieve herself.

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